Jul 26, 2008 at 11:38 am #1230368
My bro has some Southwest free flights saved up. We were talking about going to Albuquerque or Denver, our usual stomping grounds.
Neither of us have been to the Northwest, except for myself in Idaho. We will fly up and arrive at the airport early evening and rent a car.
We will have 5 days on the ground. We need a 4 day out and back or loop trip, up to 15 miles a day. We can drive a few hours to the trail head if necessary.
What y'all got?
Also need good food hints for Seattle the first and last nights.Jul 26, 2008 at 4:40 pm #1444700
When are you coming? The snow is still really deep in many areas this year. So deep I have called it quits on my annual PCT trip that was to start next weekend :-(Jul 26, 2008 at 5:25 pm #1444702
It will 5 days from the end of August until early September.
I have been reading about the Northern Loop Trail, looks pretty cool. Also June issue of Backpacker there is an article about the Glacier Peak Wilderness. The article lists waypoints, necessary maps, and guide books. It looks to be only about 120 miles from Seattle. Are you familiar with this area Sarah?Jul 26, 2008 at 5:32 pm #1444703
Sarah is right about the snow on a lot of trails, especially in the interior. That said, I know personally of one close in destination that is snow free and offers several variations, according to your taste(s). Take I-90 east to Exit 47, cross over the freeway to the north side and go left 1/4 mile at the T-intersection to the Granite Mtn/Pratt Lake TH parking lot. You will need a recreation pass to park, which can be obtained at REI in downtown Seattle(true of most TH's, BTW). You have 2 options here: 1) A day hike of Granite Mtn, which is 9 miles, RT, with ~3800' of gain and marvelous views from the summit in every direction(it is an active fire lookout site). A good warmup for other Cascade doin's. 2) Using the same TH, go one mile to the turn off for Granite Mtn and stay on the trail to Pratt Lake. You will gain ~2200' in ~4.5 miles, then descend ~1000' over the next 2 or so miles to Pratt lake. Several small, and one large, campsites there. A good place to set up a base camp and day hike on to Lower Tuscohatchie Lake(~ 1 mile). It is a beautiful little gem. There is a side trail that heads northerly to Kaleetan Lake, which I have not yet visited, or you could bushwhack up to Upper Tuscohatchie Lake. It looks to be ~3 miles with ~2000' of elevation gain over a ridge and almost as much loss on the other side. A bit of a hump but, then, nothing worthwhile comes easy in the Cascades. The whole area is snow free and very picturesque. One caveat: The Granite Mtn trail and the trail as far as Pratt Lake can get busy on weekends. During the week, you will have it practically to yourself, especially beyond Pratt Lake. Other close in options for day hikes on the West side of the Cascade Crest include Mt Si near North Bend(8 miles RT with ~3300' of gain) or, if you're feeling your oats, Mailbox Peak(4000' of gain, 5 miles RT-be warned, this is a b*ll buster, but a great workout, and yes, there is really a mailbox on top with a copy of Dr Seuss inside). The only other snowfree hikes I know of for sure are on the East side, about2.5-3hrs drive to the Leavenworth area. One very good day hike goes to Stuart Lake(9 miles RT, ~1200' of gain, with a spectacular view of Mt Stuart rising above the lake). This can be combined with a side trip to
Colchuck Lake by taking the left fork in the trail ~ 2 miles from TH, for a 12 mile dayhike with ~3000' of gain. Colchuck Lake has an equally spectacular view of Dragontail and Colchuck Mtn. Getting a permit to camp at either lake is very difficult, but they do have a lottery at the Leavenworth Ranger Station every morning for one permit at each lake(according to a friend, so verify this if interested). It's a long way to go for a day hike, but the rewards are commensurate. If you go there, be sure to stop at Gustav's in Leavenworth for a micro brew, burger, and great fries. Food options in Seattle? Depends on your taste. Hing Loon in the International District serves great Cantonese food, Chinooks out at Fisherman's Terminal serves excellent seafood, The 74th Street Ale House on 74th St and Greenwood Ave in North Seattle serves outstanding pub grub along with a wide assortment of the PNW's finest micro brews, as does the Latona Pub on 65th Street and Latona in North Seattle. There are also several Zeke's Pizza houses scattered around the North Side. I could go on, but hopefully this will get you started. Also, if you are here before I leave for the Sierra in early August, I can meet you and go over some maps in detail. Either PM me or post here, as I will be watching this thread for a while. I hope you all get good weather and have a great time. Welcome to the PNW. Oops, you re-posted in the interim. I'll be back then, so the offer still stands. Lots of other trails should open up by then, including the PCT from Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass where you could do out and backs with side trips off the main trail to suit your taste. It's takes you through some very nice country. It's been a heavy snow year, though, so check with a ranger station on conditions before committing. Also, a lot of routes up in the Pasayten Wilderness should be open by then. Two of my favorites are Buckskin Ridge and the PCT/Middle Fork of the Pasayten River loop. Bring lots of DEET if you go here!Jul 26, 2008 at 5:42 pm #1444704
My goof, I meant to say a 4 day loop instead of 4 mile. Thanks for the detailed post.
