The Stevens Pass pathway

We headed home from Leavenworth this afternoon. It snowed all weekend long at the condo, so we expected a lot of new snow on Stevens Pass. When we came over the pass on Friday, it was sunny and gorgeous (and the cleared snow on either side of the highway was about 10 feet high). Today was a different story. The road was packed snow and ice, the snowplows were working in threesomes, and the highway looked like a narrow pathway. We left at 2:30, and it took three hours just to get to Monroe.

Snow tires were required, and lots of people stopped to install chains. When we passed an entire row of abandoned cars and trucks on the shoulder, buried in snow so they looked like giant mushrooms, we wondered how much snow (and how fast) had come down overnight. Most was probably caused by snowplows... I would not like to leave my car in a snow zone.

It was too dangerous to stop for photographs, so I had to be content with snapping a few shots through the windshield.

The worst part of the drive was the east-side climb up to the summit, and a dozen miles of compact ice in the transition zone from heavy snow to rain. For miles, between Skykomish and Sultan, all the roadside signs had icicles hanging from them, and the bushes and trees were coated with ice.

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