Well, the snow is coming upon us.  There is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect tonight . . . 4-5 inches of snow in the Stevens Pass area.  So we want to take a moment to remind everyone planning on going into the back-country of the Cascades to go prepared.
Layered, water-resistant clothing, good boots, Trax, cleats or crampons for traction of steep icy trails, snowshoes (not needed yet, but will be soon) for the deep snow up to Scenic.  Carry the essentials including several ways to start an emergency survival fire.  Make sure that someone knows where you are going and when you plan to be back.
As the snows begin to stick and build up on Hwy 2, you will soon not be able to park at the gate and must go to the winter parking areas.  This means a short hike up the shoulders of the highway.  Please wear something highly reflective and be extremely careful.
Scenic has no known avalanche chutes . . . the slopes are heavily forested and not steep enough.  If you stick to the trail you will be fine.  Areas of concern are the cleared and steep slope of the BPA clearcut below the access road.  Stay on the road. Please don’t give in to the temptation to ski or slide down the open slopes below the road.
One other area of concern is the last five hundred feet of the trail that is very steep and typically turns into an icy chute later in the season.  Have traction devices ready for use if necessary.
Please remember that the sun goes down early in winter.  Don’t get trapped in trying to get down in the dark.  Soak responsibly, limit alcohol and stay sharp, recognize heat and cold-associated dangers and protect yourself and your fellow soakers.  Above all, enjoy the magic of a wintery hot spring soak.