Usually I drive 12 hours and then hit the trailhead, I am looking forward to the flight.Jul 26, 2008 at 5:45 pm #1444705
One thing to be aware of is that many of the access roads AND trails are either closed or heavily damaged by two successive years of heavy winter rains/snow. That is my favorite area of the Cascades and I would have recommended a couple of awesome hikes there otherwise. Before committing to anything in that area, call the Darrington RS for first hand info. They're on the ground in the area and real nice folks to boot.Jul 26, 2008 at 6:14 pm #1444706
Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Christopher, that is a great area. I haven't been on those exact trails but because of the report I will do it next year. Things should be melted out by the time you get here.
A great website to look for stuff in Washington is: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/guidebook
It is Washington Trails.org, search there Guide book for possible hikes. Also they have trail reports updated everyday so you can check the current conditions of trails.
Anything in the "Enchantments" is spectacular IMO. Do a google on it and see what you come up with.Jul 26, 2008 at 8:29 pm #1444714
I would avoid Glacier Peak if I were you – while in theory it is close to Seattle, those lousy roads eat up time like crazy. As well, much of the damage from 2003 and 2006 has not been repaired.
But Rainier? Ahhhh…..she is a dream. By late August everything they can repair is repaired. The crowds are thinning. Bugs gone. Still warm during the day but not freezing at night. Good weather.
If you do the Northern Loop I suggest starting and ending at Sunrise. Good safe place for cars (ranger station is where you park for overnighters). All paved roads as well. From my house I can be there in about 1 hour 15 minutes. So say 2 1/2 hours from Seattle.
It gives you alpine, subalpine, trees, rivers, etc…..you can't go wrong!Jul 26, 2008 at 8:35 pm #1444716Jul 26, 2008 at 9:40 pm #1444722
Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
I totally agree with Sarah- Your first time in this area, Rainier is hard to beat-Jul 28, 2008 at 6:45 pm #1444923
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
If you are going to choose Rainier, and specifically the Northern Loop, be aware that the road to the Carbon River (Ipsuit Creek) is closed, basically eliminating that option as a point of entry unless you want a long (washed out) road walk.
The Northern Loop is a fine hike, and one that I'd recommend heartily for its beauty and proximity to Seattle and the airport. It's roughly 38 miles – and can be done in four days (three nights) without issue. WEATHER is an issue. If it is clouded in or rainy, Mt. Rainier can become more a "rumor" than fact…I've hiked there for five days without as much as a glimpse of its peak.
Another great option in my estimation would be the Spider Gap – Image Lake – Buck Creek Pass loop. Near Leavenworth, Washington off Highway 2, it's one of the finest hikes in the Central Cascades.
Day 1 – drive 3.0 hours from Seattle to Spider Gap trailhead. From there, 5 mile hike with very little elevation gain (1,000 feet) into Spider Gap meadow. Camp in the valley.
Day 2 – rise early to climb up the valley and climb the glacier up Spider Gap. At the top of the Glacier, you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Lyman Lakes…Descend carefully (avoid the trail to the right, head down toward the lakes). Spend a little time exploring the lakes but avoid camping here. Climb up toward Cloudy Pass (on a clear day, beautiful views of the Cascades), then head west toward Image Lake (one of the most photographed lakes in the Pacific Northwest). If it is clear, you will be rewarded with the fine views of Glacier Peak reflected in the lake. It also has one of the finest views from any privy anywhere.
Day 3 – Trace your steps back a couple of miles and then head toward Buck Creek Pass. This is possibly the most deceiving section of the trail. It seems longer than the map shows, but maybe that's just because I was *out of shape* when I did that. If the weather is again nice, you will be rewarded with some of the finest, most majestic views of Glacier Peak to be found when you roll into camp. If you get there early, there are many side hikes available for exploring.
Day 4 – You can easily descend by early-afternoon (then a three mile road walk back to the car). There are a couple of options on how to get back – the Buck Creek trail is the easiest, but doesn't afford a lot of views once you get down the valley. You can be back in Seattle by evening.
Here is a fine description of the hike:Aug 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm #1445401
What do I need to add or delete. I have not listed any bug juice. I may just get a head net, I despise the stuff.Aug 1, 2008 at 5:13 pm #1445416
If I read correctly, you have only one liter water capacity? My preference is to have 3 to 4 liter per person for (or in case of) dry camps. Once (for seven days) I got caught out short of capacity and used OP sacks to carry additional water.
Extra batteries for E lite?
What kind of food do you want to try while you're here in Seattle?Aug 1, 2008 at 5:21 pm #1445418
Two things that I would suggest: 1) Your choice of water treatment; 2) Maybe apply permethrin to your Capilene 1 shirt. And, yeah, the bug net/hat probably ain't a bad idea, depending on where you go.Aug 1, 2008 at 5:31 pm #1445420
I have 2 of the Platypus 1 liter bottles (I know its kinda hard to read). In Colorado and New Mexico sometimes I will take an extra 2 liter Platy just in case if there are long stretches coming up, I may add it it just in case. Extra batteries I need to add, good point. I eat just about anything, fresh baked goods are my weakness, that and Italian and Mexican.
