Indian Heaven 22-Sept-2010

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VanMarmot
Posts: 1923
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Indian Heaven 22-Sept-2010

Post by VanMarmot » September 23rd, 2010, 6:19 am

Yesterday was the last day of Summer 2010 (such as it was) and I had the chance to spend it exploring a part of the Indian Heaven Wilderness that I hadn’t visited before. It proved to be a crisp day, with alternating periods of sun and high clouds. All the bugs are now gone but there were still more than a few huckleberries around. I got an early start from the Thomas Lake TH on the 111 trail,

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and soon got to Thomas,

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and then over to Heather Lake.

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I came across a WTA/Forest Service crew repairing one of the switchbacks on the 111 east of Brader Lake. They were turning a muddy stretch into a well-drained turn. Thanks! Soon the first meadow appeared,

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and then the trail started to get increasingly waterlogged, particularly the section between Rock Lake and Blue Lake.

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Between the boggy conditions, the photo opportunities, and the huckleberries (so good, so purple, so distracting!), this was a very slow section of trail. I finally realized (call it a self-intervention) that if I kept stopping every 10 seconds to eat berries I wasn’t going to finish this hike or maybe even get back to the car. Must...go...on... About a ½ mile before Blue Lake a “Trail Not Maintained” heads north from the 111 to Junction Lake (this is described in Sullivan).

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This trail, maintained or not, was very easy to follow.

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Heading toward Junction Lake, it parallels the PCT, but at a lower altitude that takes you through several large meadows (the PCT is in the trees).

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There were even more huckleberries along this trail than along the 111, so things slooowed down again. Because it’s probably used less than some of the other trails, more (much more) of the berry crop was still available to be harvested here. Fall colors were starting,

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and there were innumerable photo opportunities of water features and reflections.

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Many berries, and about 1.7 mi later, I reached Junction Lake.

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I’d planned on a long loop trip up and around Bird Mountain. But the enticing combination of photo ops and berries, plus wet trail conditions, pretty much consumed the day. So I headed up the PCT to Bear Lake for lunch,

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After lunch, I took the PCT (a much faster trail) south to Blue Lake,

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and then the 111 back to the TH. Along the way, I found an overlook with a view of Eunice Lake and St. Helens.

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This was an excellent hike to finish the Summer and head into Fall. When the bugs are gone, this is a wonderful place to visit! I’m going to see if I can fit in another visit before the snow flies.

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AlexanderSupertramp
Posts: 1447
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm

Re: Indian Heaven 22-Sept-2010

Post by AlexanderSupertramp » September 23rd, 2010, 7:02 am

Awesome report, that place is pretty special.

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jamesthehiker
Posts: 209
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Indian Heaven 22-Sept-2010

Post by jamesthehiker » September 23rd, 2010, 10:00 am

Indian Heaven is one of my favorite places. Nice report!

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CharlieTenBeers
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Joined: March 16th, 2010, 8:46 am

Re: Indian Heaven 22-Sept-2010

Post by CharlieTenBeers » September 24th, 2010, 8:22 pm

Beautiful pics!

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