Today I did the Pilot-Sauk loop counterclockwise and added the short side trip up Johnson Mountain (6721'). An easterly breeze kept morning travel cool, yet a little hazy from the east-side fires (Wolverine Creek probably?).
I was finally able to manage the heat well and move strong all day; I think I was due :) . Thanks to the backpacking party of four near Indian Pass for recognizing me! That was a nice surprise and it was good to chat in the shade for a few minutes.
Relevant trail conditions (all in pretty good shape!):
- Pilot Ridge: 5-10 blowdowns with a few requiring some awkward straddling/climbing over. One creek flowing three miles in from the NF Sauk trail head, then dry until Blue Lake.
- Pacific Crest Trail: some water flowing north of Indian Pass, on the west side of Indian Head Peak.
- North Fork Sauk: streams flowing after the trail turns off the PCT, before the switchbacks. Completely logged out as well. Amazing old growth...
|Footlog across the NF Sauk to the Pilot Ridge trail|
|Climbing up to Pilot Ridge|
|Mount Pugh and White Chuck Mountain|
|For some reason I think these look like Dr. Seuss-style mustaches..|
|The Monte Cristo group and Sloan Peak, from western Pilot Ridge|
|Pilot Ridge trail through the flowers|
|Pilot Ridge trail toward Johnson Mountain|
|Chipmunk and marmot lookouts|
|North Fork Sloan Creek and the Monte Cristo group|
|Small backpackers on a big ridge; looking back from Johnson Mountain|
|Blue Lake and the high trail over the pass, from midway up Johnson Mountain|
|Glacier Peak and Tenpeak Mountain (far right), from Johnson Mountain summit 6721'|
|Some of the most vibrant paintbrush I've seen|
|Look back west down Pilot Ridge from the pass|
|Both sides of the sign are Wilderness :)|
|Unnamed falls/creek east of Foam Creek (?)|
|Loads of lupine along the PCT|
|Indian Head Peak, from just before White Pass|
|Pretty much shows the whole route along the ridges|
|Back at the car...a darn good day...|