When leaving Snoqualmie pass, I had an immediate decision to make: follow the PCT or take an alternate route to some hotsprings. After consulting the maps and the internet, I decided to go to the hotsprings. From the pass, I followed a road for a mile, then started up a different trail to Snow Lake.
The trail immediately started climbing up and I got into the rhythm of the switchbacks. After several miles (and several thousand vertical feet) I reached a saddle and got a wonderful view of the lake.
Then I made my way down another set of switchbacks to lake level. This hiking up switchbacks to a pass or saddle, then down the other side to a mountain lake and across to the next uphill will be the theme for the next few days and probably the rest of the trail. There is a lot of up and down hill in Washington. Luckily with all the hiking I’ve done, I’m well conditioned and the uphills no longer seem so hard.
When I got to the shores of Snow Lake I stopped for a snack and enjoyed the scenery.
Then I walked along the shore and started ascending the next ridge. Here is a view from the top.
It was 11 miles from Snoqualmie pass to the hotsprings and I was there by 1 pm. Goldmeyer hotsprings is run by a non-profit who only allows 20 people to enter per day. On the weekends in the summer you need a reservation weeks in advance, but a single person on a Tuesday has no problem getting in. In fact, I was the only person there and had the place to myself for three hours.
The hot water flows out through a cave which is about 20 feet deep, with the spring about half way in. In the cave the water is 109 degrees and is waist deep. At the back of the cave is a wooden plank making a seat and creating a sauna. The water flows out of the cave into two more man-made pools, of progressively cooler temperatures. There is also a man-made river fed cold plunge pool near by to cool off in. The pools are not very deep, but are perfectly adequate for one person.
I spent an hour going from pool to pool then got out to have some lunch in the cabana.
Then it was back to the pools for another hour of relaxation. The hotsprings are clothing optional and I’ll let you decide what I did.
After three hours I felt relaxed and ready to get back on the trail. Just as I was packing up another couple came in and I left them to enjoy the place in peace.
I hiked gradually uphill for a few hours and came to a water spout in the trail!
It looked like a burst pipe and had a sulfur smell to it.
I also crossed several rivers like this one.
I was mostly in the woods but in a few places I got some glimpses of the ridge I was climbing.
I set up camp near a river around 8 pm, giving me a lot of time in camp to read and watch the stars. I had still hiked 18 miles, which seemed like a rest day.