Gothic Basin, 08/15/09-08/16/09

For various reasons, we hadn’t backpacked in—I just checked—two months!  A fine amount of dayhiking, sure, but what with our upcoming trip to the Canadian Rockies, I felt we needed a bit more conditioning.  And I thought maybe, just maybe, we’d get some clear skies.  After shortening our list earlier in the week to three possible destinations, we decided we’d spend Saturday night in Gothic Basin.

Gothic Basin worked its way onto my must-do list way back when.  As sometimes happens when time passes, details regarding degree of difficulty slipped away from me, replaced only by snapshot statistics: 2600′ elevation gain, ~10 miles round-trip.  No problem.

We were up early enough Saturday morning, and on the road at 05:05.  I felt an early start was important, since we needed to find a campsite.  At 06:55, we pulled onto the side of the road at Barlow Pass, and were walking down the gated road to Monte Cristo ten minutes later.  Low clouds and fog made visibility poor.

Holding...

Holding...

Fifteen minutes after squeezing through the posts on either side of the Monte Cristo gate the road is really closed, and a trail is routed above the washed out road along the South Fork Sauk River.  I’d read that it wasn’t necessary to take the re-route, so we continued along the remains of the road, which wasn’t difficult, but does require that you watch where you step.  We’d be watching each step closely later on, too.

hikers_50

Read more of this post

Advertisements

Goat Lake, 06/13/09

[Editor’s note: Nicole surprised me this morning by having written her first trip report the night before.  Very cool!  Any additions by myself will be noted.]

So, Jeremy has been nagging me to write a trip report or at least a part of one since he started this website. He is so good at it that I never have. And I am lazy. But this is the longest he has waited to do one, so I thought I better help. Here it goes…I have none of the details like the times or mileage so Jeremy can add that stuff in.

We left about 6:30am and picked up my cousin Bobby in Mill Creek (he is interning out here for the summer). I believe we got to the trailhead about 1 ½ hours later, so a total of 2 hours-ish from West Seattle. As we got on our boots, the sky was clear and it was looking like a beautiful day. We started out and just a little ways in came upon a junction, where we chose the lower trail. The two options are supposed to be the same distance, with the lower being a little more challenging.  [The lower trail also stays closer to Elliott Creek.  —Ed.]

The trail was very nice and well maintained. We were walking along the river for much of the hike. I am having a hard time continuing with this part of my report. If only Jeremy were awake, he could assist. It was pleasant and the scenery nice. There were some pretty big trees. I guess that is all I have to say. Maybe a nice little picture would be good here, hon.

The author and her cousin along the lower trail.

The author and her cousin along the lower trail.

Eventually (maybe 5 miles in) we started going up to the lake, so the pleasant walking was no more. There were even switchbacks, but it really wasn’t that bad. Bobby, who by the way is 21 and in very good shape, didn’t even break a sweat or lose his breath. But us older folk did just a little bit. Shortly before we reached the lake, the dudes went off to the right to see a waterfall.  I missed it because I was feeling like finishing up the uphill part.

hikers_50

Read more of this post

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.

Read more of this post