Updated: Jun 1
A few weeks ago, we had planned to see if we could get to Haskell Peak, yet. At the time, we were concerned that the forest road to the trailhead would still be too snowy for the Jeep to make it all the way without a lot of hassle. As it turned out, we never made it to Haskell Peak that day anyway. But it remained on our list.
Fast forward three weeks. Today was the day. Or so we thought.
Forest Road 09 was actually in pretty good shape for a dirt/gravel road just after winter. Well, except for a few downed trees, large branches, and forest carnage strewn across in some spots. We did our best to clear the organic obstacles along the way and we kept going.
I even saw a few snow plant clusters.
It was a rare cloudy day with a cool breeze and a possibility of rain or even snow at higher elevations. We were prepared with layers, hiking poles, and we always carry rain ponchos in our packs.
The road did still have a few areas of snow left on it, but with 4WD and some momentum on our side, we were able to make it through each one without getting stuck. This continued success on the forest road made me all the more optimistic about making it up to the peak today.
We found the trailhead.
Good thing for the sign. This was the start of the trail.
I should have known, however, this hike wasn't going to go as planned when it started out with us traipsing through a swamp.
The majority of the trail was either under flowing water or snow.
Despite the sloppy trail conditions, the coolest part was seeing a few snow caves.
Then, we definitely lost the trail in the snow. So, logically, we continued to climb up, choosing our routes based on degree of steepness of the snow-covered ground. It was pretty challenging for our legs and a really good thing we brought our hiking poles.
As we neared the ridge, it got windier, colder, and the terrain got steeper with parts of it being ankle-breaker scree and parts of it slippery snow. Pick your poison.
After what felt like skating upwards (and sometimes sideways) in snow, balancing on piles of rocks seemed easier and somehow safer. We navigated along the rocks, thinking we were getting close to Haskell. The views opened and even under dramatic cloudy skies, it was pretty beautiful.
Then, we looked over to our right and through the trees, off in the distance, was...Haskell Peak. Dang. So close, yet so far.
There was no way we were going to safely hike all the way over there and up to the top of it today. After over 800 feet of vertical in about a mile, most of which was on snow, our legs were already feeling pretty spent, and we'd have to cross more snow and more scree to get there, plus, make the hike safely all the way back down, which is going to be mostly snow. So, we collectively sighed and decided to start making our way down to the trailhead, instead.
Perhaps, another day we'll conquer Haskell.