Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bridge Creek to Colonial Camp via Park Creek Pass, North Cascades National Park

While the scenery was gorgeous as always, yesterday was only the second time I've gotten sick on a run. The first time? Last year when I also did the same PCT section from Rainy Pass down to the Stehekin River. I'm fairly convinced it's just so easy to run that 13 miles that I don't drink and then hit the bottom of the valley, which is hot, and I can't turn it around. After Park Creek Pass when things got bad it was a rough walk out the 17 miles of Thunder Creek... 

Relevant trail conditions:
  • PCT/Bridge Creek: lots of water running over the trail; handful of easy blowdowns within the first few miles leaving Highway 20. 
  • Old Wagon Road: mostly growing back to singletrack.
  • Park Creek Pass: A little brushy, but not as bad as Little Beaver last summer. Snow started around 5200' and is no issue reaching the pass. Expect to stomp through a lot of streams and ponds in the meadows. Descending into Thunder Basin I checked out the summer trail route and ultimately decided to glissade the central gully which was still holding enough snow. With the melt, that probably won't be feasible much longer.
  • Thunder Creek: a bit of snow and debris through the upper basin, no issue past the Thunder Basin camp ford.
Stream across PCT/Bridge Creek
Paintbrush and Lupine coming out below ~3600'
Memaloose and Goode ridges, from PCT/Bridge Creek
Bowan Mountain and pass; snow doesn't look bad, Bridge Creek ford definitely not passable
Seven Sisters area (l) and Le Conte-Sentinal ridge on the Ptarmigan Traverse in the back
The giant cedar at the bottom of Bridge Creek; can't miss it
Bridge "creek" from the Old Wagon Road
Old Wagon Road
Old Wagon Road
Park Creek and Goode Mountain

Cat scat
Reaching Park Creek basin; shoulder of Storm King (r), Buckner and Booker
Goode Mountain
More cat scat
North face of Buckner, rising 5000' over Park Creek Basin
Park Creek Basin
Falls coming off of Booker Mountain
Marmot tracks
Park Creek Pass, Buckner and Booker
Marmot near Park Creek Pass

Looking south from Park Creek Pass, prominent peaks: Bonanza (r), Martin (c), Devore (l)
Bear tracks going over Park Creek Pass
Looking north to Redoubt, Mox peaks and Spickard, from Park Creek Pass
Thunder Basin
Corresponding bear scat 200 yards over the pass
Looking back up at Park Creek Pass; summer trail contours left above the trees before descending, I glissaded the central gully
Thunder Creek falls
Thunder Creek ford not an issue
No postholing this time!
Chilling in a stream...suffering a bit...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Buckhorn Wilderness loop, Olympic National Forest

Bordering the north-east side of Olympic National Park, the Buckhorn Wilderness can hold its own against ONP.

From the Upper Dungeness trailhead, we took the Dungeness-Marmot Pass trails, summited Buckhorn Mountain (6988'), went down Tubal Cain to the Tull Canyon turn off, took the Tull Canyon-Silver Lake high route to Silver Lake, then up and over Mount Townsend (6280') and back to the FS road.

Thanks to Ben, Dave and Ethan for coming out; a tough and beautiful day.

Old growth along the Dungeness River trail
Ethan adds another Wilderness area to the list
Dungeness River
Basin below point 6599'
The only patch of snow we encountered, near Marmot Pass
Ethan on the first climbing section to Buckhorn
Dave on the Buckhorn trail, with Fricaba, Deception, Clark and Walkinshaw

Ethan nearing Buckhorn's summit
With Ethan and Ben; Dave's photo
Sorry Dave...Buckhorn summit
From the summit of Buckhorn, looking west 
Descending Buckhorn, with Mystery (l) to Walkinshaw (r)
Ben and Ethan, descending meadows to Tubal Cain; Buckhorn summit top left
Mr. Nuun himself
Dave's photo
Ben checking out an adit on the way to Tull Canyon
Upper Tull Canyon
Looking down Tull Canyon, starting the high route portion to Silver Lake
Climbing up to the ridge dividing Tull Canyon and Silver Lake
Finding the descent route down to Silver Lake
Descending to Silver Lake
Silver Lake from halfway down the descent
Lots of talus
Silver Lake
Mount Townsend summit
Beginning the descent off Townsend