Lone larch at Blue Lake

Though my spouse sat in the sunlight on a big granite lakeside boulder, at the outlet to Blue Lake, I circumnavigated Blue Lake in a counter clockwise route. It was slow likely at situations via the boulder fields, but I bought my reward with some “just ideal mild” at the far finish of the lake.

I was three/4 of the way all-around Blue Lake, when I achieved this lone tamarack pine (larch), glowing on its individual amongst the shoreline boulders. This boulder area mountaineering isn’t really way too poor if you keep lower and hug the shore when you can.


THE Tale: I checked the climate forecast for the North Cascades, and discovered two times of climate, that didn’t appear like sunshine but didn’t appear like rain. I wished to squeeze a handful of far more significant nation hikes in, ahead of the snow arrives and covers the trails for a further winter.

There ended up a few high-quality hikes on my “want to do” checklist, which I experienced not carried out ahead of. Even though a extensive push from our home in Japanese Washington, I imagined we could operate in at the very least a single of the medium duration working day hikes in (Harts Go to Grasshopper Go on the PCT), and the a single on my checklist that was the shortest and least complicated to access (Blue Lake). I wished to scout the highway to the trailhead for the 3rd.

I was pleased to know, that even with the “iffy” climate, my spouse was wanting to do the hikes with me and was willing to devote an October evening camped in the back again of our pickup truck. If we camped at Harts Go, I realized it could be a tad great at evening.

So off we went, early in the early morning on eight October 2014. We drove to the small city of Mazama, Washington(genuinely a mixed: gasoline station, cafe, retailer, sporting products products outlet operate by some good individuals). Then the driving slowed as we headed up the winding asphalt highway, traveling the Methow River valley. Interesting cabins and rock climbing parking, along the way. That highway finally turns to gravel.

Then you switch sharply up a slender, steep, winding, with blind switchback dirt highway, which prospects you up the Rattlesnake Creek drainage to a significant saddle in a forest hearth burned region called Harts Go. It is slow likely to push this extend of highway securely.

In late August of 2013, I experienced pushed my RAV4 (sold with two hundred,000 miles on it, when we bought a further 4 wheel push pickup truck with cover in August of 2014), to Harts Go and experienced camped at Meadows campground (now in a burned in excess of region). The wind was fierce when I arrived, so I pitched my affordable “vehicle camping tent”, up near and on the lee side of the RAV4, to get a night’s rest.

The upcoming early morning I experienced a excellent hike north on the Pacific Crest Trail from Harts Go, earlier Buffalo and Windy Go and then up all-around Tamarack Peak, south of Foggy Go. A wonderful working day hike.

Now on this October working day in 2014, I wished to hike south from Hart Go on the PCT as far as Grasshopper Go, if my spouse and I would have time to full the hike ahead of dark.

My spouse and I still left the “south” PCT trailhead close to Harts Go at about two:30 pm. With it receiving dark all-around 7 pm in October, we agreed we would switch all-around at about two several hours of mountaineering, where ever that could be. As it turned out that was about three.5 miles down the path and a total a single mile brief of Grasshopper Go. But what a lovely hike it was, even in mostly cloudy climate. The Tamarack Pine (community title for the larch, which is conifer, that sheds its needles each individual autumn), ended up in primary brilliant gold and yellow color. So we bought our reward.

From this point on the PCT you are considerably less than 40 miles to the Canadian Border. We wondered as we hiked, if we could meet up with up with a PCT via hiker, hoping to complete off the “to Canada” area of path, ahead of the snow arrived. We did. A healthier fit (of study course) young male with a greater pack than I have witnessed most PCT via hikers carrying. I questioned him what his PCT “path tackle” was. He smiled and claimed “Ninja”. He experienced backpacked from Cascades Locks (where by the PCT crosses the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington). He was carrying out the complete PCT from Mexico to Canada in “sections”.

Right after he concluded the via Washington to Canada PCT path, he claimed he experienced only a single far more two hundred mile area in Northern California to full, then he would have reached his purpose of mountaineering the complete path from Mexico to Canada. Hats off to solo backpackers like Ninja. I achieved a identical via hiker north of Mt. Jefferson a handful of many years back and he way too was carrying out the hike..solo (Minor Buddha was his path tackle).

So Ninja headed north up the PCT towards Harts Go, and we continued on south towards Grasshopper Go. Right after two several hours of steady mountaineering, my spouse and I get rid of our working day packs in a excellent copse of larch, and ate a path food, hydrated, and took a brief rest. I experienced currently established that I likes the south area of the PCT from Harts Go, a great deal better than the north area, I experienced hiked previous 12 months.

We took it slow in excess of the mud slides region of path on the way back again to the trailhead. We ended up shocked that the hike back again out was very near to the similar time we experienced hiked out on the path (two several hours). But we achieved our pickup truck ideal ahead of dark, and the temperature experienced currently commenced dropping.

