Sometimes, you should stop going forward.
It isn't something people like to admit to themselves, but there is always a time and place for an evaluation of your current path, and what is necessary to move through it.
We recently traveled up 542 to have a good long look at Heliotrope Ridge. We're still very green to the hiking out this way, but we've heard of this one in the past.
Did I mention it was raining?
But, like good little PNWeners, we stuck it out.
We got wet, muddy, and slipped on roots.
And it was great.
We also had to stop before the end. We knew there was snow, and we crossed a few fields we felt comfortable with, but nearing the glacier lookout, as the trees began to thin, we ended up face to face with a very steep, very foggy snow field, with a boot track as wide as a boot track.
If there was a WSDOT sign at the beginning of the snow field, it would say:
"Tire chains required, except 4X4 and all wheel drive."