Hannegan Pass, 08/10/2012-08/12/2012

Did I not do any hiking or backpacking in nearly an entire year? According to my “Ahem” post, that’s the case. Damn! I’ll imagine that there’s something that happened in between that was spectacular and I did not document in any way.

Speaking of spectacular, this hike to Hannegan Pass (and the peak, really) was very nice. Revisiting my history, it’s once every couple years that my friend Casey and I manage to make it out for the Perseid Meteor Shower. Last time was Rainbow Ridge. This time, Casey invited a friend from LA up and we all went out together. He didn’t stab me.

In keeping with my after-the-fact recaps, here’s my remembrances, random notes and a photo dump, in an entirely unhelpful manner:

— North Fork Brewing: good pizza, good beer.
— Hike up to the pass is good for view of Ruth.
— My bag was heavy.
— It was hot in the sun in camp.
— Scott was pretty cool.
— Meteors are pretty cool.
— I didn’t have a lens that focused to infinity.
— If you’re going up, go to the peak, it’s way worth it; views to Shuksan are incredible.
— Pretty sure I can see Canada from here.
— Plus, 3G.
— I liked this so much, I’d do it again. Or continue on towards Whatcom.
— Stickhenge.
— Shuksan, again.
— No, I’m not hiking all the way down again on the second day to get pizza and beer. It’s FAR! You don’t understand how far it is and how lazy I am right now.

Ruth from near Hannegan Camp.

Ruth from near Hannegan Camp.

Stars out of focus. So far.

Stars out of focus. So far.

Up to Hannegan Peak.

Up to Hannegan Peak.

Climbing up Hannegan.

Climbing up Hannegan.

Admirers.

Mountains. Whatevs.

Mountains. Whatevs.

P-p-p-p-pano. (Gotta click this one, because 400px doesn't do it justice.)

P-p-p-p-pano.
(Gotta click this one, because 400px doesn’t do it justice.)

Yeah, how could I not want to do this one again? Maybe this weekend?! Got a babysitter? Oh, there’s a few more photos on Flickr.

Just go to WTA for the details, will ya? I can’t remember ’em.

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Lower Ice Lake, 08/27/09-08/29/09

Somehow, I found myself with an extended weekend at the very end of August; Nicole didn’t.  Thus, the table was set for my Second Annual Solo Backpacking Trip, a trip set to coincide with my twenty-ninth birthday.  Certain conditions were to be met.  The hike couldn’t be too high on our must-do list, because Nicole wouldn’t be along to enjoy it.  I also wanted something that would challenge me.  And why not make something that’s a little further away than our normal weekend overnighter?

In the end, I decided on Ice Lakes, via the Entiat River.  100 Hikes… put the round-trip mileage at ~28 and recommended allowing 3-5 days.  Ice Lakes were on my list, and the criterion fit.  I’d be carrying a heavy backpack (~45lbs) but reasoned that the elevation gain would be spread over so much mileage that it’d be no problem.  More training for the Canadian Rockies!  My itinerary was flexible: I’d leave Thursday, make the lakes Friday, spend Saturday exploring or summiting Mt. Maude, and return Sunday. Or, if the forecasted thunderstorms came to fruition, I might return Saturday instead.  Whatevs.

I left straight from work on Thursday around 12:30, and pulled into the trailhead parking lot at the end of Entiat River Road at 16:00.  The drive was nice, taking me past Leavenworth for the first time through Wenatchee and north along the Columbia River through an interesting landscape.  Though there were signs warning of big horn sheep crossings, I saw none.

I booted up and hit the trail at 16:20, setting a comfortably quick pace in order to put as many easy miles behind me as possible on the first day.  The trail starts off wide and dry, mixed-use as it is (hikers, horses, motorcycles).  The trees turn from somewhat unhealthy-looking to fully fire-scarred and destroyed as one makes progress down the Entiat River trail.

Evidence of a burn.

Evidence of a burn.

At 17:55, I entered Glacier Peak Wilderness, ~4.2 miles from the trailhead.  The trail narrowed.  Deer met me head-on on the trail.  The sun lowered behind the ridge to the west.  Every snap, crackle, and pop in the forest had me looking over my shoulder; I attributed each one to another deer, fearing a bear or cougar as the sounds stalked me along the trail.  I realized only later that the heat of the day had gone from the naked, burned trees.  And now they contracted in the shade like an old house in night’s silence.

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North Fork Sauk River & PCT to Red Pass, 09/28/08-09/30/08

The final weekend in September beckoned.  The weather looked to be fantastic.  Unfortunately, Nicole and one of her toenails were at odds with one another, so if anything were to be done, it would have to be done solo.  Somehow I decided that a mere dayhike wouldn’t suffice; this meant I’d be going on my very first all-alone backpack: two nights in Glacier Peak Wilderness.  I actually didn’t give it much thought at the time (that is, before I set up camp the first night in near-darkness and questioned every sound I thought I heard).  It just seemed like the natural progression of things, something that I knew I’d do eventually.

As I may have mentioned in the past, Glacier Peak Wilderness (hereafter, GPW) has held near-mythical status in my novice hiker mind.  Maybe it’s because Spring & Manning called it the last wild volcano.  I suppose that has something to do with it: unlike Mt. Baker or Mt. Rainier, you ain’t parking your Subaru on the side of Glacier Peak.  You gotta hike to get anywhere near it, man.  So when, a week or two prior, I saw a post on NWHikers about Sloan Creek Road re-opening, it stuck with me.  Sloan Creek Road (aka Road #49) had been closed for some time (forever, as far as it concerns me, since I wasn’t going anywhere near it before this summer) and it’s one of the nearest access points to GPW.  So it seemed predetermined that this trip would utilize the opportunity.

Old-growth along the Sauk River.

Old-growth along the Sauk River.

I decided I’d hike the North Fork Sauk River Trail (#649) on Sunday and spend the evening at or near Mackinaw Shelter, then get up Monday morning and hike until I reached the Pacific Crest Trail (#2000) and take that to Red Pass.  If I could, I’d investigate White Chuck Glacier or climb Portal Peak, spending the second night in the area.  Tuesday morning I’d hike all the way back out and get home sometime in the afternoon.  Since I was leaving the where-and-when with Nicole, I figured it best to stick as close to the plan as possible, and act conservatively.

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