Buck Peak via PCT from Lolo Pass

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Buck Peak via PCT from Lolo Pass

Post by Chip Down » June 5th, 2020, 6:24 pm

I almost made it to Buck Peak in May on a hike that was originally planned to end at Lost Lake (starting at Lolo Pass). Decided to finish it some other day, which turned out to be today.

I was making very good time until I hit a steep snowy traverse (see pics). Still, managed to get from Lolo to the Buck trail in a little under 3 hrs, and maybe about 20 mins to finish it off. About twice as long to return, partly because of side trips.

Funny that the snowy challenge was close to the Buck trail, but then Buck was almost bare, just a little at top. Overall, snow was almost perfect. Just a few minor routefinding challenges, but mostly I could see exactly where the trail was. That was a big reason for the hike, the fun of seeing how close I came to following the trail in May. Edit: Just noticed google is pretty far off for the PCT alignment near Devil's Pulpit. That's funny, because it was probably the most confusing part of my May trip, and it was the only part of today's hike where I struggled (in a fun way) to find the trail. Would be fun to carry a GPS on this hike, and overlay the track with google's notion of where the trail is.

View from Buck, and parts of the PCT nearby, exceeded expectations. It's pretty overgrown, but the side facing hood, and the hiking route, is bare, affording a nice view of what counts. Not a lot of places to sit and soak it in, so prepare to wait in line for your selfies on nice summer weekends.

Weather: last 2 or 3 hikes starting at Lolo were much wetter than expected. With a slight chance of showers today, I packed something that would guarantee no precip: an umbrella. It worked; sprinkles started in Gresham on the drive home, with rain starting just after I passed into Portland. Anyway, temp was ideal for hiking, high overcast, almost dead calm. Carried hat/gloves/jacket, but never donned.

Other parties: two, together. But Lolo Pass was packed, lot full and cars lining the road. Doesn't anybody work anymore?

I almost never know how long my hikes are, but today it was 17.2 miles, plus a little side trip to Devil's Pulpit and Salvation Spring.
PCT May vs June
view from Buck. Tricky part of PCT shown.
They say one of the signs of problem-drinking is when you hide your booze in motor oil cans.
Notice the little bit of Hood peeking through. Right after I arrived here, it was swallowed up, not to be seen again.
Oh, when did this happen?
On my previous trip, I discovered this google error.I followed the ridge northbound on yellow route, to high point. I knew I was on trail. Today, with less snow, I was surprised to discover PCT doesn't go to top, but traverses steep slope, to save a hundred feet of elevation gain on ridge crest. I wondered if the google route was an old alignment, but no, PCT in that area hasn't been re-routed in 30+ years, if ever.

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