Jackita Ridge Trail, Devil’s Dome and the Three Fools Trail

One of the most fabulous backpacking loops I have ever done was in the Pasayten Wilderness.

We began at Canyon Creek trailhead, along Highway 20, hiked up the Jackita Ridge Trail, visited Devils Dome, then connected with the Pacific Crest Trail at Holman Pass and headed north. At Castle Pass we took the Three Fools Trail west, to Ross Lake, where we got the water taxi to Ross Dam and hitchhiked back home.

Here are a few pics from the trip.

Sunset atop Devils Dome, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades

Sunset atop Devils Dome, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades

This first one is a sunset from atop Devils Dome. We spent the night there, (08/08/08) and were observers of a spectacle of lightning storms that swept through that night, starting innumerable fires throughout the park. Like three fools we stayed there, atop the Devils Dome, mouths agape, as the night sky erupted and just watched.

 

Jack Mountain from Devils Dome, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades

Jack Mountain from Devils Dome, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades

This is Jack Mountain, from Devils Dome.  Hiking in the Pasayten Wilderness is wonderful, lots of views and flowers.

Cascade Crest from Jackita Ridge Trail, Pasayten Wilderness

Cascade Crest from Jackita Ridge Trail, Pasayten Wilderness

This was taken from the Jackita Ridge Trail, looking west – southwest. That long green meadow inviting you is Devils Garden.

Here is another view from the trail.

Jack Mountain, Pasayten Wilderness

Jack Mountain, Pasayten Wilderness

After Devils Dome we made our way to Holman Pass where we intersected the PCT and turned north. The image on the right is from a glorious meadow (with a spring) just before Rock Pass. And the Double Rainbows is at Rock Pass looking north. That’s Lakeview Ridge stretching to the distance.

The wildflowers are all over (assuming you’re there at the right time!)

The Three Fools Trail was a struggle. It hadn’t been maintained in more that a decade, there were more than 200 down trees between Elbow Basin and Three Fools Creek…it was brutal!

The sunsets, however, were magnificent. This is from Elbow Basin.

The Three Fools Trail lived up to its hype: Stunning scenery, no one to be seen anywhere and you’d have to be a fool to try!

 

Big Face Mountain from the Three Fools Trail, Pasayten Wilderness

Big Face Mountain from the Three Fools Trail, Pasayten Wilderness

Here is Big Face Mountain from the trail.

 

Ross Lake from the Lightning Creek Trail, North Cascades National Park

Ross Lake from the Lightning Creek Trail, North Cascades National Park

and lastly, Ross Lake, from the Lightning Creek Trail.

That was my first visit to the section of the PCT from Holman Pass, north to the border with Canada. I have revisited several times, access is not bad, at Slate Peak. You can park at a junction with the PCT, at 7,000 ft elevation to start your hike!

The views along Lakeview Ridge are to die for…that will be the subject of the next post!

Oh, the hitchhiking home part: When we debarked the water taxi and hiked up to Highway 20 we were more than a bit surprised to see hordes of cops. Not just regular ones, Border Patrol, guys in kevlar with nasty weapons, the place was swarming with them!

Eventually one of the cops came over to ID us sketchy looking hitchhikers and being polite and all the cop arranged a ride for us home. It turned out that a Park Employee had stumbled upon a huge marijuana farm, right there, near Ross Lake! So they came up with the swat team and got boats and went to raid the pot farm, but by the time they got there, the farmers had fled to parts unknown…

Happy 50th Birthday, North Cascades National Park

Fifty years ago, on October 2, 1967, the North Cascades National Park was created.

Happy Birthday!

Diablo Overlook Panorama

From the first time I laid eyes on a map of the North Cascades I was captivated. The names of the peaks drew me in; Mt. Terror, Desolation Peak, Mount Fury. And then I saw a few pictures. The North Cascades looked like I thought mountains should look: deep dark forests, lush with life; sharp serrated peaks, ridge, after ridge, stretching to the horizon, donned with glaciers, spouting myriad waterfalls glistening in the sun….

My first visit was a mostly cloudy one. I hiked over Park Creek Pass from Stehekin. There were a few glimmers through the clouds of the majesty beyond.

 

 

It would be many years before I returned and tried again.

And I was able to confirm that indeed the North Cascades were everything I had dreamed of.

Lush forests and waterfalls

Sharp serrated peaks

Meadows and wildflowers…

and endless vistas

The North Cascades have not lost the feeling of wildness. For that I am grateful!

Happy Birthday, and Thank you, North Cascades National Park!

 

 

Silesia Camp and Copper Ridge, North Cascades National Park

The North Cascades National Park turns 50 this year! Learn more about its history here.

This is the 4th post in a series highlighting spectacular places in the North Cascades National Park. You can access earlier posts here.

Silesia Camp is located along Copper Ridge in the northern section of the North Cascades National Park.

You can hike there in one day, access is from the Hannegan Pass trail head. You must have a permit to camp there. Details here.

There are few camp sites with a better view then Silesia Camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diablo Lake Overlook, North Cascades National Park

The Diablo Lake Overlook is located on Highway 20 (North Cascades Highway) at mile marker 132 and is a part of the Cascade Loop .

From the intersection of Highway 20 and Interstate 5, its about 90 minutes drive to get there. The overlook is just east of Colonial Creek Campground. Open to traffic year round, its a wonderful place for sunsets.

Diablo Overlook Panorama

Night sky imaging is also wonderful at the overlook, the lake below and Colonial Peak above make for some stunning shots.

