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Sand Lake Shelter

February 2007: Plan B

Off We Go...
And so we headed off to the Sand Lake Shelter - Loren, Sam, Ray, Monte and Me. We had sleds and packs full of goodies, snowshoes on our feet, and plans... that were interrupted when we discovered two people had beat us to the shelter. What are the odds of that? Maybe they saw how cool the shelter was on phlumf.com, and decided to see for themselves? No matter... we had a plan B.
We continued beyond the shelter and set up camp. This scene probably looks much colder than it was... with enough feathers, fleece and foam, we stayed comfortable.
Let there be light!
True to form Monte set the mood with a 1951 nickle coated brass antique Coleman Lantern - older than anyone on the trip.
Ghosts in the Woods
As darkness fell, we headed for a quiet stomp through an ancient forest. The trees in this area are quite impressive day or night.
The camp lantern casts a spooky shadow on the nearby trees. Who is that visiting our camp?
Evening glow
Snow fell now and then through the night, leaving everything with a dusting in the morning.
What trip to this area would be complete without a climb up a nearby hill to spot the hulking mass of Mt. Rainier?

January 2007: Overnight at the Sand Lake Shelter

Into the Wilderness
Time for another not-quite-annual trip to the Sand Lake Shelter north of White Pass, WA. About a mile from the road, our path took us into the William O Douglas Wilderness area.
Moonlit Shelter
It didn't take as long to locate the shelter this time. Another group was just wrapping up a lunch break nearby, and had partially dug-out the entrance. We widened the opening, dug a staircase, flattened the snow inside, rolled-out our sleeping bags, and settled in for a long cool evening. Before long, it was time for another moonlit photo of the shelter (scroll down for another version of the same shot).
Morning Light
Sunlight brightens the entrance to the shelter.
Light Through the Forest
At night, we went for a romp through the sparkling snow. This photo is similar to another one below - the line is caused by the headlamp of a couple snowshoers as they head toward the camera.
Mt. Rainier at Night
We headed up a nearby hill for this view of distant Mt. Rainier - all lit by the moon.

February 2004: Overnight at the shelter

Party of Six
Well, for me, this was a new personal record for "largest group on a successful overnight outing". Ten of us snowshoed and skied to the Sand Lake shelter. Here, six of us can be seen crossing the snowy surface of Sand Lake.
Monte the Sled Dog
Monte rigged-up a sled, which helped him pull a few extra comforts from home. I tried the sled for just a short distance, and was quite impressed about how easy it was to pull. By the end of the trip, Monte was filled with new ideas about how to improve upon the design. I can't wait to see the next generation!
Discovering the Sand Lake Shelter
One of the tricks to visiting the Sand Lake shelter is actually locating the shelter. The shelter appears like just another mound of snow. We had to dig down about 10 feet to reach the floor level.
Sand Lake Shelter at Night
Here's a view of the shelter at night.
Inside the Shelter
Six of us stayed in the shelter overnight, the other four stayed in tents just outside.
Streaking Through the Night
It snowed periodically during the first day, but the sky cleared after dusk, and the moon lit up the snow. A few of us made a night snowshoe trip to a nearby knoll. The light trails here are made from the headlamps of three people as they snowshoed past the camera.
World of Phlumf
We woke up to a quarter-inch of fresh snow, and mostly blue skies. Another trip up to the knoll revealed a view over miles of phlumf. For a few moments, the clouds parted to reveal the summit of nearby Mt. Rainier.

March 2003: Overnight at the shelter

Sand Lake Shelter
The small, wooden, 3-walled shelter is located on the west side of the lake under the shelter of tall trees. This is a 4-second exposure of the shelter at night.
Mt. Rainier to the North
Views of Mt. Rainier were hard to come by, but beautiful.
Phlumf and Shadow
Most of the views were sculptures of snow, wind and tree.
Snowshoe Prints
This is a view south toward the Goat Rocks wilderness from a broad ridge north of Sand Lake.
Freshly Plastered Trees
We had great weather for this trip. It was clear and sunny the first day, and just started snowing on the second day when we got back to White Pass.
Snowshoeing Through the Woods
All told, there were 7 of us on the trip. That's a lot of snowshoe tracks!

Where is it?

Sand Lake is a few miles north of White Pass, along the Pacific Crest Trail. The trailhead is about 1/2 mile east of the Kraker Barrel store at the pass. The shelter may a little hard to find if you haven't been there before. It's behind some trees and not immediately visible from the trail.

Before you go...
You'll need a NW forest pass to park at the PCT trailhead during the summer. In the winter, be careful not to park in a no-parking zone. If you drive a little bit east from the trailhead, you'll find a place to park. Or, you can park at the ski area. In the summer, the shelter may be infested with mice. In the winter, you may have to dig through the snowpack to get inside. The shelter will sleep about 5 comfortably, or 8 packed like sardines.

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