Photos from this trip can be found here.
Despite the effort of the group that hiked the trail just a few days prior in leaving a a good path for the others, their tracks had since been buried in new powder. I parked the car just on the other side of the railroad tracks, couldn’t go any further due to the amount of snow on the road leading to the trailhead half mile ahead. This was our third Christmas Day trip since 2010 and definitely the most snow we had encountered.
Snowshoes were working in overdrive from the car all the way to the our turnaround point at 2.5 miles. Looks like more snow is on the way in the next few days, so our tracks may or may not still be visible by the time someone else hikes the trail.
Crux of the hike was getting around the scattered boulders below the boulder field. Even with snowshoes, I was postholing to the waist and at times to chest level trying to follow the summer trail groove. The trail around the boulders was now a deep trench covered in fresh powder, and we ended up avoiding the groove altogether by getting on the snow-covered boulders to not posthole as deep.
Cloudy weather turned partly sunny around noon and stayed that way for a couple of hours. Unfortunately we were in the shade the entire time and didn’t get to enjoy the much needed heat.
Access: Surprise Lake Trailhead
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes