All photos from this trip can be found here.
Kelcema Lake was one of the snowshoe destinations I found in my snowshoe book. With yet another crappy weekend weather there weren’t many places to choose from. This was my third time hiking off Mountain Loop Highway (MLH) this year.
As I was driving on the MLH, I decided to check out another trail just past Barlow Pass. The forest service MLH road conditions page hasn’t been updated since 11/18, so it was hard to tell what the road conditions were. When we got to the Pass, it was quite evident that there was no way anyone would be able to get in and out with all that snow. It also looked like someone had recently tried getting through but got stuck just as the highway turns north-southerly.
As I drove back to Deer Creek Road, I noticed the Mount Dickerman trailhead turnoff was somewhat blocked by snow and there were no cars in the lot. The only hiker had just parked his car off the side of the highway in fear of getting stuck. There wasn’t much traffic on the highway, in fact, I only saw two cars on the way in.
The 4.5 miles of Deer Creek Road was not at all exciting. We started hiking at 10:45 with no sign of rain, better weather than expected. The snow started to fall at around mile 2 and somewhat stopped when we got to the trailhead for Kelcema Lake. By the time we got to the trailhead there were three feet of snow, and even more snow beyond it.
Parts of the trail to the lake were visible, but it was much easier to snowshoe through snow than trying to walk on trail. Just as expected, it got windy the minute we got to the lake. We didn’t spend much time at the lake, just enough time to eat and take photos before heading out at 3:30. By then we had less than an hour before sunset, and I was quite certain that we’d spend at least half hour hiking in the dark before getting back to the car.
Snowshoes were used starting from mile 2 all the way to the lake.