Left a bit later than we normally do in order to reach the summit in time for lunch...and perhaps a little recovery time from the events of the night before.
Arrived at the trail head and were surprised to see all of the logging activity that had taken place since our last visit. The parking lot was a soupy mess of mud. I can't help but wonder if the new sign post at the logging road crossing may end up being a relocation of the Elk-Thurston trail head soon.
We hit the trail at about 10am and hit packed snow just before the logging road. There was a lot of debris from the trees following our recent wind storms and a couple of new trees had fallen across the trail. Although they didn't cause us any problems it allowed us to ponder the idea of being in the forest on the day they fell.
Nearer the summit, where the trail gets steeper, the conditions were quite icy where the trail is under tree cover. The sections where snow could get to the ground more easily had deeper snow that was a bit slippery due to the warming conditions. Used spikes and did OK.
Once we broke from the trees the sun was out in its full glory. We continued to the summit for a nice, leisurely lunch and watched the para-gliders launch and drift gently away with the blue sky as a background.
It was an amazing day out; great company, beautiful weather and some interesting spectator sport with the para-gliders.