Time to depart Blue Lake. We crossed the outlet stream, stopping to take a pair images of an previous cabin, first. The cabin’s roof is gone (possible the supply of many a campfires over time), and it would not seem that it ever had something greater than a compacted dust ground. I could not discover something on the historical past of the cabin but it surely was possible constructed and utilized by a trapper (trapping marten was common within the Cascade Mountains a few years in the past), miner, fisherman, or hunter. It would not seem to have been constructed to USFS specs – – however….who is aware of?
I snapped a number of extra tamarack pine (larch) images after which one final lphoto throughout the valley, by way of the larch, of Cutthroat Peak – – and we have been on our approach down the path and I brisk regular tempo, to our pickup.
THE STORY: I checked the climate forecast for the North Cascades, and located two days of climate, that did not seem like sunshine however did not seem like rain. I wished to squeeze a number of extra excessive nation hikes in, earlier than the snow arrives and covers the paths for one more winter.
There have been three high quality hikes on my "need to do" checklist, which I had not finished earlier than. Although an extended drive from our residence in Japanese Washington, I believed we may work in a minimum of one of many medium size day hikes in (Harts Cross to Grasshopper Cross on the PCT), and the one on my checklist that was the shortest and best to entry (Blue Lake). I wished to scout the street to the trailhead for the third.
I used to be happy to know, that even with the "iffy" climate, my spouse was eager to do the hikes with me and was keen to spend an October night time camped at the back of our pickup truck. If we camped at Harts Cross, I knew it may be a tad cool at night time.
So off we went, early within the morning on eight October 2014. We drove to the tiny city of Mazama, Washington(actually a mixed: fuel station, cafe, retailer, sporting items gadgets outlet run by some good folks). Then the driving slowed as we headed up the winding asphalt street, touring the Methow River valley. Fascinating cabins and mountaineering parking, alongside the way in which. That street ultimately turns to gravel.
Then you definitely flip sharply up a slim, steep, winding, with blind switchback dust street, which leads you up the Rattlesnake Creek drainage to a excessive saddle in a forest fireplace burned space known as Harts Cross. It’s gradual going to drive this stretch of street safely.
In late August of 2013, I had pushed my RAV4 (offered with 200,000 miles on it, after we purchased one other 4 wheel drive pickup truck with cover in August of 2014), to Harts Cross and had camped at Meadows campground (now in a burned over space). The wind was fierce once I arrived, so I pitched my cheap "automotive tenting tent", up shut and on the lee aspect of the RAV4, to get an evening’s sleep.
The subsequent morning I had an exquisite hike north on the Pacific Crest Path from Harts Cross, previous Buffalo and Windy Cross after which up round Tamarack Peak, south of Foggy Cross. A high quality day hike.
Now on this October day in 2014, I wished to hike south from Hart Cross on the PCT so far as Grasshopper Cross, if my spouse and I might have time to finish the hike earlier than darkish.
My spouse and I left the "south" PCT trailhead close to Harts Cross at about 2:30 pm. With it getting darkish round 7 pm in October, we agreed we’d flip round at about two hours of mountain climbing, wherever that may be. Because it turned out that was about three.5 miles down the path and a full one mile wanting Grasshopper Cross. However what a good looking hike it was, even in principally cloudy climate. The Tamarack Pine (native identify for the larch, which is conifer, that sheds its needles every autumn), have been in prime vibrant gold and yellow colour. So we received our reward.
From this level on the PCT you’re lower than 40 miles to the Canadian Border. We questioned as we hiked, if we would meet up with a PCT by way of hiker, attempting to complete off the "to Canada" part of path, earlier than the snow arrived. We did. A wholesome match (after all) younger man with a bigger pack than I’ve seen most PCT by way of hikers carrying. I requested him what his PCT "path deal with" was. He smiled and stated "Ninja". He had backpacked from Cascades Locks (the place the PCT crosses the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington). He was doing the complete PCT from Mexico to Canada in "sections".
After he accomplished the by way of Washington to Canada PCT path, he stated he had just one extra 200 mile part in Northern California to finish, then he would have achieved his purpose of mountain climbing the complete path from Mexico to Canada. Hats off to solo backpackers like Ninja. I met an analogous by way of hiker north of Mt. Jefferson a number of years in the past and he too was doing the hike..solo (Little Buddha was his path deal with).
So Ninja headed north up the PCT towards Harts Cross, and we continued on south towards Grasshopper Cross. After two hours of regular mountain climbing, my spouse and I shed our day packs in a superb copse of larch, and ate a path meal, hydrated, and took a quick relaxation. I had already decided that I likes the south part of the PCT from Harts Cross, significantly better than the north part, I had hiked final yr.
We took it gradual over the mud slides space of path on the way in which again to the trailhead. We have been shocked that the hike again out was very near the identical time we had hiked out on the path (two hours). However we reached our pickup truck proper earlier than darkish, and the temperature had already began dropping.
