Now the WTA site as well as many other places say not to go here. We checked the avalanche conditions and found they were downgraded from moderate to low. Figured how many more days could be we be this lucky? And no sno park pass needed once again! So the trail head is just down the road from the commonwealth basin's. I-90, exit 52, left from the ramp, right onto Alpental Road. We parked in the Alpental ski area parking lot, displayed our NW Forest pass. We decided on the main trail head start as we were thinking if the trail was blazed to the saddle up to snow lake we may just go there instead. Started out with just treks on our boots and we strapped the shoes onto our packs. It had snowed a little the night before, but no more than a couple of inches. It was warmer so the snow was melting off the trees and pelting us most of the day. We reached the split to Source and Snow quite easily, meeting only 1 other hiker along the way.(The sign you see in spring/summer/fall has been removed.) He, too, was thinking of trying to get up to the saddle. We followed behind him for a little, but decided to turn around when things got a little too vertical and there were no longer tracks to follow. The risk/reward just wasn't there. We turned back, but he seemed determined to try. We headed back down and then proceeded to Source. We were only 1 of 2 groups that went this way.. Once we got up to the lake, we heard and saw many alpine skiers climbing up and skiing down. We, also, saw two ice climbers! Not to mention some snow falling very near them. We had an amazing lunch supplied by Terah: chicken sausage sliced with fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers on ciabatta bread. AMAZING!! Washed down with a little skinny vanilla latte with the traditional whiskey chaser. We did put the snowshoes on and played around the 'bowl' area while watching all the skiers and climbers. The skies cleared up while eating and we were able to enjoy some sunshine for a while as well as for the hike back down. We also brought the sled. Across the street from the ski area is a training area that has a nice long slope that isn't too steep for the best long sledding trip!! Amazing day filled with fun.
Total miles: 5.25 (add another mile for the trips up the hill for sledding!!)