Thunder Creek to Park Creek Pass, North Cascades NP

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drm
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Thunder Creek to Park Creek Pass, North Cascades NP

Post by drm » September 3rd, 2019, 9:45 am

I did a five day trip in North Cascades National Park, up Thunder Creek all the way to Thunder Basin Camp, just below the north side of Park Creek Pass. It was 18 miles in with nearly 3700 feet of net gain (and a 1000 foot drop so 4700 up) through miles of rainforest with no views to a spectacular camp surrounded by towering mountain walls. The long hike in with altitude gain is the price to pay for that alpine payoff at the end. I guess that's why I saw a total of two people after passing casual dayhike distance from the trailhead.

Ths genesis of this trip was a trip years ago up the south side of the pass as a dayhike from camp on the Stehekin Road far below. I got up there and wanted to explore, but it was already going to be an 18 mile day. So I always wanted to camp close by so I could explore. That meant going in from the north - this trip.

It starts with the rainforest
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Thunder Creek - looks more like a river, and this in late August in a dry year
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After the nearly 7 hour drive up there, I got eight mostly flat miles in and I get to my first camp
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Camp was on the bank of Fisher Creek
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All camps in the park have a toilet, though not much privacy, though these tended to be at the end of a long trail
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My first uphill the next morning, to the Junction area, and the forest floor is all moss for miles (to be followed by almost 1000 feet down shortly)
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First tantalizing mountain view
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Can't quite get my head around moldy mushrooms, there were lots of them
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The sunlight was just right for this
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In the Skagit Queen Ck area there was a lot of old mining stuff. Must have taken quite some effort to get these heavy pipes in.
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Finally, in the upper Thunder Creek drainage, that notch is Park Creek Pass
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The ford of Thunder Creek, nothing like down below; the logs in upper right didn't seem like they would hold my weight
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My Thunder Basin camp, a ridge of Buckner Mountain looms above
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Looking more westerly from camp
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The creek near camp and the ridge to the east
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The next morning I did a dayhike up to and over Park Creek Pass, this is looking back, where I came up the day before
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Approaching Park Creek Pass, about 6100', from the north
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The best view looking back north
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Now looking south from the pass
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Looking west from south of the pass, Booker Mtn, note that bootpath, I would explore over there next
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Up there I found this nice little tarn to have lunch at
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On the way back, got this picture of Mt. Logan
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Mt Goode
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More of Buckner Mtn from camp, with the sun low in the sky
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Alas, it was time to head back. This is a calmer section of Thunder Creek
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That night I camped at Junction Camp and got this glacier picture through the trees
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This is the Fisher Creek trail that I strolled up a little ways
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Through another hole in the trees I got this great sunrise photo of Tricouni Peak the next morning
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And the same view with the sun higher in the sky. I counted 14 waterfalls on the creek on the left. Then it was 10 more miles out to my car.
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Chip Down
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Re: Thunder Creek to Park Creek Pass, North Cascades NP

Post by Chip Down » September 3rd, 2019, 7:13 pm

...not much privacy...
Yeah, umm, I'll pass :lol:

I like finding mining remnants. Anything besides pipes?

cfm
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Re: Thunder Creek to Park Creek Pass, North Cascades NP

Post by cfm » September 3rd, 2019, 7:21 pm

Wow that looks great Dean. Thanks for sharing, I want to get up there!

Aimless
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Re: Thunder Creek to Park Creek Pass, North Cascades NP

Post by Aimless » September 3rd, 2019, 7:25 pm

I kept examining those photos to see if the ghost of Fred Beckey might be wafting about on any of those summits, but no luck. :( Looks like a nice place for some of us living hikers to spend time in, though. :)

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drm
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Re: Thunder Creek to Park Creek Pass, North Cascades NP

Post by drm » September 4th, 2019, 6:35 am

Aimless - My thoughts exactly! When I looked at that very long ridge winding up the center of the last photo, who else but Fred Beckey?

Chip - There are so few people up there, it didn't seem much an issue. One day I left my water bottle on trail going to the toilet so people would know it was in use. As to mining, tons:
mining.jpg
Mining stuff

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