Saturday, October 26, 2013

Opal Cone, Garibaldi Park - w/Darren

More taking advantage of the fabulous weather.

Headed up to Garibaldi Park with newly-minted-dad Darren and we were out on the trail just after 7am. Headlamps only required for the first 30 minutes or so and then they were relegated to training weight.
First light hitting the Tantalus Range.
Paul Ridge in the foreground; background L-to-R: Garibaldi, Luxor-Tut, Pyramid, Mirage, Darling.
Cresting Paul Ridge.
Elfin Lakes; Opal Cone is the flat-top dome with snow on top behind the second, smaller lake.
Dropping down to Ring Creek.
Looking south down Ring Creek.
Trail up the east side of Opal Cone.
Darren gaining the crater rim of Opal. 
Opal Cone crater; the last eruption was 9,300 years ago. 
Darren on the north side of the rim.

We took the wrong way down off the cone, trundling volcanic choss as we scrambled. Added a little spice to the otherwise highway-esque trails.

Another good day in the mountains...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cascade Recreation Area loop

I wanted to take advantage of the great weather that's hanging around after that early fall storm and spend another full day in the mountains. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anyone to join in the "fun" (on either side of the border) so solo it was! Though, admittedly, if I'd known I was going to have the route-finding issue I had, it probably would have been better to be with someone.

I really enjoyed the trails in the Manning Park area when I was there in July and decided to head back, but this time going for a longer outing at lower elevations. The Cascade Recreation Area seemed like a good option for a long loop.

Starting from the Cascade Rec. parking lot on Crowsnest, I took the Whatcom Trail over Punch Bowl Pass and down to Paradise Meadows, then the Dewdney trail to Hope Pass, Hope Pass Trail back to Crowsnest and then the highway to where I parked.

First view of Snass SW2 from the Whatcom Trail headed toward Punch Bowl Pass.
Snow started around 5,100' going up to the pass, but was patchy and disappeared as the trail gets out of the trees and onto the open alpine area just below the pass.

Looking back south from just below the pass. Silvertip back right, Marmot in front, Rahm, Custer and Redoubt back center (I think).
Looking north to Punch Bowl Lake and the Cascade Rec. Area from the pass. Snow was crunchy and icy and continued down past the lake for a bit. One track of footprints from a trip I saw on the ClubTread forum. The lake had ice on about half of it. Warburton Peak back left.
Near Paradise Meadows on the Dewdney Trail.
Not that my feet were dry before this, but still a dumb choice :)
Tulameen River crossing.
Holding Creek crossing; ice cold and it'll soak you all the way up to your manpris! 
More nice meadows.
Snow on Dewdney heading east toward the FS road. 
Slogging along the FS road going to the Hope Pass area.
Looking southwest from the area around Kettle Mountain. 
Along most of the "ridge" of the FS road there is 6-12" of snow. The road is mostly compact snow-ice from trucks, but since it didn't appear that any hikers had been up here I couldn't find the shortcut turn off from Skaist down to the Hope Pass-Nicomen Lake trail junction. Instead I continued down the road to the Hope Pass Trail intersection, then had a snowy climb back up to Hope Pass. I didn't see any human/horse prints, so I guess no one has been up there for the last couple of weeks.
My lonely footprints from the FS road to Hope Pass-Nicomen junction. Trail was easy to follow, though.
Hope Pass-Nicomen Lake trails junction.
By this point I'd probably spent 6-8 miles in the snow and was looking forward to getting back on dirt.
Descending the Hope Pass Trail. 
Quite a bit of mud in the snow-to-dirt transition areas.
Even though almost all of the trails I was on are stock trails, they really feel like backcountry singletrack (at least this time of year). In the 38 miles of trail (excluding Crowsnest) I covered yesterday I saw ONE PERSON: a guy with two horses at the Tulameen Ranger cabin, and that was it. Given the weather, that surprised me.

All the trails were in good shape too. Some blowdown on Whatcom and quite a few moderately-brushy areas on the middle portion of the Hope Pass Trail, but otherwise everything was really nice.

I had originally planned on taking the Skagit Bluffs Trail back to the parking area, but since the snow had slowed me down and I had to take the long way around Hope Pass I was much later than expected and chose Crowsnest as a quicker alternative. It's not the safer option, probably, but it was getting late.

Overall a good day.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Columbia River Gorge loop

A nice 50k+ outing with Paul Turner off of the gorge in northern Oregon. Cool drizzle to start the day, some wind and mixed rain and snow up on top of Chinidere Mountain above Wahtum Lake and then a moderate afternoon cruising back down the Pacific Crest Trail and over the Gorge Connector trail.
Starting up Eagle Creek.
Running behind Tunnel Falls.
Upper Eagle Creek trail near Wahtum Lake.
In the rain/snow on top of Chinidere Mountain, 4,700'.
PCT heading north from Wahtum Lake/Chinidere Mtn. toward Cascade Locks.
My GPS cut out a lot coming up through the canyon; trail maps and guides have the loop at ~32.5 miles.

Thanks Paul! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A good reminder

After getting up to the First Pump on Mt. Seymour, I realized I only had two gels to go the last thirteen miles back to Lynn Headwaters. Ouch. For some reason I just didn't think about how much food to take with me; 700 calories was not enough...

It was a pretty brutal return trip down Seymour (via Perimeter then Old Buck) and then back to Lynn Headwaters (Bridle, Good Samaritan, BP, Lillooet road, Lynn Connector).

And now, looking outside at a beautiful, clear-blue sky, I should have been fair-weather-minded and gone out today!

Seymour First Pump summit yesterday at11am.
GPS cut out a lot in the first half, but the second half was good and came in at 13 miles, so should have been 26-ish total.