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.

hikers_50

Advertisements

Cascade Pass, 08/23/09

After seeing friends’ photos from an overnight trip up Sahale Arm via Cascade Pass several years ago—even before we began hiking seriously—the trip has sat almost constantly atop our queue, waiting for the perfect window of time and weather to savor the experience.

This wouldn’t be that.

South and west from near Cascade Pass.

South and west from near Cascade Pass.

But it wasn’t half-bad, either.

After reading that the Cascade River Road would close September 1st and remain closed through much of October, I set aside the hope that this would be the year that we’d backpack up Sahale Arm and spend the night under starry skies and, instead, settled for a dayhike up to Cascade Pass, or perhaps a bit beyond.  If all I’d read was to be believed—i.e., that I’d run out of superlatives before reaching the pass—we’d be returning for that idealized evening on the Arm, anyway.

Knowing that the trail would be busy no matter what the time, and doing our best to get all of six hours of sleep after watching Inglourious Basterds the night before, we left West Seattle at 06:20.  After stopping in Marblemount in a thwarted attempt at a warm breakfast sandwich, we headed up the 23-mile Cascade River Road stuffing a quarter-pound of Costco muffin into each of our mouths.  Signs along the way warn that the road is primitive, but it’s actually an excellent road, with glimpses up and across the valley all along the way.  At 09:10, just less than three hours after leaving home, we pulled into a large, mostly-full parking lot.  I’d expected views at the parking lot, but I was impressed nevertheless by the dominating face of Johannesburg Mountain, even as seen through our cracked windshield.  Its upper reaches were shrouded in clouds.

hikers_50

Read more of this post

Thunder Creek, 05/23/09-05/25/09

This Memorial Day Weekend marked our one-year backpacking anniversary. Last year, we spent two nights on the Olympic coast. This year, while we were tempted to try something similar, a quick filter of our newly created and creatively named “Hikes We Want To Do” spreadsheet sent the Thunder Creek trail in North Cascades National Park to the top of our list. Early season accessibility and the meager elevation gain and distance conducive to a first-of-the-season backpack will tend to do that. I penciled it in my calendar several weeks ago, and there it stayed.

Tricouni Peak as viewed from Junction Camp.

Tricouni Peak as viewed from Junction Camp.

We left the house at 05:20, after oversleeping fifteen minutes and scrambling some eggs. Since we’d be spending the night–two, actually–within the National Park, we had to stop at the ranger station in Marblemount to pick up our permits. At 07:15 we pulled up to the ranger station and got in line behind the several parties that had arrived before us. (The ranger station opened at 07:00.) Their destinations were varied, but there was a common answer to one of the ranger’s questions: Subaru. The repetition became quite comical by the end of the line. We were the end of the line.

I’d read somewhere on NWHikers that Tricouni Camp was nice, and when the ranger said there were only two sites at that camp, I was sold. It also helped that the camp is ~7.7 miles in (according to Green Trails Map #48) and just before the most significant elevation gain of the entire trail. The ranger warned us of pesky deer, issued our permit, and we were back on the road.

At 08:10, we pulled into the trailhead at the south end of Colonial Creek Campground and hit the trail fifteen minutes later. Last year, we spent the night at the campground and went for an ill-fated day hike up to Fourth of July Pass. The first ~1.5 miles of that hike and this backpack are both along the Thunder Creek trail, so we had an idea what to expect, and I won’t elaborate on what I’ve basically written before.

hikers_50 Read more of this post

Fourth of July Pass, 07/13/08-07/14/08

Emboldened by the Explorer’s surprising 20mpg Seattle-to-Aix-and-back performance, and having thoroughly enjoyed WA-410–a road we’d not driven on before–we decided to find a hike in North Cascades National Park for the weekend. This would alleviate the dual shames of having never taken WA-20 (aka North Cascades Highway) past Baker Lake and–the greater sin–having never even entered North Cascades National Park. Hey, we’ve been close…and we’re, you know…and it’s… Gas be damned! We were off early Sunday morning (07:00) after letting our friends’ dogs outside.

Our plan was to pull into the Colonial Creek Campground on Diablo Lake on Sunday morning and set up camp, then head up to Fourth of July Pass and back. We’re currently of the mind that if we’re gonna drive over three hours one-way to hike, we’re gonna turn it into at least a car-camp/day-hike combo, if not a backpack. We even thought–before our first hike, of course–that we might squeeze in two hikes: one Sunday, and one Monday. That didn’t happen.

The drive from Seattle to North Cascades National Park (hereafter, NOCA) via WA-530 (through Darrington) and WA-20 took less than three hours. WA-530 is another road we’ve somehow managed to avoid. Anyone who knows Washington State hiking and is reading this is probably wondering where we have been. Answer: I don’t know, and that’s something we’re working on rectifying. (To further display my ignorance, I’ll say here that I assumed that WA-530 was also the Mountain Loop highway. I started to suspect differently when I saw a sign in Darrington that seemed to contradict me. More on this later.) So: after stopping off for firewood, a corkscrew, two breakfast sandwiches, and an underwhelming stop at the Gorge Lake viewpoint, we were registered at Colonial Creek Campground and setting up our tent at 10:18. Definitely drivable in under three hours; I drive slowly.

Colonial Creek Campground sits right on Diablo Lake, which is a beautiful aquamarine color, on account of its glacial waters. Privacy in the campground ain’t the best–at least if you want to be on the water–but you get flush toilets, fire pits w/ grates, and easy access to the trailhead we planned on using. Definitely a good place for families, and since it was a Sunday, many people were headed out while we were headed in.

Read more of this post