We mentioned tenting on the Meadows campground, as I had the earlier August. However we made the choice to drive right down to Mazama and camp on the Early Winters campground on the Methow River there. It could be a lot hotter at night time with the lack of altitude, and we’d have all of the tough dust street driving behind us, after we received up the subsequent morning.
First although, we took a brief aspect drive north by way of the fading mild, so I may present my spouse the route as much as the Slate Peak lookout. We stopped at a pullover with a view and restroom to eat dinner within the heat of the pickup truck cab. Within the fading mild I noticed a small tent/bivy sack shelter arrange on the fringe of the pullover, near the path. Ninja and I met midway throughout the parking zone, smiled, and shook fingers.
I requested Ninja if he want to share in a few of our decadent, junk meals, automotive tenting provides. He agreed that, that will be fantastic, so I opened up the again of the pickup truck and supplied an assortment of our "journey and camp" meals. A peach turnover appeared to please him probably the most, and a crate or two of potato chips, and a few darkish chocolate. We additionally supplied him a chilly eating regimen Pepsi from our cooler, however we received so wound up in our path discuss, I am undecided if he ever received one or not. He was a pleasant younger man.
We left Harts Cross in the dead of night and drove rigorously right down to Mazama. A minimum of at night time, with headlights, we’d know if a automobile was coming the opposite approach, on the narrowest sections of the street. None got here the opposite approach.
We received a campsite at Early Winters ($four.00 for the night time for us previous people – senior low cost), and slept by way of the night time, although with an nearly full moon, it stayed vibrant exterior, as we crawled into our mattress at the back of the truck.
Subsequent day we have been awake earlier than daybreak, so we quietly pulled out of our campsite, and headed west up over Washington Cross to the trailhead for our Blue Lake hike (a brief hike of about 5 miles spherical journey. There have been solely two different automobiles on the good trailhead so we knew it would not be a crowded path, on this common and effectively publicized hike.
We hiked to the lake in a scenic bowl, surrounded by larch, and with nice views of the Early Winters Spires on one aspect and Cutthroat Peak off within the distance on the opposite aspect of the lake outlet.
I noticed, what regarded like a "route" by way of the boulder discipline on the south aspect of the lake, so I requested my spouse if she would thoughts ready for me whereas I attempted mountain climbing all the way in which across the lake. It was sunny, there was an enormous boulder of granite to picnic on, and he or she had a great provide of her favourite chocolate (I carried the one day pack on this hike).
So with digital camera in hand, I labored my approach all the way in which round Blue Lake, wishing I had higher mild (it was nonetheless pretty early within the morning), however grateful for a few of the reminiscence images I used to be capable of get.
We met an older girl mountain climbing together with her canine, once I rejoined my spouse on the Blue Lake outlet. She was from …. Mazama, Washington. She knew the world effectively and was beneficiant in sharing some nice "future hikes" info with us. I wrote down the main points.
Then my spouse and I took the short (all downhill) hike again right down to our truck and headed west. We crossed Wet Cross and after we received to Marblemount, Washington we turned to drive ten miles up the Cascade River. It was a spot we had by no means pushed, and there’s some mountain climbing in that space, that has been on my "need to do" checklist for too lengthy. We did the brief reconnaissance drive, then retraced our path to Marblemount and headed west to Rockport.
Subsequent, we drove to Darrington, Washington after which over to the I-5 freeway to begin our approach again residence (loop route – – we had come over the North Cascades Cross freeway and we’d return over Snoqualmie Cross). We got here to some street building, the place we have been first in line to be dropped at a cease, by a flagman. They have been repairing the street from a large landslide. Then it hit me. We have been at Oso. In March of 2014 the massive landslide had buried and killed 43 folks. It made nationwide information. The dimensions of scale of the mudslide was tough to understand, although we have been parked proper at the place the mudslide lastly had ended.
I requested the flagman if I had time to exit our pickup and snap a number of images. He stated "5 minutes", so I received out and took a few images of this tragic website.
We had pushed loads of freeway miles within the two days gone from residence. We had taken a pleasant 7 mile spherical journey hike on the PCT from Harts Cross on the finish of in the future and one other 5 mile spherical journey hike at Blue Lake originally of one other day. The fee for our in a single day keep (pickup truck tenting), alongside the Methow River had been simply 4 , and with a transparent night time sky and full moon thrown in for good measure.
We had additionally scouted the trailhead entry for a future hike. We received again residence at 9 pm on Thursday the ninth of October. We unloaded the pickup truck (however did not unpack all our mountain climbing and tenting gear), took a sizzling bathe and headed for mattress. A enjoyable two days and with some nice autumn colour and a little bit a lot wanted and appreciated mountain climbing "train" thrown in.
OMT ~ 19 October 2014.
Tagged: , blue Lake hike , North Cascades Mountains , Washington Cross , Wet Cross , Cutthroat Peak , previous cabins within the forest , Early Winter Spires , pickup truck tenting , mountain climbing