Friday, June 3, 2016

Snow Mountain Backpacking Trip with the Fam

Snow Mountain Backpacking Trip with the Fam
Last weekend was Memorial Day Weekend and each year we try to go on a hike or a camping trip (except last year, I did Boston's Run to Remember). We had thought about car camping but it seemed like all of the spots that we were hoping to check out were already reserved (yes, we were late in the game). We could have just gone to one of the campgrounds that didn't take reservations but that would have left lots of uncertainty, so Hubby figured backpacking was the way to go. Hubby decided on checking out Snow Mountain and it was a great choice. Thanks to Obama it is now a national monument so the land is protected similar to a National Park.

The drive was about 3 hours from Davis. There are a couple of trailheads to get up to Snow Mountain, either the Deafy Glade Trailhead or the Summit Springs Trailhead. We opted on the Summit Springs Trailhead since from there it is supposed to be a 4 mile hike to the summit of Snow Mountain. However, after calling the Ranger Station, Hubby found out that with all the rain this winter, the road was washed out and impassable to drive to the Summit Springs trailhead parking lot and added 1.5 miles to the hike. We figured it was still shorter to go with Summit Springs however the drive up was on a windy gravel road but worth it in the end saving us some miles and extra elevation gain. Below is a pic of where they blocked it off for cars to pass. We saw about 6 other cars already parked when we arrived around 9:40am.
Snow Mountain road blocked section
The washout was a ways down the road from where we saw the blockade. This is where the road is washed out and impassable. 
Snow Mountain Road washout
According to my Garmin, it was about 1.7 miles from the parking area to the Summit Springs Trailhead. There are some campsites there and also a restroom. I used the facilities and then we continued on. 
Summit Springs Trailhead
We figured we would camp somewhere between Cedar Camp and Summit Basin but not sure exactly where. It all depended on how the kids were faring.
Summit Springs trailhead map to snow mountain
Not far from the start of the trailhead, we came across this cool field of flowers. I believe they are lupines and the smell was sweet like candy. I could have sat in the field and enjoyed the scent for a long while but we had to continue on. :)
Snow Mountain field of flowers
During the hike, we saw a bunch of lizards on the side of the trail. We made a game of counting them. By the end of the trip we counted 72 lizards! They are like the one below. Can you see it?
Lizard on Snow Mountain
The kiddos did awesome. We celebrated each mile with a treat. Either Skittles or M&M's and it worked great!
 They were troopers, especially since it was a good upward climb for them.
 At this point, we had just passed Cedar Camp and they were still doing great.
Backpacking Snow Mountain
 Even when we came across obstacles like downed trees, they did great.
Backpacking Snow Mountain
They were very happy to see snow on Snow Mountain. This was just a little patch but we had a feeling we would see more as we got higher.
Patch of snow on Snow Mountain
The kiddos were amazing and we ended up setting our campsite on the ridge right by West Summit. According to my Garmin it was about 6.18 miles. 
Below is our campsite. It was a great spot. We can tell others had camped there as we saw 3 fire rings close by.
Campsite on Snow Mountain
After setting up, we headed to the East Summit which was .5 mile from our campsite.
Hiking to Snow Mountain East Summit
 We got great views and signed the summit register.
The kiddos were very happy to see a large patch of snow on the summit, where they had a snowball fight and got to play.
Big patch of snow on Snow Mountain
We hung out for a while on East summit and then headed back to camp. We grabbed our stuff for dinner and thought it would be cool to check out West Summit which was not far from our campsite and eat dinner there. In the below pic, the boys are standing on top of a rock monument on West Summit. We were so proud of them. They went on two summits that day, walked a lot of miles and were still smiling! They amaze me!
 West Summit Monument on Snow Mountain
On West Summit was this wind shelter made of rocks. It was the perfect spot for dinner.
Wind Shelter on Snow Mountain
After dinner we hung our food in case there were any bears or other animals looking for food.
We played UNO while waiting for the sun to set. The kiddos also amused themselves by playing with the shovel and digging around. They also had fun walking on some down trees and using them as balance beams.
We enjoyed watching the sunset and had no trouble sleeping after such a long day. Me and the kiddos did not stay up for the stars this time, but Hubby did and said he saw the Milky Way.
Watching the sunset on Snow Mountain
 A morning shot. We had some breakfast, and then packed up our tent.
Then headed down. The hike down was so much easier and it was crazy to see the climb we made up. It was quite the climb, and made us even more thankful with how well the kids did. 
 Backpacking down to the car on Snow Mountain
Overall, it was a great trip! We did a total of 13+ miles with probably 3000 feet of elevation gain total. We got awesome views and it was a great outdoor activity for the whole fam! The hike was definitely worthy of a jump pic and I would recommend it to others. It would have been nice to not have to walk the 1.7 miles on the road to Summit Springs trailhead but it was still worth it. 
Jump pic on Snow Mountain
Happy hiking!

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