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

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Rainbow Ridge, 08/13/10-08/15/10

After a long hiatus, I decided that if I’m to do a proper year-end post, I should probably first make a brief mention of a one-night backpacking trip we took in August with our friends Cameron and Casey.  They’d never been backpacking, and it was something we really wanted to introduce them to, so we’d long planned to go out together on the peak weekend of the Perseid Meteor Shower. With Nicole being pregnant—yes, that is why this summer was a little quieter on the site, here—and with a couple newbies along for the ride, I wanted something short, quiet, and with big skies.  Rainbow Ridge sounded like just the thing—if perhaps a little more adventurous than some participants might be expecting.  It’s a non-maintained trail…

A rewarding view from atop Rainbow Ridge.

Since we’re all now months-removed from the event, I won’t recount how we pulled off to the side of the road late Friday night to throw up some tents, only to find I’d forgotten the majority of our food.  Or our search for that side-of-the-road location.  But the skies from the side of the road that night were beautiful, and softened the blow to my ego a bit.

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Railroad Grade via Park Butte Trail, 07/10/10

I threw everything in the back of the Forester Friday morning before work, planning to pick Nicole up after work and head to the mountains. Earlier in the week, we’d decided to camp Friday night and hike on Saturday morning. It’d been a while since we’d been up near Mt. Baker, and I figured we’d be able to camp last-minute along Baker Lake somewhere, so I started looking into options. The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest website promisingly categorized the Park Butte Trail as “partially” open, going on to state that meadows were clear, snow was in the trees, and snowshoes were not necessary. Furthermore, I learned that there were hiker-only campsites at the trailhead. Sold.

Bird in flight, Mt. Baker beyond, from Railroad Grade.

We made good time to the trailhead (I-5 -> WA-20 -> Baker Lake Highway -> FSR-13) and its large parking area. We set up our tent in one of the few single-night-only campsites set aside for hikers and drifted off to sleep early.

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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

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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.

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