Thursday, February 14, 2008

Buck Creek Pass

Ok, I have been promising for months that I would post my summer hike. And now I will. Over the summer I had the opportunity to head to Seattle for a brief visit and vacation. Russell had to work so I was on my own. I had a wonderful time the whole trip, and one of the best was hiking with my dad. I have been on a hike every year since I was born (I was carried on the first few) even if it was just a day hike. I love it. This years was Buck Creek Pass, just outside of the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

The trail winds up a pleasant creek valley. They day we hiked up it was sunny and hot. This is the view from the trail.

DSCN1548, originally uploaded by lone_locust.


And the view across the valley.

DSCN1547, originally uploaded by lone_locust.


We reached the campsites in the late afternoon. The sites sit in the saddle just below the pass. We set up camp...

DSCN1568, originally uploaded by lone_locust.


...And had plenty of time to explore the are, and head over the pass to the next dome over...Flower Dome.

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The whole "peak" was covered in wildflowers. Especially lupins. They were beautiful, the name Flower dome is apt. We watched the clouds roll in over Glacier Peak and headed back to camp.

DSCN1563, originally uploaded by lone_locust.


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Mountains make their own weather, this is a fundamental truth of hiking, and despite the sunny weather forecast, the next morning we were completely fogged in.

DSCN1569, originally uploaded by lone_locust.

We decided to head up to High Pass anyway. It has been a recent curse, that the last few times I have gone out hiking recently I have been stung by a bee or hornet. Last time it was yellow jackets. This time was bumble bees. Walking through the meadows on the trail up to High Pass, I angered another bee and was stung. No photo, but Russell laughed at me, he had predicted it, and I had denied that it would happen.
The trail to High Pass winds up the steep peak face and then follows the ridge line across.


DSCN1570, originally uploaded by lone_locust.



DSCN1571, originally uploaded by lone_locust.

I saw a Ptarmagin. We could hear them calling daily, and then this one was chowing down on blueberry foliage.

DSCN1572, originally uploaded by lone_locust.

We encountered incredible meadows. They disappeared into the fog, they were in full bloom. This is what the meadows in places like Mount Ranier National Park looked like before tourism. They were incredible.

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Our goal was to follow the ridge line around the corner on the pass, to maybe see some high alpine lakes.


DSCN1575, originally uploaded by lone_locust.



DSCN1577, originally uploaded by lone_locust.

We got to a tricky corner and I chickened out so with the fog we started back to camp. But the fog was lifting (as you can see in that photo above, so we decided to make another attempt for the high alpine lakes. We followed the same trails, this time fog free, back across the ridge.


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DSCN1580, originally uploaded by lone_locust.


Once again we got back to the" magic corner, there is lot of loose rock and a 20-30 foot drop beneath I tried to go around the corner but I am just not comfortable without a rope, so we turned back once more. As we decended the clouds began to move back once more. Maybe we wouldn't have seen the lakes. We' ll never know. Thats still an awesome view. On the way down we stopped at a nice rock outcrop. I stayed on the trail while Dad checked out some "Gneiss chocolate cake" so named because it was a lovely chocolate brown with beautiful layers. Perfect for a rock hound.


DSCN1581, originally uploaded by lone_locust.

Another night and we had to head for home. The weather cleared out for our hike out. This is me, Glacier peak is supposed to be behind me.


DSCN1588, originally uploaded by lone_locust.

A little washed out. Here it is.



DSCN1585, originally uploaded by lone_locust.

What a Location. I can't wait for next summer.

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