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| | |-+  May 29, 2005, Melakwa Pass
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Author Topic: May 29, 2005, Melakwa Pass  (Read 2132 times)
jt
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May 29, 2005, Melakwa Pass
« on: 05/31/05, 06:22 AM »

Allowing myself a half day to play with the Memorial Day crowds before returning to fun with the family, setting up my automated watering system for my garden, cold beer, and barbecue, I planned on simply hiking the loop from Denny Ck. trailhead over Melakwa Pass around to Snow Lk. and back down the road to the car. However, I quickly decided after reading some recent trip reports that it would be better training and more fun to carry my skis to Melakwa Pass and do a few runs on its north side.

I pulled into the parking lot at Denny Creek and much to my amazement parked at the head of the lot with only two other cars. Where were all the people? I knew the dayhikers were sleeping, but what about the backpackers? At 5:30am I was heading up the trail and arrived at the pass a bit before 8:00 with the sun spotlighting the craggy summit of Kaleetan as clouds and mist blew around me. I added layers, swallowed a banana then a PBJ, hoped the clouds would part, and put on the skis. The clouds grew thicker so rather than waste time, I dropped in. The snow was okay--mushy on top, firm beneath and the skiing was enjoyable though not steep enough, long enough, or the sky clear enough. Not wanting to take a swim, I pulled up at the bottom of the run as the blue, icy waters at the edge of Chair Peak Lake made a sudden appearance from out of the murky air. I booted my way back up and repeated the process for a whopping total of three runs.

Compared to the solitude of the hike up, the hike out was like rush hour traffic, passing dayhikers and backpackers every few minutes. While the interest in the skis on my pack grew a little tiring, reactions kept it kind of entertaining, especially the one that went something like:

    Their eyebrows pinched together, their eyes bulging with a look of concern, their flipflops splattered with mud, they stammer out, "Did you find snow up there?"
    "Yeah, plenty!" I reply, letting the information sink in for just a moment before adding, "But only if you're going beyond Melakwa Pass. There's none at the lakes." Their looks of concern turn to one of relief before I take off down the trail.

Not just three cars when I returned to the TH at 11:30. Every spot was now filled out to the Denny Creek Road. Anyway, a pretty good fitness day. Around 13 miles and a bit over 4000 v.f., though a little absurd for the quality and quanitity of skiing to be found on this day in this location.
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jt
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