16.5 miles of hiking • 3750' elevation gain •
Magical day in the blast zone! We followed South Coldwater Ridge up to the saddle over Saint Helens Lake, where we enjoyed lunch with an absolutely priceless view. Then found our way down a forbidden valley towards Harry's Ridge, made possible by nearly complete snow cover. We finally made our way over to Johnston Ridge Observatory, then down that ridge and back to the Hummocks.
The conditions were remarkable. Very little snow below 4000', and essentially none below 3500'. Temps hit 72°F at one point, and only a degree shy of that as we basked on the saddle enjoying lunch. The snow was mostly crispy, and easily walked upon, except for the occasional soft spot that seemed to exist solely to mock one for having the audacity to wear shorts and short sleeves in the middle of January!
This was a day to be remembered, perhaps forever. :-D