Feeling inspired from a recent snowshoeing expedition to investigate a snow-covered mining claim, I decided to purchase a set of snowshoes and check out the terrifically named — Lake Valhalla. Living in Wenatchee, WA I had a little over an hour drive ahead of me to get to the alternate trailhead in Stevens Pass. So, being the audiobook fiend that I am and jonesing for a fix, I turned on “The Fellowship of the Ring” and listened intently as the fellowship continued their journey underneath the mountain. As Gandalf, Frodo, and the others wound through the vast labyrinthine network of tunnels so to I passed through the awe-inspiring, snow capped Cascade Mountains and made it to Stevens Pass.
The first thing I noticed upon arrival was the change in temperature. It dropped from 64°F in the valley to 28°F in the pass. *shivers* Luckily, I brought my AmeriCorps issued parka! Once geared up, I began my ascent towards (what I believed was) Lake Valhalla. As I trekked up these winding hills, I passed a handful of equally winded snowshoers which, the competitive side of me couldn’t afford to lose to. I buckled down and put in some miles between us so that I was once again alone. Gasping for breath now, I paused for a water break and took in my surroundings. “People actually live here,” I thought to myself jealously. With poles like daggers poised in my hands and tennis rackets on my feet, I continued forward up the slopes, braving the icy wind that coursed through the pass. An unmarked split in the trail presented a choice to me and I made my selection. Electing for the frequently traveled path, I was brought to a lake with a thick blanket of snow. A group of downhill skiers, were heading along the trail and directly at me. I pulled to the side and when the last guy was about to pass me I inquired “Hey, what’s the name of this lake?” The man of few words quickly responded with, “Skyline.” Not knowing if this man was a practitioner of Neo-paganism, I retaliated with “Any idea how to get to Valhalla. Er, Lake Valhalla that is?” The great sage pondered my words and responded with “No.” And with that, my dreams of reaching Valhalla would have to be fulfilled another day. I would later learn that I had taken the wrong trailhead at the beginning of my journey and that were no trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail to lead me to Lake Valhalla.