Mount Margaret 8/31-9/1/21

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
Post Reply
Posts: 23
Joined: April 18th, 2016, 10:16 pm

Mount Margaret 8/31-9/1/21

Post by erbombla » September 2nd, 2021, 12:49 pm

My partner and I bought camping permits in March. We had permits for Margaret Camp and Shovel Lake. Unfortunately, out trip was cut short on account of horrible weather. The entire area was socked in and we couldn't see anything. We started at Norway Pass with clear skies. In retrospect, the weather was very deceiving at the beginning!

Meta Lake and clear skies
Meta Lake.jpeg
St. Helens in the middle, obscured by ominous clouds
St. Helens.jpeg
Continuing along the Boundary Trail, going west, the weather began to turn. We spotted our first group of mountain goats. It appeared to be a mother and her kid.

First goat sighting
First Goats.jpeg
Fog rolling in
I was impressed with diversity and frequency of wildlife. After spotting the two goats, we encountered a small herd. They were skittish and climbed with impressive speed and skill.
More goats.jpeg
I should note that this stretch of trail is marked and is easy to navigate. The cutoff to Whittier Ridge is marked, but we chose to avoid it for this trip. There was fallen sign with 'Restricted Access.' We read a few reports of the dangers involved with this trail, so heed the warning.

Mt. Teragram
Mt. Teragram.jpeg
After crossing the base of Teragram, we contemplated taking the spur up to Mt. Margaret. The fog was heavy at this point, we decided it would be pointless since visibility was so poor.

Signpost for Margaret Camp
margaret camp.jpeg
Upon arrival at camp, we quickly setup our tent. We picked out the second pad since it was better sheltered at the base of a hill. It was misting and soon after, it began to pour rain. I checked the forecast multiple times prior, yet rain was not predicted. This must have been some type of system blowing in. It was very similar to the weather I had in the Goat Rocks a couple weekends before. Can anyone explain? I imagine it was to be because of the altitude and proximity to St. Helens.

Wonderful view from camp
No view.jpeg
There is a spring about 300 yards east of the tent pad. It is trickling with a few small pools. If you have a pump water filter, I imagine it would be very useful in this situation.

Spring hidden in the grass (bottom of photo)
The following day, the weather had not improved. We were disappointed but it didn't hurt our morale. Since visibility was so poor, we decided to return to our car. We saw a few more goats on the way out. We also heard an Elk bugle. I scanned the area and spotted a small herd of elk below in the valley.
more elk.jpeg
Socked in
Socked in.jpeg
In conclusion, we had a good trip. Although the weather didn't cooperate, we made the most of it. We never been in the area before and were impressed with the scenery and wildlife. There was not a lot of people either (granted, we hiked in the middle of the week). The only backpackers had camping permits, reducing the anxiety of finding a suitable site.

User avatar
Posts: 2333
Joined: August 1st, 2011, 7:51 am
Location: SW Portland

Re: Mount Margaret 8/31-9/1/21

Post by bobcat » September 3rd, 2021, 10:25 am

I was in the area at the time. Yes, cold with a low cloud ceiling on the 31st, but the 1st was a great day though cold in the morning. Did Teragram-Whittier Ridge-Lakes loop as a day hike since I didn't have a permit (may post in a couple of days).

I should add about your weather issues: there are no weather stations in the backcountry and the rain you got was very local. I camped at Green River Horse Camp, only a 12 minute drive from Norway Pass TH, and got cold but no rain.

Posts: 12
Joined: June 11th, 2021, 12:14 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Mount Margaret 8/31-9/1/21

Post by ChrisA » September 12th, 2021, 11:18 am

I like looking at the National Weather Service forecast discussion. This is from the week before: "At this time no models are showing the chance for any significant precipitation, but each morning there could be some patchy aggressive drizzle across the region."
Maybe you got the 'aggressive drizzle'?

Post Reply