I have used the Aqua Mira for the last few years and think its great stuff, I forgot to add it to the list. I have not tried the permethrin before. Will it affect the fabric or even more importantly my skin? Where can I get it?
I will need to add those missing few ounces.Aug 1, 2008 at 5:44 pm #1445421
The Permethrin bonds to the fabric and will not affect your skin. I have been using it on my Cap 1 LS shirt for several years now with no noticable effects. Look for Sawyer's brand at REI. It comes in a bottle with a sprayer nozzle. The stuff goes on real easy and dries in a few hours. Just be sure to apply it in an open space and don't breathe the fumes. It wouldn't hurt to apply it to the front of your pants in the thigh area while you're at it. When you're sitting around camp at night or on rest breaks and the fabric draws tight across your quads, the lil' buggers bore right in. It works against just about any insect-mosquitos, flies, ticks. Doesn't add much weight to your clothing, either. ;-)Aug 1, 2008 at 6:45 pm #1445427
End of August? In all honesty it won't be an issue – bugs are bad in July-early August.
So maybe bring some, but don't sweat it.
Now, on water, yes, that can be an issue – by late summer tarns dry up and so do streams. So having 2L capability becomes important.
Also, if you do come to Rainier there are bear poles in all camps – makes food hanging easy as can be.Aug 1, 2008 at 8:07 pm #1445434
"In all honesty it won't be an issue – bugs are bad in July-early August.
So maybe bring some, but don't sweat it."
Most years I'd agree, Sarah, but this has been an exceptionally heavy snow year and a cold spring on the West side of the Cascades. There could well be snow melt water, and bugs, at the end of August in the interior there. Better safe than sorry, IMO, and the permethrin doesn't have a weight penalty. Depends on where Christopher and his brother are hiking. East side? No problem there for sure; snow's already gone up to at least 5000'.Aug 5, 2008 at 9:53 pm #1445889
The bugs are at high point right now. How do I know this?
Lets just say I donated enough blood for 10 hikers today and yesterday. Owwwwww!
So good news on that? They will be waning soon enough.
On a side note: I don't wear bug repellents. They cause me to hive up. So I suck it up and take the bites. Ah well. At least the flies were not bad when moving!Aug 6, 2008 at 3:27 pm #1446002
"The bugs are at high point right now. How do I know this?"
The bugs may well be at, or near, high point where you hiked, Sarah, but not necessarily elsewhere in the Cascades.
How do I know this? I just got back from a day hike on the Pratt Lake trail about 2 hours ago. 10 days ago, there was still snow on parts of the trail and no bugs. Today, no snow and the little bas*&%ds were just starting to make a nuisance of themselves, sort of warming up I'd say. The next couple of weeks will probably see them peak, which puts us into the 3rd week of August. And this trail is just in the foothills, so to speak, of the Cascades. Back in the interior there is still a lot of snow from what I hear, so the bugs will likely peak there much later, baring a huge heat wave. It all depends on where you are hiking in a year like this. BTW, have you tried using permethrin on your clothing. It shouldn't cause any allergic reaction
because the chemical bonds to the clothing, and it is effective for all biting insects. Long sleeved shirts combined with a Legionnaire style hat, both treated with permethrin, provide me with excellent protection for all but my hands and cheeks/forehead, which are easy to defend.
Like Christopher, I hate to use DEET although I will if things get bad enough. Just a thought that came to mind when I read about your suffering. Sounded like a real bummer.Aug 6, 2008 at 7:46 pm #1446048
Usually I hike early in the day, never take breaks in meadows/lakes/boggy basins/standing water/fields of flowers in bloom. Hike where there is a gentle (or howling) breeze up high.
Why I got bit so bad on Monday was due to me ignoring my usual methods. I hiked mid-afternoon in a flower rich area and then visited a highly wet subalpine lake basin. So in truth I had no one to complain about but myself ;-) With a stiff breeze…lol!Aug 7, 2008 at 11:13 am #1446159
I called the office and they said the roads were fine for a 2 wheel drive all the way to the Phelps Creek Trailhead. She said parts of the trail were "bogged" out but still passable.
A few trip reports of the area on the WTA.org site read that bugs were there but not to bad, head nets it is.
I am trying to decide whether to take my Hardrocks or bring my La Sportiva Glacier boots.Aug 7, 2008 at 12:35 pm #1446181
You doing Spider Meadows and farther on? Is that the plan? :-) If going higher, say over to Lyman Lakes, I'd wear the sturdier shoes.Aug 7, 2008 at 2:52 pm #1446203
That's what I was thinking Sarah. Looks like if we make good time we could do a couple of the Class 3 peaks in the area.
The Ranger info desk also said the snow line was up and down everywhere and not very consistent.
I think I will take your advice and take my boots.
I am gonna do the Permethrin, hopefully between the headnet and the treatment to my clothing I will be ok.Aug 7, 2008 at 5:22 pm #1446231
Btw…I have seen trip reports up on NWHikers for the area – so check them out, they are recent, from this past weekend :-)
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