7-Day Forecast for Scenic Hot Springs Area (2,900 ft near beginning of Trail Head)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Some Thoughts on Winter Visits ...

Winter is certainly the best time to visit and soak in a natural hot springs but there are some considerations you should examine before you make a request to come on up.  Please think these over in deciding whether you want to make an attempt to hike up in winter snow conditions.  Remember that you accept responsibility for conditions, expected or unexpected.  We do not control the weather.
  • Check the weather forecasts in advance.  We attempt to cull some weather info and place it in the calendar to help you make a decision about whether to go or not.  If the weather does turn real ugly that you must turn back we will certainly try our best to accommodate you on another day.
  • Weather in the Cascades can get bad real fast.  The record snowpack at Stevens Pass was over 600 inches in 1968.  Snowpacks at Scenic have been recorded at over twenty feet.  That amount of snow means that some serious snowfalls have taken place on the mountainside . . . sometimes as much as two to three feet at a time.
  • Take Winter Storm Advisories seriously.  Stevens Pass channels winds and the snow that generates some fierce blizzards and whiteouts.  Don't get yourself caught up in the wilderness when a rogue winter storm rolls in.
  • Temperatures in the area hover in the teens and twenties during winter.  Add in the frequent winds churning over nearby Stevens Pass, and you have serious windchill temperatures with the accompanying danger of frostbite.
That said, if you dress appropriately you can stay warm and dry on your way to Scenic.  Dressing appropriately means winter clothing (thermal, wicking underlayers, and water/wind-resistant outer shell (parka)).  It means good boots designed for snow; gloves and warm hat.

Don't overestimate your abilities!  The hike up to Scenic is rigorous even in summer without any snow on the ground.  If you can't make it then admit it and we'll reschedule.  The hike is a little over two miles with 1,300 feet of elevation gain . . . most of that in the last third of a mile.  The snow could be a foot or two compacted down to Cascade Concrete at the gate but may very well be three or four feet of fresh powder overlaying the compacted layers higher up.  Without snowshoes you will be postholing through that powder and quickly exhausting yourself.
  • Carry snowshoes unless you absolutely know the snow conditions higher on the slopes.  If possible, choose Alpine snowshoes designed for steep slopes.  These types of snowshoes have an adjustable wedge that raises your heel on the snowshoe for snow-climbing conditions (the Denali Ascent snowshoes are a good example).
  • The last segment of the trail up is very steep.  In winter, the snow gets compacted with foot traffic.  Any hint of a brief melt and refreeze quickly turns this short segment of the trail into a treacherous ice chute.  Anyone who has skied off of the Barrier lift at Stevens and gone down the ridge of the bowl instead on into the bowl, knows what I mean.  Hard, slippery ice on a very steep and narrow trail . . . and a scary dropoff.  Carry a pair of crampons or strap-on ice cleats to deal with the ice.  They are cheap and well worth packing a pair into your backpack.
Children:   We love to see families enjoy Scenic and although kids may seem to be indefatigable and so energetic, consider their shorter legs trying to deal with the deep snow.

During and After the Soak . . .

Carry a couple of large trash bags to keep your clothes and pack dry while you soak.  Be very careful about exposing yourself to freezing weather when you get out of the hot pools.  Dry yourself and dress in stages as you progressively get out of the pool (i.e., stand up, dry your upper torso and put on a dry top . . . then step higher out of the pool and dry lower.  Carry an extra pair of socks as those you wear up are likely to be damp and ice cold.  Cover and protect your head, hands and feet as soon as possible after getting out of the hot springs.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

To Make Your Request a Little Smoother ...

