Trip Reports: I-90 sampler

I’m rolling several trip reports into one post since none of them were eventful enough to warrant their own post.

On Friday, I took the Pacific Crest Trail southbound from Snoqualmie Pass, and then also checked out the Old Cascade Crest trail. The PCT was snow-free until Rockdale Creek (approx 3.5 miles in). Other reports indicate it’s snow-free to Olallie Meadows, and that you can get to Windy Pass if not further. I turned around at Rockdale, primarily because the water was running a bit high and I didn’t feel like doing a wet ford (if only I had known how soaked I was going to get on the old Cascade Crest).

Snoqualmie Mtn, Guye Peak, Red Mountain, and Kendall Peak (L to R) from the PCT.
Inter-summit 90 along the PCT. I see what you did there.

After doing an out-and-back on the southbound PCT, I crossed under I90 and checked out the old Cascade Crest trail via the northbound PCT. Last time I was there, the parking lot was covered in several feet of snow. Not anymore! Now you can drive all the way to the trailhead.  The old Cascade Crest trail was also in reasonable shape, particularly compared to last time. There are several sections where the trail is essentially a stream of water, but this only a minor annoyance. The trail becomes snow-covered at approx 1 mile. I didn’t have traction and it was a bit slippy, but if you have microspikes or even Yak Trax you should be fine.

I finished on the old Cascade Crest trail just in time to meet Tom at the pass. We left one car parked in the gravel lot at Snoqualmie and then drove together eastbound, hoping to catch some warmth and sunshine for a Friday night camping/hiking date.

That night we attempted to camp at Frenchman Coulee. We’d been hoping for a nice quiet date night, but the campground was crowded and loud. Oh well, we decided we just needed to pick our neighbors carefully, and so we set up our tent next to another couple who looked old and boring, just like us. We picked wrong. They partied until midnight. Well played, not-so-boring old couple! Only minutes after they finally went to sleep, a windstorm swept through the coulee and literally flattened our tent over our faces. At this point we burst into laughter and decided our romantic date night of camping just wasn’t meant to be. We packed up the car and went looking for a reasonable hotel. All of the hotels in Ellensburg were booked, with the exception of the Motel 6… which was super cheap yet surprisingly modern and clean! If you need a place to crash, that’s a pretty good spot.

Dusk at Frenchman Coulee.

Saturday morning we decided to head back to Snoqualmie Pass, and check out snow levels in the Gold Creek basin. It was hailing when we pulled into the parking lot. (Ugh, what is this, March or something? Oh right. Guess we’ve gotten a bit spoiled on the warm sunny weather.) The road to the Gold Creek trailhead was free of snow and my guess is that the trail is also free of snow for at least the first few miles.
Ultimately we ended up running to Twin Falls via the Homestead Valley Trailhead. I only needed 4ish miles and that’s what we got – a nice mellow run along a relatively flat trail.

And there you have it, a sampler of I90 trails, all crammed into less than 24 hours!

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