RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

PCT Hike - Snoqualmie to Mineral Creek

Quote of the week: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. ” – St. Augustine

This trip, started out with high ambitions. GrizzLee and Yukon Johann intended to hike 80 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 7 days (Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass). The trail is typically 70 miles and is said to contain some of the best scenery of the entire PCT system; however, a trail closure due to a fire last year, had the trail re-routed adding an additional 15 miles. We had a plan to work around this. Unfortunately, due to injury, heat, persistent bugs and poor trail conditions, our trip was cut short after hiking nearly 25 miles of it.

Leaving Snoqualmie pass (see I-90 below) as we enter the Kendall Catwalk. Or what Grizzlee refers to as the entrance to the "Garden of the Gods".
The Govt blasted away sections of cliff to create an incredible hiking experience that contains precarious drops to the valley below.

Undaunted, even Kamiah pressed on into the great beyond.

This shot contains Snoqualmie Peak (back) and Red Mt (right). Both peaks have been climbed by GrizzLee and Yukon Johann before. We summited Red Mt once in the winter!
It was hot! Johann and Kamiah posing in 90 degree heat at 5,000 feet in the mountains.
A glimpse of Ridge Lake.
First night was spent at Gravel lake (7.5 miles from the trail head). It was hot, muggy and full of BUGS!

Yukon Johann attempted a make-shift turban in hopes of keeping the bugs off his scalp. It didn't work, but made for some fun conversation.
View of the lake from our tent.
That evening we climbed up above the lake to view the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River and enjoy the sunset. we were hoping to catch a breeze and escape the bugs and the heat. No such luck.
The sunset, however, was spectacular.

The next day we headed out towards Park Lakes. Supposedly 8.5 miles away. We think it was more like 10 miles.
This is an early view of Alaska Lake. It is located just below the pass and looks to be seldom visited due to its steep terrain.
The hiking trail on this day looked like this. A rocky trail blasted out of the ledge of a cliff. It was HOT hiking all day with temperatures in the 90's.
Interesting flowers along the way make it somewhat bearable, like this interesting specimen we can't identify.

At one point we were able to peer over a knife edge into a cirque lake.
Looking west, we go these nice views across to where Mt Rainier was teasing us with cool summit views while we suffered in the heat.

Eye candy galore as we look down on Joe Lake. This was a spectacular vista.
We looked across to the hard trail that lay before us.
Johann is very upset as he discovers that he doesn't have any lunch food in his pack. What happened to it?
Lunch view. As we lingered for a long while. Soaking up the views and enjoying a rare .. somewhat cool breeze.
The flowery meadows just above Joe Lake were like out of a fairy tale setting.
Complete with butterflies and bumble bees.
Before we set out, we asked about camps between Gravel and Park Lakes, the rangers told us that there were none. LIARS!!!! This shot was taken from Huckleberry Pass. An awesome place that we can only surmise is kept secret to keep the meadows from being trampled.
The views were spectacular form Huckleberry Pass.
Looking north we could see Glacier Pk.
This beautiful rock garden with Iceberg Lake(?) perched just below Chimney Rock (?).
Once on Chikamin ridge we looked back for some awesome views towards Huckleberry Pass,
the giant massifs and Joe Lake.

Did we mention it was HOT! @#%!! it was hot and no fresh, cool water anywhere along the ridge for miles.
Joe Lake in the distance. Wish we could've stayed for a swim.
Finally, Park Lakes. Johann took a nasty fall on the rocks and was limping.
We were quite exhausted from the heat and rocky trail of Chikamin ridge.
The lake looked very inviting, but we were going to have to earn it first. It was still a long way down.
Johann and Kamih, heading down. See Mt Stuart in the distance.
The Three Queens peaks were just to our right.
Arrving at Park Lakes. We wanted to rest, but we had to meet Lori at the bottom of Mineral Creek.
It is too bad that we couldn't stay the night. Park lake was inviting in every way... except for the BUGS!!
They were horiffic.
Being located in "hummocky (sp?)" type swamp area made things perfect for the bugs.
But the scenery was pretty nice.

The rest of the trip down the Mineral creek trail was pretty aweful. It was a mile longer than advertised by the forrest service. The steep trail, which was severely over grown, was in dire need of maintainance as we had to cross many fallen trees and hiked through devils club, nettles and at times found ourselves nearly bushwacking. We couldn't see our feet at times, which made for dangerouse and slippery conditions! It was humid, very rocky, and the cause of our blisters. Johann had it tough as his knee was really getting to him by now. Lee fell in during one of the river crossings. The cool water felt great. He was shakend, but unharmed.
We arrived at the trailhead where Lori was waiting for us with fresh food and supplies to continue on. However, it was now very late late and given the state of our injuries, even Kamiah was limping, and the HEAT, we decided to call it quits. We vow to come back and pick up where we left off though. It was a very fun trip, despite the problems. The scenery was fantastatic. So much so, that we will be back up that way again.
Until next time.....

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