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Archive for July, 2008

This is the final practice hike before the Wonderland Trail hike. I decide to go for speed instead of weight: packed with just a light daypack I try speeding up the cable line trail, the diretissima to West #3.

Stats:

Distance: 5mi / 8.1km roundtrip
Elevation gain:  2170ft / 650m
High point: 2522ft / 757m
Hiking time: 45min up, 30min down
Weather: cloudy, 60 at TH

Hikers:
David

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Everett Mountaineers maintain the Pilchuck Lookout and together with Craig from MSClimb, they organized a work party to carry up material and do some emergency repair on the lookout’s cat walk, railing and cable stays.
Sat had a great turnout of hikers (more than 20 people) carrying tools and materials up to the lookout (thank god the National Guard already flew up the lumber, would have been clumsy to carry 2x8s on a pack…). Got to the TH by ~8:30, hiked up with Arthur from the Everett Mountaineers, with ~25lbs of tools. Trail was in much better shape than 3 weeks ago, but still large snowfields above ~4500ft. Arthur and I spent some time creating cairns to guide the following hikers across the snow fields.
I stayed up at the lookout for 6-7 hours to repair the currently closed catwalk around the lookout: first I ripped up a good part of the porch decking and replaced some of the rotten 2×8 joists, placed fresh vertical posts so that the porch won’t bounce anymore and rebuilt the broken railing (it got crushed by the snow load). Fun to balance out on the rock, above some nice verticals, and swing saw and hammer. It was a pleasure to remove the “emergency closure” sign at the end of the day!
On Sat the group was a bit short of crafty people, the other 3-4 “worker bees” redid the steel cables that anchor the lookout to the rock and started replacing some of the broken glass.

Stats:

Distance: 6mi / 9.6km roundtrip
Elevation gain:  2224ft / 667m
High point: 5324ft / 1597m
Hiking time: 1:30 in up, 50min down
Weather: sunny, 70 at TH

Hikers:
David

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It’s getting close to our Wonderland trail; this week we chose a medium length of ~9mi roundtrip with some altitude: Grand Prospect, the northern-most set of the illuminated radio-towers one can see driving west on I-90, right past North Bend.
First stop and aperitif after roughly 50 minutes at Stan’s Overlook. Refreshed, we tackle the remaining ~2/3 up through denser and older forest to the radio towers. We got a quick glance at the sun set over the Olympics shortly before we reach the Grand Prospect.

Stats:

Distance: 9mi / 24.4km roundtrip
Elevation gain:  2080ft / 624m
High point: 3060ft / 918m
Hiking time: 2:50hrs up, 1:45hrs down
Weather: partially cloudy, 60 at TH

Hikers:
Marjan, David

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Perfect camp site overlooking Spider Meadow
A backpacking trip that almost transplanted me back to good ole Switzerland: Spider Meadow has a very alpine look, with an open meadow down in the valley, flowers and marmots galore, surrounded by rugged mountains on either side and waterfalls pouring off the cliffs. Big difference to hiking in the Swiss Alps: here in the National Forest, one can readily camp in the backcountry. I even found a camp site made in heaven, more below.
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This week’s hike to Si I chose to go light & fast: small daypack, 2 qt camelbak water bladder and some granola bars.
From the trailhead up tothe Snoqualmie view point took me 95minutes, including playing photographer for a bunch of UW students at the 3.5mi viewpoint. Subtracting the ~15minutes of breaks along the ascend, this makes for a 80min actual travel time, averaging 3 miles per hour.
Descend was exactly one hour, with mostly jogging and only misstepping once in the dark, but no damage (sheepish grin). Unfortunatly, the jog down had me lose my Swiss army knive 😦

Stats:

Distance: 8mi / 13km roundtrip
Elevation gain:  3400ft / 1020m
High point: 3980ft / 1194m
Hiking time: 1:35 up, 1hr down
Weather: sunny, 70 at TH

Hikers:
David

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We picked Boulder River trail as our first gear-check backpacking trip. Weighed down with 30-35lbs packs, we hiked a mostly comfortable trail follows Boulder River with plenty of ups and downs. Final altitude gain was only 400ft. At the end of the trail, we barely couldn’t find a free camp site among the 6-8 sites available. Right next to the river, we snatched the last site, fitting one tent. A large boulder next to it served as balcony, kitchen and dining room.

The Mountain House freeze-dried dinners are quick to cook but can be on the salty side; certainly the Beef Stroganoff was, the Oriental-style chicken was better.

Nighttime temperatures were moderate in the 50s and dry, so tent and sleeping bags were comfy.



Getting there:
From the Darrington Ranger Station, take State Route 530 west for 8.2 miles to the French Creek Road #2010 (miles post #41). Turn left (south) onto road #2010 and follow for 3.7 miles to the trailhead.

Stats:

Trail/map: MBS NF #734 / Green Trails #77 & #110
Distance: 8mi / 12.8km roundtrip
Elevation gain:  400ft / 120m
High point: 1400ft / 420m
Hiking time: ~2:30hr in, 2:30hr out
Weather: sunny, 75 at TH

Hikers:
Marjan, David

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I was crazy enough to go Mailbox Peak this week, but I also exercised a lesson of mountaineering humbleness when I turned around ~150ft beneath the summit as I ran out of time (I set myself 9pm as turnaround time to not get too deep into the dark on descent). So score is now: Mailbox: 1 – David: 0
I have only one word for this mountain: relentless. I likely pushed too hard with the 35+ lbs on my back and I also got to the trailhead rather late (almost 7pm) due to leaving work late and traffic. But I’ll try again later this summer, the view is indeed gorgeous even from below the summit.

Stats:

Distance: 5mi / 8km roundtrip
Elevation gain:  4000ft / 1200m
High point: 4841ft / 1452m
Hiking time: 2:30hr up, 1:50hr down
Weather: sunny, 75 at TH

Hikers:
David

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