Boulder Creek (N. Cascades) 10-July-2011

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VanMarmot
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Boulder Creek (N. Cascades) 10-July-2011

Post by VanMarmot » July 12th, 2011, 3:53 pm

I did a little poaching on NWHiker territory this weekend with a 2-night backpack along the PCT out of Lake Wenatchee (WA). This is an area about 6 mi SE of Glacier Peak in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. From the TH, we took the White River trail (1507) SE to its junction with the Boulder Pass trail (1562). There were A LOT of mosquitoes along this section of the hike!!

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From here, the PCT used to continue N around the W side of Glacier Peak. But when it was heavily damaged by winter storms in 2003, it was re-routed E over Boulder Pass. The trail up to Boulder Basin climbs quickly up the canyon wall, occasionally giving you a bird’s eye view of the river ever farther below. Maybe it was all those REI catalogs I poured over in my youth, but the view from a trail high of the side of a deep, forested river valley became my ideal of hiking & climbing in the NW. The trail was generally in good condition, with only a few minor blowdowns.

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The big adventure was crossing Boulder Creek at about the 4000’ level – there’s no bridge to help you cross three braided channels up to 18” deep.

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There were avalanche debris and snow patches across the trail past the creek crossing but the snow didn’t become continuous until around 5000’. We were able to camp on open ground at 4600’,

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with a nice view of moonrise later that evening - with NO mosquitoes to bother us. Boulder Pass itself was still largely covered in steep, firm snow - some of the switchbacks have melted out, but you'd have to cross steep snow to reach them. Not the best year to be a PCT thru-hiker.

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The next day we hiked up out of the valley to a ridge top to get a view of Rainier in the distance,

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and the mass of Glacier Peak right in front of us.

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After sunrise on the third day,

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we hiked out and headed back to Portland. All told, about 20 mi RT, 4000’ gain. Good weather every day, no mosquitoes in camp, and some spectacular views. Only downside is the 9 hr RT drive from Portland :( .
Last edited by VanMarmot on July 12th, 2011, 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Crusak
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Re: Boulder Creek (N. Cascades) 10-July-2011

Post by Crusak » July 12th, 2011, 3:58 pm

VanMarmot wrote:Image
I liked your pictures, but this one is especially nice! Looks like a fabulous area. thanks for sharing your hike.
Jim's Hikes

Solvitur Ambulando

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Grannyhiker
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Re: Boulder Creek (N. Cascades) 10-July-2011

Post by Grannyhiker » July 12th, 2011, 5:54 pm

I've been there in similar snow conditions, but that was in mid-June!

It will be at least 2 months before the PCT through-hikers get that far--most of them are still in central California. Hardly any through-hikers take the detour but have opted to go the "old way" for the past 5-6 years, crossing the Suiattle River over a log that has providentially stayed in place for quite a few years. The Forest Service hopes to get the new bridge over the Suiattle finished by fall, which will officially end the "detour that wasn't." Just in time for the next 100-year flood, no doubt. :)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey

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