RubiKon Adventures

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

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Peggy's Pond, Mt Daniel and the Pacific Crest Trail

Newtons First Law: A body in motion tends to remain in motion unless acted on by an outside force - Man as Machine

A week after from returning from the Yukon, Johann and I went on an exploration trip of sorts. Having hiked around Mt Daniel and seeing its summit from afar, it was time to get up close and personal with the Mountain. After all, it is the highest peak in Washington States King and Kittitas county. It's north flank draped in glaciers. 

Unfortunately, we made a half-hearted attempt to summit and we took the wrong route up. We did however, have a great hike and vow to return to summit this peak before years end.
Cathedral Rock
The trip begins with a rough ride up past Salmon La Sac on a rough road featuring stream crossings and numerous mud puddles. For this we were rewarded with views of Cathedral Rock.
Yukon Johann & Kamiah at Squaw Lake
Over an hour later we found ourselves reflecting in the wonder that is Squaw lake.
Kamiah Enjoying a Dip in the Lake

Our First Wildlife Sighting

Looking Pretty Good in the Late Afternoon Sun

A Snow Covered Lake Near the PCT

As we neared the Pacific Crest trail (PCT), the late mountain spring snow had not yet melted out. In fact, parts of the PCT were still impassable to horses.
Late Night Moon Serenade
We finally made camp at Peggy's Pond, which was still frozen over. As the sun went behind the mountains, it got pretty cold really fast.
During the night, despite having cloudless blue skies all day long, it got foggy. It was near a full moon. During the night, I awoke and saw that it was very light out. In my curiosity, I stepped out of the tent and tried to take photos of the moon through the veil of fog. A bit fuzzy, as I had no tripod. But they look pretty nice nonetheless.
Foggy Conditions
10:00 am View from Camp
The net morning, this was the view outside our tent.
Yukon Johann & Kamiah Prepping for the Ascent
We took off heading for the valley. We should have taken the ridge shown here on the right.
Kamiah : "Hey, how come I don't have sunglasses"

View from the valley floor looking back form where we came

The Summit of Mt Daniel (one of them).

Look closely, you can make out 2 climbers on the snow field

A late forming lake in a cirque

Close up of the turqois colored lake

Yukon Johann & Kamiah Enjoying the views

Despite being in the snow, it was very hot.

Fresh stream water to Refill our water bottles

Johann posing in the hot sun

Cathedral Peak and Peggy;s Pond (still frozen)

Almost back to our camp

See our tent on the bank of the pond?

This is a view of the climbers path to Peggy's Pond

Deep Lake in the valley below us

Near the Pacific Crest Trail (Cathedral Rock in the Background)

A boy and his dog
This exploratory trip was fun. Upon returning home, we read about the proper route to the top (there are actually 3 routes... some easier than others) and also discovered that many folks make this climb in one long arduous day. Despite the heat, the hike wasn't that strenuous and the climb should be easily donw w/o crampons or ropes. An ice axe is really needed to climb any of the routes due to the exposure on the snowy slopes. We will be back,hoepfully before winter to summit.

Until Next Time.... 
Side note.... GrizzLee has since cracked one of his ribs. Making a return trip less likely :-(

Monday, August 6, 2012

Meetup w/The-O-Fam, Unusual Heat & Mountain Twisties

“Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad” - Proverb

Sometimes things happen in life that are simply amazing. While in the Yukon in July, we met several folks doing their dream trip to the north. Two such folks are a father/son on a dream adventure motorcycle trip to Alaska.

In our brief and chance meeting I mentioned that they should stop for a visit on their way through Seattle as they worked their way home. They really had no time to visit as they had reservations in Astoria (Oregon), but did want a tour guide from the time they departed the Alaskan ferry at Bellingham as they worked thier way down the coast. It just so happened that they came on a weekend where I was FREE. So yes, I was more than happy to oblige. After getting to know DonnyO and Sean, I can tell you that they are a fantastic father/son duo, aka as theofam on ADVRider forums.
Read about their fantastic trip here:

Father son (Sean and DonnyO) at Kalaloch Beach.
DonnyO enjoying the sunset in Astoria just before dinner and a brew at the Rogue Brewery
The Astoria-Megler Bridge amazing in sunset.
More sunset....

DonnyO with a smile.
Finally, a full panoramic
We stayed at Camp O-Rilea south of Astoria (A military training camp of sorts) and the next morning we had to have a cinnamon roll.
If you read their ride report, you find that cinnamon rolls are a big part or their adventure trip.
After breakfast and a brake pad fix on DonnyO's bike we partted ways on Oregons Hwy 26. I soon found myself acorss teh the Columbia River at the Bridge of the Gods, heading north form Carson on Windy Ridge Road. The road is one of THE BEST motorcyel roads in Washington state. Lots of twisties, and views of Mt St Helens.
Gretchen enjoying the view.
Yep, this is awesome
Once up at Elk Pass the wild flowers became abundant. It was extremely hot and humid (90+ degrees) and I was gettign pretty exhausted from the heat with all the riding gear on.

I took a short nap and Greatchen enjoyed the flowers.

After a nap, we found this meadow filled with yellow wild flowers.
This picture is now my new desktop.

The twisties went on forever.

In any event, as I dropped down into the valley toward Randle and then on to Packwood, my thermometer read nearly 100 degrees!! This is highly unusual for this area. I was parched and dry when I arrived in Packwood. I hydrated, took off my riding gear and rested under a shade tree for the better part of an hour. I was awakened by grazing elk next to the gas station/mini mart where I was resting. What really woke me was the crowd of people and their excitement. I was too tired to get up and retrieve my camera. In hindsight, I wish I had, the Elk stood in the middle of the road for quite some time and traffic was backing up.

After resting up, a snack and some gatorade, it was back in the saddle and through the passes behind Mt Rainier. I arrived home after nearly 750 miles of riding in 2 days around 9:00 pm. My arse told me it was more like 1000.

A great time.. save for the extreme humid heat.

Until next time...