We discussed camping at the Meadows campground, as I experienced the prior August. But we designed the decision to push down to Mazama and camp at the Early Winters campground on the Methow River there. It would be a great deal hotter at evening with the decline of altitude, and we would have all the rough dirt highway driving driving us, when we bought up the upcoming early morning.

Initially while, we took a brief side push north via the fading mild, so I could demonstrate my spouse the route up to the Slate Peak lookout. We stopped at a pullover with a watch and restroom to consume evening meal in the warmth of the pickup truck cab. In the fading mild I noticed a modest tent/bivy sack shelter set up at the edge of the pullover, near to the path. Ninja and I achieved halfway across the parking whole lot, smiled, and shook palms.

I questioned Ninja if he would like to share in some of our decadent, junk foodstuff, vehicle camping materials. He agreed that, that would be excellent, so I opened up the back again of the pickup truck and presented an assortment of our “travel and camp” foodstuff. A peach turnover appeared to make sure you him the most, and a crate or two of potato chips, and some dark chocolate. We also presented him a chilly diet plan Pepsi from our cooler, but we bought so wound up in our path converse, I am not absolutely sure if he ever bought a single or not. He was a good young male.

We still left Harts Go in the dark and drove meticulously down to Mazama. At the very least at evening, with headlights, we would know if a motor vehicle was coming the other way, on the narrowest sections of the highway. None arrived the other way.

We bought a campsite at Early Winters ($4.00 for the evening for us aged people – senior discounted), and slept via the evening, while with an practically total moon, it stayed brilliant outside the house, as we crawled into our mattress in the back again of the truck.

Following working day we ended up awake ahead of dawn, so we quietly pulled out of our campsite, and headed west up in excess of Washington Go to the trailhead for our Blue Lake hike (a brief hike of about 5 miles spherical journey. There ended up only two other vehicles at the good trailhead so we realized it wouldn’t be a crowded path, on this common and very well publicized hike.

We hiked to the lake in a scenic bowl, surrounded by larch, and with fantastic views of the Early Winters Spires on a single side and Cutthroat Peak off in the distance on the other side of the lake outlet.

I noticed, what looked like a “route” via the boulder area on the south side of the lake, so I questioned my spouse if she would head waiting around for me when I tried mountaineering all the way all-around the lake. It was sunny, there was a massive boulder of granite to picnic on, and she experienced a great offer of her preferred chocolate (I carried the only working day pack on this hike).

So with digicam in hand, I worked my way all the way all-around Blue Lake, wishing I experienced better mild (it was continue to fairly early in the early morning), but grateful for some of the memory images I was capable to get.

We achieved an more mature girl mountaineering with her pet dog, when I rejoined my spouse at the Blue Lake outlet. She was from …. Mazama, Washington. She realized the region very well and was generous in sharing some fantastic “foreseeable future hikes” information with us. I wrote down the details.

Then my spouse and I took the quick (all downhill) hike back again down to our truck and headed west. We crossed Wet Go and when we bought to Marblemount, Washington we turned to push ten miles up the Cascade River. It was a place we experienced by no means pushed, and there is some mountaineering in that region, that has been on my “want to do” checklist for way too extensive. We did the brief reconnaissance push, then retraced our route to Marblemount and headed west to Rockport.

Following, we drove to Darrington, Washington and then in excess of to the I-5 freeway to begin our way back again home (loop route – – we experienced occur in excess of the North Cascades Go freeway and we would return in excess of Snoqualmie Go). We arrived to some highway design, where by we ended up initial in line to be introduced to a cease, by a flagman. They ended up repairing the highway from a substantial landslide. Then it hit me. We ended up at Oso. In March of 2014 the massive landslide experienced buried and killed 43 individuals. It designed nationwide information. The size of scale of the mudslide was challenging to comprehend, even while we ended up parked ideal at where by the mudslide lastly experienced ended.

I questioned the flagman if I experienced time to exit our pickup and snap a handful of images. He claimed “5 minutes”, so I bought out and took a few of photographs of this tragic web page.

We experienced pushed a whole lot of freeway miles in the two times absent from home. We experienced taken a good 7 mile spherical journey hike on the PCT from Harts Go at the finish of a single working day and a further 5 mile spherical journey hike at Blue Lake at the commencing of a further working day. The cost for our right away keep (pickup truck camping), along the Methow River experienced been just 4 pounds, and with a distinct evening sky and total moon thrown in for great evaluate.

We experienced also scouted the trailhead access for a foreseeable future hike. We bought back again home at 9 pm on Thursday the ninth of October. We unloaded the pickup truck (but didn’t unpack all our mountaineering and camping equipment), took a hot shower and headed for mattress. A enjoyable two times and with some fantastic autumn color and a little a great deal needed and appreciated mountaineering “training” thrown in.

OMT ~ 19 October 2014.

Posted by oldmantravels on 2014-ten-21 14:00:fifty two

Tagged: , North Cascades Countrywide Park , Blue Lake hike , larches , tamarack pine , autumn color , Early Winter Spires , Liberty Bell , Cutthroat Peak , working day hike