Elaine and I packed up quickly when we saw the weather was going to be good for last Sunday and Monday. It would be snowy and cold up on the Mt Townsend trail, but we love to snow camp.
We chose our heavier sleeping bags to try out our new Thermarest pads. They are quite a bit thicker than our previous ones, and would give us more insulation. Would it be enough?
The drive to the trailhead was about 90 minutes from our house. We didn’t know how far up the road we could go considering there had been quite a bit of snow already. We were able to get to the upper trailhead at 3250′, but the road was covered with ice and snow. No problem for our Subaru Outback. Didn’t know if anyone had the idea to get up in the winter back-country but we found the parking area packed!
It took a little over 2 hours to wander up the 2.5 mile trail with our large packs. Always great views from up here and a few small creek crossings.
It was already shady and cold at Camp Windy, but it didn’t take too much time to get everything set up so we could climb in our sleeping bags, have some snacks, and play cards. It was particularly nice since we found a flat area where someone else had camped recently.
Dinner was mashed potatoes with mini-meatballs preceded by hot cocoa made with Colleen’s famous Cocoa Bombs interspersed with spicy snack mix. Lights out was around 9pm. It was very dark. Our bags were pretty cozy for most of the night but when our food stopped metabolizing we got a little chilly in the early morning. Anyway, we slept well and our feet stayed warm.
In the morning, after 2 cups of Via and Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy, we packed some water, jackets, and snacks for our hike up the the Mt Townsend summit. It was beautiful! We could see all the mountains from Mt Baker all the way to Mt St Helens in the Cascade Range. The air was so clear! There was lots of ice on the trail up high as the snow had melted and refrozen.
There was a cold wind from the west also that made us glad we had brought our shell jackets.
After a short summit visit, down to camp we went, to pack up and return to the car by 2pm. It was a fun experience and we had a good time reflecting over a couple of our favorite Michigan beers, Dragon’s Milk, and left over take-out sandwiches. We hope to get out in the snowy mountains again soon!