2017/11/18 – Commonwealth Basin II / 聯邦盆地之二

  • Reading time:3 mins read
Till we meet again
Till we meet again

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Snoqualmie Pass was under a blanket of clouds with flurries when pup and I arrived at the empty Summit West parking lot. While getting ready, I contemplated heading to Salmon La Sac area for possible better weather. But since I needed to be back home in the early afternoon, we bit the bullet and started hiking at sunrise.

Like last spring’s snowshoe trip to Kendall Katwalk, turnoff to Pacific Crest Trailhead was inaccessible due to snow. We followed old tire tracks from the half-buried stop sign to the trailhead and started hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). About 500′ in was the Commonwealth Basin Trail turnoff, which we initially overlooked as it had been completely covered in snow. We backtracked a short distance to the turnoff where I put on snowshoes.

So fresh, so clean
So fresh, so clean

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Breaking trail through knee-high powder felt painstakingly slow as we headed in the direction of the summer trail. Slightly packed snow in the forest, but more postholing to be had whenever we stepped out into a clearing. The occasionally dissipating clouds offered glimpses of Guye Peak and Red Mountain through trees. Not long before the Commonwealth Creek crossing, a fellow hiker Alex caught up to us. He thanked me for the tracks and offered to break trail.

The thin log crossing looked sketchy under a thick layer of fresh snow, so we forded the shallow creek to the other side. We took turns breaking trail (with pup’s help) and eventually arrived at the junction with the PCT. Alex headed back to the car via the PCT while pup and I continued on the Commonwealth Basin Trail heading north.

Fellow snowshoer
Fellow snowshoer

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Another hour of breaking trail and we crossed the boulder-filled upper Commonwealth Creek into the clearing. Then we postholed up to 4,000′ before stopping at the base of Red Mountain. Deep powder was too excruciating to try to push through. While enjoying a nice, albeit short-lived, sun break and some snacks, two snowshoers showed up below us. They turned around after we briefly chatted. Pup and I left shortly when clouds once again overtook the area.

Snowshoeing on packed snow under a partly sunny sky made the return much more enjoyable and speedier. Back at the log crossing I chatted with a couple more snowshoers as they came in. They too found the log crossing sketchy and went with the creek fording option. Pup and I got back to the opposite side and hiked out uneventfully as clouds rolled in once again.

Back to the void
Back to the void

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Access: Pacific Crest Trailhead > Commonwealth Basin Trail (#1033)
Gear: snowshoes

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