Sunday, July 27, 2014

Deer Park loop, Olympic National Park

Another weekend with Plain closed meant it was time for another "classic" route.

The Olympic Mountains look so close from Seattle, but including a ferry ride, driving through small towns and a winding 15-mile FS road, it takes just as long as heading to North Cascades National Park.

This loop, approximately 43 miles according to park maps, starts from Deer Park and heads to Obstruction Point, down into Grand Valley and over the pass, up Cameron Creek and over the pass, down the Dosewallips and, you got it, over Gray Wolf Pass, following the river down to Three Forks and ending with a will-to-live-killing four mile, 3200' climb back to Deer Park to finish the day.

The views are fantastic, there is varied terrain throughout and with the exception of an avalanche debris zone descending to Cameron Creek and the usual brush issues, the trails are quite a bit better maintained than what I come to expect from the North Cascades.

Go do this loop. Seriously.

From Deer Park to Obstruction Point
Deer along the trail
Pretty much the view the whole way toward Obstruction Point
Looking back toward Deer Park, Baker and Shuksan across the Sound
Looking up Grand Valley from along the ridge; Grand and Moose lakes visible
Mt. Olympus
Descending from Obstruction Point into Grand Valley
Marmot along the trail
Moose Lake
Flowers all day...
Gladys Lake
Along the trail to Grand Pass
They're everywhere...
Decently-steep trail to Grand Pass; the other side is steeper yet
Tarn at Grand Pass

Descent from Grand Pass toward Cameron Creek 
A field of Avalanche Lily
Looking back up from Cameron Creek at the avalanche debris that has taken out a good chunk of trail; a bushwhack trail is fairly easy to find
Cameron Creek trail 
Upper Cameron Basin

Looking up at Cameron Pass (very top R of picture)
Upper Cameron Basin from below the pass
Small snow patch before Cameron Pass; easy to go up, might be nice to have some poles if you come down
Cameron Pass
Looking toward Lost Pass, Mt. Anderson with glaciers in the background
Looking back toward Cameron Pass, top left, from Lost Pass
Zoom of the trail heading back toward Cameron Pass
Dose Meadows marmot

Looking down the Dosewallips River valley, with Little Mystery (r), Mystery and Deception
Up and away, almost 3000' to Gray Wolf Pass
Great Paintbrush show; a few hundred feet up red gave way to pink
Point 6485' above Gray Wolf Pass, at the bottom right of the peak
A lonely sign atop Gray Wolf Pass

Looking down (north) the Gray Wolf River valley
Ancient canteen below Gray Wolf Pass
Feeding into Gray Wolf River, ridge west of 6485' behind
Gray Wolf marmot
Lower down on the Gray Wolf trail
Last sign for the day at Three Forks; 4.3 miles and 3200' up to Deer Park
Getting close to Deer Park... the bottom left of Blue Mountain
Trying to muster a smile before entering Deer Park 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rainy Pass to Harts Pass on the PCT, North Cascades

Paul and I had been planning for quite some time to run loop one at Plain this weekend, but the fires had other plans...bummer. Probably means we'll only get to run one loop, instead of both, before September.

Plan B: North Cascades 100km out-and-back on the PCT from between Rainy and Harts passes. We had cloudy, cool and rainy weather all day, so we didn't get the amazing views you can on this section of the PCT, but the North Cascades still never disappoint.

We had solid rain for most of the second half so I ended up putting my camera away, but there were a few mountain glimpses in the early evening as we came back over Cutthroat Pass.

Heading up toward Cutthroat Pass, center left
Corteo Peak, to the south
Cutthroat Pass
Hinkhouse Peak, Cutthroat Lake, ridge to Cutthroat
One steep traverse between Cutthroat and Granite passes
Top of the switchbacks above Granite Pass, looking east, which appeared to have better weather all day
Above Granite Pass; Swamp Creek drainage with Tower and Golden Horn in the clouds
W. Fork Methow valley
Looking down Brush Creek
Marmot in Brush Creek
Switchbacks above Glacier Pass, leading to Grasshopper Pass
Grasshopper Pass, center, below Tatie Peak
Contouring below Tatie Peak
Harts Pass
Flowers near Harts Pass
Water source below Tatie Peak
Mid July in the North Cascades