  1. Check the calendar in the sidebar.  Get an idea of how many people have requested access.
  2. We have a limit of the max. number of visitors per day.  When we approach 10-12 we will cut off any further requests.
  3. Give us time to respond.  We both have day jobs and often cannot respond to last minute requests.  We must have a Release From Liability statement from anyone wishing to visit Scenic Hot Springs.  This simply cannot be done over the phone.
  4. Call us if you just simply need information but do not call us to set up a reservation.  We won't have the information in front of us to give a 'yes' or 'no' answer.  Email your request.
  5. Give us at least two days advance notice.  We understand that a visit is often a moment of opportunity but don't simply drive up there, call us, and then expect us to give permission after-the-fact.
  6. Read the Conditions of Access before you make a request.  When you visit Scenic you do so agreeing to the conditions you may experience up there and you also release and hold harmless the owner from any liability resulting from being on the property.  You enter and visit at your own risk.  Yourself and every member of your party must agree to those terms BEFORE you visit.  The Conditions of Access (a link of which is also in the sidebar to the right) also informs you of what activities are not permitted up at Scenic, as well as a lot of useful information to make your visit enjoyable.
  7. When making a request, follow the three steps in the Conditions of Access and provide the necessary information as well as a statement of agreement to the terms.  Without that we can go no further and it will delay your request.
  8. We get a lot of requests . . . many of which go nowhere.  Put your name and date of request in the subject line (i.e., "Visit to Scenic on 12-25-2011, Rick" or something like that) so that we don't miss a request in the flurry of emails.

    Subsequent requests, please start a new email instead of continuing a request from months ago.  These messages sometime end up buried deeply in the thousands of other messages in the inbox.  Start a new thread.

    Don't use different email accounts as we can't tie together who is asking what.

    If you do not intend to follow through with a request, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can release and clean up the calendar of pending requests.
A best of all . . . thank you for all the great people who have visited Scenic in the past year.  Though trespassing is still a problem, it is not as much of a problem as it was in the past.  By everyone going through the proper procedure to visit, we are being a better neighbor with the authorities and keeping away problems.  Thank you all.  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  2012 is going to be even better for soaking up at Scenic.

Mike, Rick, and Matt

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Another Great Trip Report

Thank you for giving me and my wife permission to visit the hot spring! We've always enjoyed soaking in hot springs before but that was in Asia. After going to your hot spring, all of our wonderful memories came back and the best part was that we didn't have to fly overseas!

This was our first snowshoe hike this season, and we are also kind of out of shape, so the steep hike was quite challenging. As I told you that I drove by the trail head the day before on my way to Leavenworth, we also stopped on the way up to Stevens Pass, looked across the mountain to see the trail under the power line, and it made us worried, but we were glad that we did not give up. After a good night rest at Leavenworth, we headed to the trail, parked at the lot next to the railroad, and started the hike at around 11:45am; by the time we got to the gate, we knew it wouldn't be easy and we got to take a break when we arrived at the first power line tower at around 12:20pm. Looking uphill at the three arms tower, it just made us want to look for excuses to turn around, but we just kept going and got to the tower at the top at around 1:10pm; another break was needed before we entered the tree covered trail. The last part of the trail was a killer, especially the part before the switchback! The only thing kept us going was that we knew we were almost there. I don't even know what time we got to the pools since we just couldn't wait to get in, probably around 2pm I think, so a little over 2 hours for the hike. The first pool was warm, but it felt cool after a while, so we just mostly stayed in the second hotter pool. No one else was there, so we had the whole place by ourselves. It was very relaxing and definitely worth everything to come here. We have our small picnic and soaked until around 3pm. We wanted to stay longer, but it started to snow, so we left around 3:45pm after we cleaned up and packed. Heading back was easy, we were so refreshed and it took us about 45mins to get back to the parking lot. It was getting dark, but no need to use my flash light yet.

This was a great experience and I am very impressed with all the work you put into this place. I just wished that it is closer to Portland so that I can enjoy this more often. Just can't wait to do this again some other time! Some friends already asked us about this and I hope you don't mind that I pointed them to your blogspot page. 

Thanks again and happy holiday! -Kevin.

Glad you persevered.  The soak at the end of a winter hike up to Scenic is well-worth it . . . as you well know.