Mount Margaret 9/12/2019

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mtncorg
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Location: Fairview

Mount Margaret 9/12/2019

Post by mtncorg » September 17th, 2019, 9:16 am

Is summer over already? Well, maybe I saved the best for last. Returning to the Boundary Trail, the 53 mile trail running from Johnston Ridge Observatory in the Mt St Helens Volcanic National Monument to Council Lake by Mt Adams – built in 1910 to service fire lookouts on the border between the forest reserves of the Cowlitz – to the north – and the Lewis – to the south.
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1937 map showing lookouts along the Boundary Trail
Two weeks ago, I hiked another section in the middle of the trail – Badger Peak, Kirk Rock, Shark Rock. Wonderful views on that section with no one but mountain goats to keeping me company. The problem with that hike was that area was open to trail motorcycles which have successfully deeply rutted the trails – the noise would be another problem, but that seems to be a weekend thing.
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No ruts on this section of the Boundary Trail!
Here near St Helens you are in the Mt Margaret Backcountry of the National Monument and only mountain bikes are allowed. What a pleasure to hike normal trails again! Plus, this area is magnificent!! There were ten people on the trail the whole day and five of them were only going the first two miles. Otherwise, silence except for the bugling of elk and howling of coyotes, truly magic. Add to that miles of huckleberries and extensive views over a slowly recovering landscape and you have a +10 hike.
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Huckleberries along the way
Remember that you might not be the only one sharing a love for the huckleberry 😊
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Berries in bear scat along the trail
Two miles brings you to Norway Pass. The first time I hiked around here, this was the trail end – somewhere in the late 1980’s.
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Spirit Lake and Mt St Helens in 1987
The devastation was much more real then, but still obvious after almost forty years. The mountainous area north of St Helens was a protected area before it received the full fury of the blast of May 1980. Life is returning.
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Spirit Lake and Mt St Helens today
The trees are a bit slower, so you can actually see the wildlife – maybe taking a DLSR with a zoom might be better than the digital zoom on my iPhone :roll: .
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Elk herd below the Boundary Trail with iPhone digital
Hike higher and farther on the Boundary and you come to a junction with the Lakes Trail which takes you to a series of lakes north of the ridge you are on.
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Bench and Obscurity (Twin) lakes and Mt Rainier
Farther on, the Boundary stays high and the views are incredible – five volcanoes are in view from Rainier to Jefferson. Five miles brings you to a trail junction with the Whittier Ridge trail.
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Whittier Ridge from near the south terminus of the Whittier Ridge Trail
This trail links up with the Lakes trail making a loop possible, but Whittier Ridge has been described as a class 2-3 scramble with lots of exposure – not a nice “trail” if you have a full pack on. From the south end, it looked like an adventurous proposition with a daypack.
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Mt Teragram from the Boundary Trail just before Margaret
Another mile brings you past the massive Mt Teragram to gain the highpoint of the Backcountry – Mt Margaret. Magic prevails on a warm late summer day in September. Sit back and listen to the elk bugle.
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South over Spirit Lake and into the crater of St Helens from Margaret
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WEst to Coldwater Peak, the Dome and Lake St Helens from Margaret
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Mt Teragram, Whittier Ridge and Mt Rainier from Margaret
Distance 11-12 miles Gain 2000 feet.
Approach drive - up the Lewis River Road - FH 90 to FH 25 - up over the slumping FH 25 and Elk Pass to FH 99 - FH 99 to Norway Pass Road and the short spur to the large TH. Drove back FH 25 to FH 90 - east to Curly Creek and then Wind River Road to Carson. Less traffic in late afternoon and almost the same distance.
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View from McClellan View point on the Curly Creek Road
Quick question: Pictures in 'preview' are rotated 90 degrees, but are true when you click on them. I am doing something wrong?

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Bosterson
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Re: Mount Margaret 9/12/2019

Post by Bosterson » September 17th, 2019, 10:33 am

Great 1987 pic of Norway Pass - amazing to see how destroyed it still was then versus how pretty and alive now. September is the best time to hit the Mt Margaret areas due to the berries! I did the Whittier megaloop (Coldwater Lake > Whittier > Margaret > S Coldwater) about 4 weeks ago and we ate thimbleberries, huckleberries, blueberries, strawberries... :D
Will hike off trail for fun.

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mtncorg
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Re: Mount Margaret 9/12/2019

Post by mtncorg » September 17th, 2019, 11:09 am

Here is the road into Norway Pass above Meta Lake from 1987
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1987 with the road into Norway Pass
versus from the Boundary Trail looking over the same ground today.
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Looking over Norway Pass Road and Meta Lake 2019

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sgyoung
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Re: Mount Margaret 9/12/2019

Post by sgyoung » September 18th, 2019, 8:47 am

Those older photos are great. Few things catch my interest like old Mt St Helens photos. Anything pre-eruption is fascinating but so too are pictures that make the immediate aftermath. Seeing life return to the north side of the mountain is really cool.

Nice report too! My wife and I most of the way to Mt Margaret a few years back but had started our hike too late and had to stop short of the summit (or risk a night hike back to the car, which we were ill prepared for).

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mtncorg
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Location: Fairview

Re: Mount Margaret 9/12/2019

Post by mtncorg » September 18th, 2019, 9:32 am

It is amazing to see the changes since the late 1980's! The Margaret area of the Boundary Trail is a special region.

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