This year, we started the year off right with a lovely snowy adventure in the mountains. Somehow, even though I've meant to for years, this was the first year we've managed to get out for a hike on January 1st. Hopefully it's something we can manage to turn into an annual tradition! Since we were already in Eastern Washington, we had easy access to the Icicle Road, a perfect spot for Andy and I to snowshoe while his family skied. Rather than driving all the way to the end of the plowed road, we parked at the Eight Mile Creek campground to follow a quieter, less crowded route. Had we started at the end of the road, we would've shared our hike with lots of snowmobiles and rambunctious off-leash dogs. Instead, the only other people we saw on our walk along the river were a family returning to their car as we arrived.
After a short walk through the campground, we quickly found our way down to the creek. As we meandered in and out of the trees, we found ourselves dashing down to the creek every chance we got, pausing to soak in views. Obviously I also had to make plenty of stops for photos of the snow covered wonderland. For once, Andy didn't complain (too much!) about the frequent stops, because he was just as busy taking photos as I was. In the silence of our gradual climb up the canyon the only sounds were of rushing water muffled by snow and the occasional birdsong.
Too soon, we reached the Bridge Creek campground and the crowds at the official winter parking area. After the peace and solitude of our trip so far, the bustle and noise were a bit overwhelming. Since it was also getting close to lunch time, we decided to start our hike back to the car. As we descended toward the car, following the road on our way back, we were shocked by how much elevation we had climbed on the way in. We'd been so caught up in the beauty of the snow covered landscape that none of us had noticed the climb at all! We made good time getting back to the car, then headed straight for Leavenworth to warm up with a hot lunch. It's hard to imagine a better way to spend the first day of the year!