Diablo Overlook

Night 4

Cascade Loop

Stars at the Diablo Overlook, North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

The North Cascades National Park is situated in the northwestern corner of Washington State, along the Canada border. It’s a wonderfully rugged piece of wilderness, half a million acres of meadows, jagged peaks, glaciers, forests and wonder.

The North Cascades National Park does not get a lot of visitors, by National Park standards. That’s due in part, to the fact that the park is not on the way somewhere, unless you’re circumnavigating the US border! It’s a 3 hour drive, north from Seattle. In short, it’s an out of the way place. If you got there, its because you meant to!

Which is all fine with me. Less people means more solitude.

The park is bisected by the North Cascades Highway into two units. The North Unit is more remote than its southern sister. There are fewer trails.

The legendary Picket Range is here. Peaks like Mount Terror, Mount Despair and Mt Challenger tower over the deep, wet valleys filled with nasty things like Devils Club.

Trail access from the west side is via Hannegan Pass. Heading east from the town of Glacier on SR 542 (Mt Baker Hwy) for 13 miles there is a well marked turn off for the Hannegan Pass trailhead.

All sorts of important info about permits to camp overnight in the park, can be found here

Its about 4 miles to the pass, and from there you can do a short easy scramble to the top of Hannegan Peak, or a more involved climb of Ruth Mountain.

Just down the east side from the pass you enter the National Park. There is a campsite, Boundary Camp, and a trail junction. You can ascend Copper Ridge to Silesia Camp and Egg Lake, or follow the main trail down the Chilliwack River (there is a spot where you pull yourself over a chasm in a cable car) to a junction where you meet a turn off for the trail to Whatcom Pass.

This is one of the more remote parts of the park. The views of Mt Challenger and its namesake glacier are mind blowing. I have visited twice, the first visit was magnificent, and the most recent a total white out of gray.

From Whatcom Pass you can retrace your steps back to the car, or you can continue your trip east, and hike down along Little Beaver Creek to the shores of Ross Lake and take a water taxi to Ross Lake Resort,  or hike out via Beaver Pass.

A longer and more spectacular trip is to take the turn off for Copper Ridge. This is one of the few ridge hikes in the park, affording breathtaking views of Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker and host of other peaks. There are several camp site along Copper Ridge, Silesia Camp has the best views anywhere, and Copper Lake is a wonderful place to camp along the route.

The trail loops down the Chilliwack River, which you ford just south of the Canada border.

In early August expect to be wading through a river filled with salmon. It is quite a sight. From there its an easy hike to the junction with the Whatcom Pass Trail, and so you can make a loop out of the trek.

 

The Southern Unit has many more access points along Highway 20, Ross Lake to the east and Lake Chelan to the south. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through on its way to Canada.

In the next two posts we will visit some of the most spectacular areas in the lower section of the park.

Here is an image of Mount Logan from the North Fork Bridge Creek.

Mount Logan, North Cascades National Park

Five National Parks: Images from 2018

As I started to review images from this year, the theme of “National Parks” kept coming to me. So here are some of my best images from 5 National Parks this year…

Zion National Park

I visited Zion NP for the 4th time, always a marvel…

Here is an image from a new place, for me: Double Alcove Arch!

And for those who have not heard of the Subway…

“The Subway”, Zion National Park

The Subway, Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

They say the night skies at Bryce are magical…they say right! This is from a short 2 day trip to Bryce in April…

Milky Way, Bryce Canyon National Park

 

North Cascades National Park

I have visited this park more than all others combined. I made the boat ride this year to Hozomeen, along the shores of Ross Lake near the Canada Border, and spent a night at Hozomeen Lake…

Hozomeen Lake, North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park turns 50 in 2018! Here is a link to a wonderful new book, by Lauren Danner, “Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park” which chronicles the efforts of many to create NCNP.

And a shout out to my all time favorite camping place, Sahale Glacier Camp.

Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

 

Olympic National Park

My only trip this year, out west to the Olympic NP was back in February… as always dreaming of my return…

Sea Stacks at Point of the Arches, Olympic National park

 

Yellowstone National Park

I just returned from a Christmas trip to Yellowstone…Cold, crisp mornings, with no one about…I am still digesting the wonder of the place…

Oh, and here is my favorite image from 2017:

Winchester Lookout and the Aurora Borealis, North Cascades

Star Trails above Winchester Lookout, Northern Lights on the horizon

To purchase prints, here is the link.

For information on North Cascades Photo Tours, this is the place!

And, 2018 Calendars are still available! Get them while they last!.

Cascade Pass, Horseshoe Basin and Park Creek

Park Creek flows south from the slopes of Buckner Mountain, bound for the Stehekin River and Lake Chelan…

Buckner Mountain and Park Creek

The trail starts at the junction with the Stehekin River trail, once a road served daily by bus, the upper reaches fallen back to their native state.

After gaining almost 4,000 feet the trail tops out at Park Creek Pass. This is one of the most scenic and seldom visited passes in the North Cascades National Park.

I have visited twice and am hungry to return. The trip has been on my “must do” list for a while, but weather, fires of some other element distracted me. Now I was prepared to go…

Crossing Park Creek

The 40-something switch back to make Cascade Pass get you warmed up. We arrived before 9am, an early start. Heading down through Pelton Basin, the trail made a hard left and plunged down into a new climate. The headwaters of the Stehekin River bring dry eastern air far up this western valley.

Doubtful Creek bisects the trail, a welcome distraction…

Stehekin Valley and Doubtful Creek

A spur trail leads up to Horseshoe Basin…

The next day I am camped at Buckner Camp, along Park Creek. Here are the images from a magnificent trip!