7.5 miles of hiking • 0' elevation gain • 1 night
We set out from the Skyline Sno Park with four of us, two towing pulks with much of our gear. Our fearless leader had the GPS coordinates for the Clear Lake Campground and we set off in the general direction of Clear Lake, staying mostly on the snowmobile tracks before finally cutting into the woods and making a bee-line for the lake. We got to the campground just after dark and quickly setup our hammocks, started a campfire (we carried in two bundles of firewood) and set about making our dinner. After dinner, I lasted a short while before turning in for the night.
I am not sure what the nighttime temperature was but we did get a light dusting of snow, so my guess is somewhere in the high 20s/low 30s. I stayed nice and warm and slept very well. My bladder got the best of me in the morning, though, and I was up around 7:30a. We cooked a quick breakfast, tore down our camp and set off back to the sno-park.
Our route back to the sno-park was a little more direct, using one of the roads in the campground, before again going off-trail and finding a logging road which lead us back to the main road to the sno-park. By the time we got back, it was snowing pretty heavily, so we were pretty happy to make it back to the car and get inside with the heater on full blast!
This was my first winter backpack/snowshoe/hang and I came prepared with my new 20 degree Hammock Gear UQ to keep me warm. I used a 15 degree MH Ultralamina sleeping bag as a TQ and was toasty in my Hennessy Hammock. I bought some winter boots before we left town, a pair of Columbia Bugaboo Electric boots. They kept my toes warm once we stopped moving around and my feet didn't get too hot when we were snowshoeing. I recently picked up a pair of MSR Evo snowshoes and they performed flawlessly as well. This trip was definitely an experiment in trying out new gear and I am happy to report it all turned out well.