From Saturday, graciously shared by Joe and his group of 5 allowed visitors . . .
We had a great hike to the springs today. It was snowing heavily on the way up Hwy 2. We had a 4 WD so no problem. Did not put on chains. We got to the BNSF parking lot by about 11 AM today. Due to a 4 foot mound of snow we could not cross over the railroad tracks to park on the south side so we parked near where the road to the BN parking lot meets Hwy 2. We dug out a spot back from the main entrance since someone told us we could be in danger of being ticket or towed.We hiked through the BNSF parking lot which was covered by about 3 feet of fresh snow. Our snow shoes worked fine and walked up the highway on the snow bank to the right of the road. Very deep fresh powder. Very little sign that anyone had hiked it before. Same thing where the road to the gate meets the Highway. Snow was about 2-3 feet of fresh unbroken powder. The 5 of us took turns breaking the trail. It was calm in the woods but very windy cold on the power line trail with the snow blowing almost horizontal from west to east. It was very tough, slow going. 3/4 way up the power lines were discussing turning back. But then we saw a group of 4 coming up in the distance behind us, it was Joel S. that we knew was reserved for the day too. That inspired us to keep going. Plus we let them pass us so they could break the trail for us:) Honestly, 2-3 feet of fresh, unbroken powder is really tough. A beaten down trail is 5 times easier, which we had when we let them pass.We stuck to the trails as you suggested but it was a little tough to follow the trail under the power lines as it was all covered in deep powder and was hard to see, but we made it ok.The trail up from the power lines was the same deep powder but little wind. At the springs the snow was 2-3 feet deep. Oops, forgot my shovel, would have come in very handy for clearing snow from around the springs.It took us about 2 1/2 hours to reach the springs, mainly because we had to break the trail through deep snow. Once it was beaten down the going was much easier. We left a what looks like a 3 foot deep, 2 foot wide trench all the way up and down. Will be much easier for people on Sunday.I think the parking to the south side of the tracks will be open tomorrow as people were clearing it out when we left. Bottom line, temperature around 30. 2-3 fee of fresh powder but now, a decent beaten down trail.Both the Bear's Den and the Lobster Pot seemed to be their normal temperature. All 9 of us enjoyed a great soak! Hwy 2 down was well plowed and in good shape.
... and from Joel, the other group that was allowed access on Saturday . . .
We made it in and out successfully on Saturday. Snow was very heavy, up to 2-3 ft of fresh powder in places. Impossible without snowshoes. In all honesty, there is no chance we would have found the springs if we hadn't followed the trail blazed ahead of us by Joe. We caught up to Joe and his group near the turn back into the woods, under the power lines. I would recommend not to go unless you are with someone who has visited the springs before and is confident in finding a trail that doesn't appear to exist. Joe was that person, so we made it in after 2.5 hrs. Joe and his group must have been at it for over 3 hrs, most of that through very thick snow drift. Once we met Joe's gang, we took over the blazing to give them a break, and arrived at the springs together. All had a great time soaking and chatting! The way out was easier, but if we'd left an hour later, our path would have been covered over in places.
From Friday . . .
So the hike (up to the springs) yesterday was brutal. It took two and a half hours to hike up. Snowshoes were an absolute must! Huge snowdrifts. Looked like nobody had hiked up in a week.The wall on the highway (the snowberm across the FS road created by plows) was about eight feet high. Saw nobody.The tubs were dirty as hell. Did a quick cleanout and then soaked my aches away for three hours. When I got back to the highway it was covered by two inches of slush. It was dry when I drove up. About three to four inches fell while I was onsite.