It's way early in the season for this hike but with the unseasonably warm and dry weather we've had all winter, I figured it would be open. The road to the trailhead was 21 miles long and gave me the assurance that this was going to be a beautiful trail. It was, but it ended up being 2.3 miles longer than advertised, due to road closure at mile marker 21. The road had a steep grade, winding through trees for a mile or more until it opened up into a huge valley, with Johannesburg Mountain on the right hand. There's a pile of rubble somewhere in the first mile, making it clear why the road was closed. In the second mile, the concrete is buckled like the top of a pan of brownies, apparently marking the passage of some very heavy rocks making tracks for the valley floor. The guidebook says the first 2 miles of the 3.5 miles to Cascade Pass is in the forest, with 33 switchbacks taking you up the grade. I didn't bother counting, due to the fact that my attention was being placed elsewhere. I'd begun to notice that the trees along the trail were bare and torn from the ground and up twelve feet, on one side only. It dawned on me that bears make those sorts of marks. I began blowing my whistle at the end of every switchback, warning any critters ahead that I was coming. Before the first mile was up, I was hitting snow deep enough that when I fell through I often went in up to my thighs. At 1 3/4 miles, I decided it was too risky to continue. I had not encountered a single other hiker, and the tracks I'd been following had disappeared. I did run into one couple near the trailhead on my way back. They had seen a bear when they were on the road up here and were spooked. I'm disappointed I couldn't make the summit, but it's a phenominally beautiful trail and I'll definitly be back to finish what I started, this time with a very large friend to keep me company and scare the bears away!