Blanca Lake, 07/26/09

We hadn’t yet combined car camping and day hiking this summer, and Cousin Bobby’s number of free weekends before his internship ends can be counted on one finger, so it was decided that we’d head out and camp somewhere Saturday and then hike on Sunday. Blanca Lake has been high on my to-do list for several years—basically since I picked up my first 100 Hikes… book. While researching the hike, I found out that the shorter approach to the trailhead via FS63 (Index-Galena Rd) was inaccessible due to a road closure, but the trailhead was still reachable via FS65 (AKA Beckler River Rd). I thought this might deter some people and keep the trail slightly less busy. So it was decided that we’d head up FS65 seeking a suitable and free camping site and hike up to Blanca Lake the next day.

North Fork Skykomish River near our campsite.

North Fork Skykomish River near our campsite.

Roommate David loaded up the cooler, the back of the Forester was full, and we stopped off in Mill Creek to pick up Cousin Bobby around 09:45 on Saturday morning. After an easy cruise on US-2 through Skykomish, we turned left on Beckler River Rd, which is also a pretty smooth ride, until it first turned to gravel and then intersected with FS63. Along the way there were several choice campsites along the water, but all were taken. Once we turned up FS63, the road became smaller and we were slightly worried we wouldn’t find a nice place to camp. We passed by the trailhead to Blanca lake and came a little closer to the North Fork Skykomish River, eventually finding a decent little grassy campsite with a fire pit and easy access to the water. By noon we were setting up our tents and settling in.

hikers_50

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Nason Ridge, 07/20/08

A Monday commitment meant that we were left searching for a Sunday day hike, and this time Nicole made the call: Nason Ridge, right between US-2 and Lake Wenatchee. Actually, she’s supposed to be writing up this trip report, but it seems we’ll have to settle for some of her comments and impressions on this hike toward the end of this entry. Or look for a separate post from her on this topic. So: based on the trip reports, we expected a moderately difficult hike with no snow, decent views, an alpine lookout, and the high possibility of a mountain goat encounter. We weren’t disappointed.

Like many, we approached Nason Ridge via Round Mountain Trail #1529. Green Trails Map #145 (Wenatchee Lake) shows three ways up to Nason Ridge from US-2, but the route up Round Mountain has the advantage of having the highest starting elevation, at 3900’. The trailhead sits at the end of Road 6910, which is maybe 1/4 mile east of the Nason Creek Rest Area–we knew it was coming, and we still ended up missing it and turning around (look for a driveway with mailboxes and a small 6910 sign) . The road up to the trailhead is in suitable shape for most anyone–we took the Focus this time, and had no problem making it the ~4 miles to the trailhead.

We arrived at the trailhead at 09:55 to find five other cars and an outhouse, which we didn’t use because we’d stopped at the rest area just minutes before. We’d left West Seattle at 07:35, and run into minimal traffic, so that’s a little over two hours of driving time. We stepped out of the car to put on our boots and were immediately greeted by hungry mosquitoes. After applying sunscreen and bug dope, we set off. 10:10.

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