Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

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VanMarmot
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Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

Post by VanMarmot » October 26th, 2011, 5:17 am

Yesterday, Peder and I organized a car swap. Our goal: hike the PCT from one end of the Indian Heaven wilderness to the other. Peder hadn’t hiked in Indian Heaven before and he couldn’t have picked a better day for his introduction. It was (of course) a bluebird day – clear, sunny, light wind but very crisp – winter is coming to the high country. We met at the Crest Horse Camp TH off FR 60 at the southern end of the wilderness. Peder started hiking N from there, while I drove his car to where the PCT crosses FR 24 at the N end of the wilderness and started S from there. There was frost on everything at the TH (4200’).

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The PCT goes down the W side of the divide, largely through a long cathedral of trees – very soothing, easy hiking.

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I didn’t do it this time, but taking Tr 107 (which parallels the PCT) would have taken me up past Sawtooth Mtn and provided some views. I did manage to catch a glimpse of Adams, with its first snow of the winter.

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It was cold enough for water puddles on the trail to have frozen into mush and for skims of ice to have formed at the edges of some of the smaller lakes,

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but the bigger lakes, like Junction, were still ice-free and amazing in the bright sunlight. Peder and I passed each other just N of Junction.

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I was planning on lunch here but, just as I got out my sandwich, a bunch of noisy people with unleashed dogs came up the trail and settled around me. The dogs, who weren’t paying much attention to their owners, WERE paying a great deal of attention to my sandwich – so I moved on and ate it while hiking. Fortunately, I soon came to Blue Lake, the last of the larger lakes along the PCT in the wilderness and one of the most beautiful.

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South of Blue, I crossed the spine of Berry Mtn, with its views of St. Helens (the black specks are crows),

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and Hood.

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After that, it was pretty much a straight shot S through meadows,

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past Green Lake,

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past the Sheep Lakes with their skim of ice,

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to the end of trail at Crest Horse Camp.

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All told, an easy, gentle, beautiful 16.8 mi with 1800’ gain on excellent trail. A great way to tie together the several hikes I’ve done in Indian Heaven this year. I hope Peder had a good time too. These maps are 100K versions that show the divergence in places between the older alignment of the PCT (some of which was the even older CCT) and its current alignment (my track in yellow).

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Peder
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Re: Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

Post by Peder » October 26th, 2011, 7:52 am

Bruce - Thank you for a great day! Next time we should probably switch cars in Carson (or something like that) so that you have to spend less time driving. It only took me only 20 minutes more to get home from Road 24, when compared with my morning drive to the Crest Camp TH on Road 60. So you spending a whole hour driving between the two trail heads was not the best solution - thank you very much for doing it.

Also your advice for going over Sawtooth Mountain was excellent - it gave superb views and I had a lot of fun identifying the peaks north of Mt St Helens: Johnston Observatory, Harry's Ridge, Coldwater Peak, the Dome, Mt Margaret, Mt Whittier, Bear Pass, ...
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The peaks mentioned above
Your pictures are much better than mine, furthermore I only just downloaded mine from the camera, as I got busy with work last night. I had expected more open spaces in Indian Heaven, but when I look at the descriptions of Sullivan's three Indian Heaven hikes, he twice uses the expression "woodsy" about the PCT! There are many more meadows, lakes and peaks to explore in that area. This was a great introduction to Indian Heaven and after this visit I have no clue where the name "Mosquito Heaven" comes from! :o
Last edited by Peder on October 26th, 2011, 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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roadtripmom
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Re: Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

Post by roadtripmom » October 26th, 2011, 9:19 am

It is such an incredible place. You photos are beautiful and what a day !
Filling my bucket, one hike at a time.
Amanda

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romann
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Re: Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

Post by romann » October 26th, 2011, 9:21 am

Gorgeous pictures Van.

My dad and I hiked around Bird Mtn yesterday & visited Point 5568 on Bird Mtn (very brushy, but great views), as well as lakes in Bear Lake and Cultus Lake group. We missed both of you guys but met with the group with 3 dogs. Seeing German Shepherd running at us at full stride and no owners in sight was not something I really like. The dogs were peaceful though.

It was a great day to be there. I still have so far experienced Indian Heaven as mosquito-free and sunny place.
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VanMarmot
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Re: Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

Post by VanMarmot » October 26th, 2011, 9:31 am

Peder wrote:Bruce - Thank you for a great day! Next time we should probably switch cars in Carson (or something like that) so that you have to spend less time driving. It only took my 20 minutes more to get home from Road 24, when compared with my morning drive to the Crest Camp TH on Road 60. So you spending a whole hour driving between the two trail heads was not the best solution - thank you very much for doing it.
It took an hour because I was driving your car and didn't want to have to explain to you why/how I wrapped it around a tree or one of the 5 elk that crossed FR 30! I also too FR 60 out when it would have been quicker to just backtrack on FR 65. But no worries - it was a great hike that we wouldn't have gotten to do without a shuttle. Thanks!

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VanMarmot
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Re: Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

Post by VanMarmot » October 26th, 2011, 9:36 am

romann wrote:Gorgeous pictures Van.

My dad and I hiked around Bird Mtn yesterday & visited Point 5568 on Bird Mtn (very brushy, but great views), as well as lakes in Bear Lake and Cultus Lake group. We missed both of you guys but met with the group with 3 dogs. Seeing German Shepherd running at us at full stride and no owners in sight was not something I really like. The dogs were peaceful though.

It was a great day to be there. I still have so far experienced Indian Heaven as mosquito-free and sunny place.
DSC_6423_408.JPG
Thanks! I did a traverse of the whole Bird Mtn complex this summer, including Pt 5568 - each point along the complex gives you different great views. The bugs weren't very bad this year - maybe because much of the wilderness still had snow on it into August!!

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

Post by Eric Peterson » October 26th, 2011, 10:22 am

Awesome trip guys!

I'd also be interested in doing a car shuttle thing sometime maybe this fall, so both you guys can keep me in the loop maybe as a 3rd alternative :)

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Peder
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Re: Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

Post by Peder » October 26th, 2011, 12:10 pm

Eric Peterson wrote:Awesome trip guys!

I'd also be interested in doing a car shuttle thing sometime maybe this fall, so both you guys can keep me in the loop maybe as a 3rd alternative :)
Eric - Do you hike weekdays? If yes, you could just join me. We can talk about that this weekend.
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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bobcat
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Re: Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

Post by bobcat » October 26th, 2011, 2:31 pm

Very nice pictures of the Heaven in its fall colors. A reprise could be the CCT as a shuttle and then you would have your fill of meadows. I envy your weekday jaunts. I can only get out on Sundays these days.

John

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Born2BBrad
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Re: Through Indian Heaven on the PCT 25-Oct-2011

Post by Born2BBrad » October 26th, 2011, 3:28 pm

Car swap, what a great idea to be able to do longer thru-hikes without having to shuttle between THs. I’ll have to find some trustworthy PH members for future trips.

Brad

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