Most people hang up the hiking shoes when the weather turns cold and rainy. I trade in the hiking shoes for snowshoes, gators, and baskets for my trekking poles. I love the mountains with a fresh dusting of snow. I snow-shoed twice this month. One time at Hyak on Snoqualmie Pass and the other Granite Mountain. They are very different in skill, snow condition, and enjoyability. Hyak has a beginners snowshoe trail and easily navigated. It offers deep snow and beautiful forest views. I like this area because it’s great for groups. If you want more of a workout, lead and break trail. This can push your heart rate up to 170-180. If you get tired you can cruise in the back where the path is stomped down.
The second location, Granite Mountain, is for skilled snowshoe hikers. The terrain is steep and can be dangerous. The steep slope yields many avalanches each winter so you need to know the conditions and know about avalanches. We were lucky enough to have a clear day on our hike up Granite Mountain. We could see Mt Rainier, Adams, Baker, Glacier, and Stuart (all of my favorite mountains). On our way down the steep parts, we went glacading, sitting and sliding down stopping yourself with an ice ax, which was the highlight of my day.