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 Post subject: 60+ mile backpack recommendations in June (avoiding snow)
 Post Posted: April 30th, 2012, 1:28 pm 
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Joined: April 30th, 2012, 1:18 pm
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Hi,

New here - A couple friends and I are driving out from Boston to Seattle to do some hiking from June 2-June 20. We were thinking of doing 2-3 backpacks in different areas (i.e. Olympic, Cascades, Columbia River Gorge, etc) to avoid mid-trail resupplies. I'm looking for recommendations for 60-100 mile stretches of trail (loops preferred but not required) that will have minimal snow in early June. We can travel pretty much anywhere in Washington or Oregon (or even California), and none of us have done hiking in this area so it's all fair game.

An alternative is doing the whole time on the PCT, but I've heard that the PCT will definitely be snowy in early June. Is this true? We would probably need 2 resupplies - are there any easy ones, or are they all a hitch hike and zero day away (I'm used to the ease of the AT and have heard about the difficulty of PCT resupplies)?

Thanks in advance for suggestions


edit: expanding range to Oregon and Northern California (really anywhere within 1000 miles of Seattle that doesn't have a ton of snow in June!)


Last edited by mebreuer on April 30th, 2012, 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 60+ mile backpack recommendations in June (avoiding snow
 Post Posted: April 30th, 2012, 1:58 pm 
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You will need to stay below 5,000 feet for certain. That excludes anything in the Cascade Range, the Wallowas, and a good portion of the Olympics.

You will probably want something scenic.

The Olympic Coast hike through the reservation lands would be my first choice.

The second choice would be the southern Oregon coast due to its diversity of terrain and slightly reduced structure (buildings) count, compared to the northern Oregon coast.

Even the longer Gorge loops have the problem of deep snow at the upper end in June. For example, you can often get to Wahtum Lake from Eagle Creek with very little snow, but as soon as you head toward herman Creek, the snow gets deep. If May turns out to be a warm month, the snow could melt away, but it's been a cool spring with the exception of 2 days. Right now, the snow line is somewhere around 3,000 in the Gorge and you have roughly 31 days to hope for consistent 80 degree heat. (The first seven days aren't looking too good.)

The only other consideration that comes to mind is a trek along the Deschutes River. I'm not familiar with the trail, but i've seen quite a few posts from people who have hiked multi-day sections.


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 Post subject: Re: 60+ mile backpack recommendations in June (avoiding snow
 Post Posted: April 30th, 2012, 2:55 pm 
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Joined: July 26th, 2008, 8:16 pm
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Location: Tri-Cities, WA
If you're willing to drive to eastern Washington, the Wenaha-Tucannon wilderness is perfect in early June. I once did a 55-mile loop there that ranks among my favorites.

EDIT: I did a trip report here, too.


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 Post subject: Re: 60+ mile backpack recommendations in June (avoiding snow
 Post Posted: April 30th, 2012, 3:35 pm 
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Most of the great stuff out here isn't melted out in June.

This year, the Sierras—especially the southern Sierras—are set for a record fast melt. Go do the North Lake-South Lake loop, or alternatively, the southern half of the JMT—using the Crest bus to shuttle you back to your car. I'm not sure if you're saying a trip to Seattle is a requirement, though—the drive to Bishop, CA is 900 miles.

But go to the Sierras. You'll be happy you did.

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 Post subject: Re: 60+ mile backpack recommendations in June (avoiding snow
 Post Posted: April 30th, 2012, 4:27 pm 
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Thanks for the recommendations! I should have mentioned this, but I'm actually going to do a JMT thru hike in August (finally got permits after 3 years trying) so I'd rather stay out of the Sierras, since I'll be there anyway. The Blue Mountains look great - do you happen to know if there are 60-100 mile stretches of trail there? I'll check a map when I get a chance.

If the Sierras are melting fast, is the same expected of the Cascades?

We're picking someone up in Seattle, and I'm flying back out of Seattle, so the closer to Seattle the better. But we're driving 3500 miles to get there, another day of driving won't be a problem if it means getting to where we need to be.


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 Post subject: Re: 60+ mile backpack recommendations in June (avoiding snow
 Post Posted: April 30th, 2012, 4:55 pm 
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Joined: July 26th, 2008, 8:16 pm
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mebreuer wrote:
Thanks for the recommendations! I should have mentioned this, but I'm actually going to do a JMT thru hike in August (finally got permits after 3 years trying) so I'd rather stay out of the Sierras, since I'll be there anyway. The Blue Mountains look great - do you happen to know if there are 60-100 mile stretches of trail there? I'll check a map when I get a chance.

The loop I mentioned above is probably one of the longer ones you can put together, but you could probably get creative. There are lots of trails. Here's a snap of my Google Earth (most of these are trails on the map, but a few are just someone's GPS track from a bushwhack):

Image

Here are a few shorter trips I've done recently:

http://texasbb.net/files/Tucannon-River-2011/
http://texasbb.net/files/Panjab-Rattlesnake-2011/
http://texasbb.net/files/E-W-Butte-2011/

The Blues are kind of different in that many of the trails start high and descend into the steep, wooded canyons. They're dry and rugged but wooded. Beaucoup springs but no lakes. Hot most of the summer. Probably the best chance for the most varied wildlife sightings in the state--bear, snake, turkey, deer, elk, moose, occasional big-horned sheep; there's even a struggling wolf pack in the Oregon Blues. I love 'em.


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 Post subject: Re: 60+ mile backpack recommendations in June (avoiding snow
 Post Posted: April 30th, 2012, 5:41 pm 
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Thanks for the map - does google earth show all trails, or is that a plug in?

Look like I could figure out a slightly longer route, maybe up to ~75 miles, which would be great for 5-6 days. Another 7 on the Olympic Coast should round out my trip (is the entire stretch of coast hike-able? That was my impression from the park website).


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 Post subject: Re: 60+ mile backpack recommendations in June (avoiding snow
 Post Posted: April 30th, 2012, 7:39 pm 
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Joined: July 26th, 2008, 8:16 pm
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That's just all the tracks I've loaded into my Google Earth; I got them from various places. But you can check any of the several online map sites to see the trails on regular topo maps. Here's one of my favorite zoomable, dragable map tools, centered on a place called Indian Corral atop some of the many high, ridgetop meadows in the Blues. As you can see, several trails converge here. Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe used to bring his people up here every summer, hence the name. The big meadows are wonderful.


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 Post subject: Re: 60+ mile backpack recommendations in June (avoiding snow
 Post Posted: April 30th, 2012, 7:54 pm 
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mebreuer wrote:
Another 7 on the Olympic Coast should round out my trip (is the entire stretch of coast hike-able? That was my impression from the park website).

I think pretty much most of the Olympic coast is hikeable, but you do have to be aware of the tides so you can get around some of the headlands. And I believe some of the river crossings are downright dangerous if not impossible (Quillayute, Hoh, maybe others).


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 Post subject: Re: 60+ mile backpack recommendations in June (avoiding snow
 Post Posted: April 30th, 2012, 9:15 pm 
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Hells Canyon should be mostly if not completely melted out by then. You can do a 74 mile loop there that hits all the best stuff. It will be hot as the dickens down at the bottom of the canyon but beyond that, you should absolutely love it.

The Rogue River Trail is great (or so I hear) if you can arrange a shuttle.

Beyond that...there isn't much that's accessible that time of year that fits what you are looking for.

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Also available: Off the Beaten Trail: Fifty Fantastic Unknown Hikes in NW Oregon and SW Washington


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