Golden sunshine, blooming dandelions and the fierce gurgles of stream water passing by. It just feels like summer in the High Desert.
However, traveling up into the wilderness could spell out a much different, and chillier, story.
“The last time I ran it there was no snow,” said Erica Raggio at the entrance of Green Lakes Trailhead “It was very easy. It took me about, easy, relatively. It took me about 50 minutes up.”
For Raggio and Emily Keddie, their run Thursday was a bit different than last time.
“But this time it took an hour and a half to get up, so almost twice as long,” Raggio said.
“It was tough,” Keddie said “It’s harder to run on snow of course but it was a beautiful day.”
According to the Forest Service, at 5,800 feet, 85% of the trails are under 1-3 feet of snow.
Trail No. 10 connecting Green Lakes and Soda Creek is completely hidden by pack and is extremely difficult to navigate.
“So anyone going up there has to be prepared for slippery conditions early in the morning and then it starts to get slushy as the afternoon wears on,” said Kim Jacobson, a Forest Service Volunteer at Green Lakes.
Above 6,300 feet, snow shoes are highly recommended.
It’s something even Deschutes County search and rescue abided by last week to rescue a climber.
“To access the lost and injured person they had to use snowshoes and ski on skis to scale the mountain and that’s not typical for this time of year,” said Mike Biondi, a Lieutenant for Deschutes County Search and Rescue.
“So many come back and they say ‘Ok, I’m tired of fighting the snow,’ and others are fine with it and go all the way up,” Jacobson said.
The advice from the people brave enough to take on the uneven ground?
“If you’re starting early enough, you’re going to be alright because the snow stays hard in the morning,” said Brad Power, a hiker “But if you’re starting later, right about now, the snow is going to get pretty slushy so spikes might be a good idea or poles.”
“You’re on a surface that’s sinking and uneven so prepare for your legs to be a little more tired,” Keddie said.
“Definitely bring good shoes,” Raggio said “I would bring poles. Plenty of water.”
And if you’re not as experienced, especially with self-navigating, don’t travel to higher elevations.
Volunteers with the Forest Service here at Green Lakes Trailhead say the snow is rapidly melting.