Hope Pass-Nicomen Lake loop - ClubTread Community

User Tag List

 1Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Port Moody, BC, Canada.
Interest: fiddling, hiking, climbing, dancing, photography, Tai Chi, running
Posts: 2,909
Default Hope Pass-Nicomen Lake loop

While everyone else (Team Cougar et al.) were enjoying the sun filled upper meadows in Manning Park, dsturdy and I decided to do the Hope Pass - Nicomen Lake loop as outlined in both 4th and 5th editions of 103 hikes. It's a round trip of 50 Km and has 3400+ feet elevation gain and loss and we opted for doing it as an overnighter. Not the best of decisions, as you'll see. We also decided to do it in the direction suggested, clockwise from TH --> Grainger Creek --> Hope Pass --> Nicomen Lake --> Grainger Creek --> TH.
We got to the TH parking lot at 10:45 am on Sat am, and at the parking area there is the "necessary room" (Pennsylvania Dutch expression) and this sign of information
which tells all about the origin of the Hope Pass trail and its uses during various periods. Currently, the trail is still used by equestrians-there were horse tracks at all the creek crossings and wet spots- and they still graze cattle in the meadow at marmot city. More about that later. All geared up and emptied of unnecessary wastes (even so I was carrying 45#), we headed across the road to start on the trail at 11 am which is contiguous with the Skagit Bluffs trail at the beginning. The trail rambles up and down along the highway at first, crosses a stream on a great tree bridge with rope "railing" (sorry, no pic)and then the first hour of trail is on an access/service road and looks like and then degenerates nicely into . Here's one view we got heading up
At 1:15 and 8K later, we arrived at the Grainger Creek junction where we headed off clockwise (that's left for you folks with digital watches and we're at the 6:00 part of the dial now) where we basically saw this for another 9-10 K If this looks the same as one of the previous pics, it's because it is the same pic but that's what it looked like for the first 16 or 17 K. Did I mention that we had planned to camp at Marmot city, which is approximately 21 K into the loop. And those first 16-17 K had basically no elevation gain. This is when I knew we were in for a long day. Pluses were there were little if any bugs of consequence, the forest was keeping the sun off us and we enjoyed each others company. It was the first time we had done an overnight together, though. Some strategies we adopted which really did pay off for us over the two days was to take a 5-7 minute break every hour. According to some hiking books I read, your body gets rid of 3/4s of the lactic acid buildup in the first 5-7 minutes and then takes hours to get rid of the rest and resting longer makes it harder to start up again. That really did work for us. Often combined it with a water and snack break. Did I mention, we had done very little if any elevation gain yet. Then the trail starts climbing and it climbs non-stop to Marmot City. We kept thinking, the distances in the book can't be right, it's taking too long. Every time the trail turned a corner we thought we'd be there. I was exhausted by the time I got to MC, dsturdy had some reserves left and it was a little after 8 pm, if I remember correctly (yes daryl?). That means more than 9 hours to do the 21 K with packs on. We had originally figured on 6.5 to 7.5 hours. Marmot city is basically a high elevation cow pasture with a little creek running through it. We set up our tent in the haze of mosquitos (did I mention that MC was mosquito heaven and we were the feast of the day?).


Edited by - rsobel on 07/30/2003 3:17:17 PM
Scrambler is offline  
Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Port Moody, BC, Canada.
Interest: fiddling, hiking, climbing, dancing, photography, Tai Chi, running
Posts: 2,909
Default

We quickly donned wind jackets and I had remembered to pack my mosquito head net which was a real life saver for me. That combined with DEET seemed to keep them at bay long enough to do the basic camp chores. We picked a nice spot in the pasture for the tent and then refilled our water bottles in the stream oops, this is a pic of one of the stream crossings in the first part of the trek. Daryl shows off technique for crossing a log bridge which has a defunct railing. Here's our tent site at MC
It's hard to see but there are dried cow flops dispersed throughout the meadows and a horse camp at the other end of the meadows from where we pitched the tent. And here's the stream bottle filling. We headed over to the horse camp area which had a fire pit with steel cooking structure and most importantly, some logs to sit on. Oh to have a proper seat [). We cooked up some quick dinner and the only sound we could hear was the buzzing of mosquitoes. yup, there was so many of them, the meadow hummed audibly with their sound. Luckily, it was getting dark and they were starting to thin out to mere hum and every time a breeze sprung up, I had a window to take off the head net and really see where we were. We had both been looking forward to laying back and seeing the stars but what with the mosquitos and how tired we were, we packed it in and just went to sleep. Ah, the bliss of sleep. Oh, yeah, first we hung up our food so other animals wouldn't get to it, like bears- you know the drill.
The following morning we were up bright and early and packed up and wanted to do the 9 K to Nicomen lake before bkfst and figured that would only take maybe 2 hours since we had done all the climbing, right? Oh yeah, tips for anyone who repeats this, although why you would after taking it in vicariously through this report escapes me. We headed on up the Hope Pass Trail and within a 100 metres of the meadow encountered a sign that said Hope Pass, 2270 metres. Well I knew we were in MC and I knew we were supposed to take the trail to Nicomen Lake BEFORE we reached Hope Pass so what was the deal? We headed back to the meadows and coming from that direction, easily saw the sign (basically invisible when coming from the meadows) for the Nicomen Lake trail. This is the section of trail that goes through the alpine meadows and they were lovely . Here's a couple of the flowers I haven't seen posted in other folks' pics of the Heather trail meadows and this interesting oneof course we saw all the standard flowers including a lovely stand of the white orchid posted by Nancy S. This section of trail is a bit confusing as it has been braided by horse use and other animals. What the book and maps don't tell you is to keep the two Twin Lakes on your left (which we did) and stay high. If you go past the second lake, you've gone too far. Just before the end of lake #2, the trail heads off up to the right and after it rounds a stand of trees, you'll see a metal triangular sign nailed to a tree that says Trail. Pretty informative, huh? Anyway follow the horse tracks and then you come eventually on to another horse camp called Fido camp. Of course, this isn't mentioned in either of the write-ups in the new and old editions of 103 hikes but if you've had the sense to download the Manning Park versions of the map, it is clearly indicated.

Edited by - rsobel on 07/31/2003 1:55:14 PM
Scrambler is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 02:56 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: , , Canada.
Posts: 2,497
Default

Thanks for the report so far. One time we came down from Nicomen Lake to the TH via Grainger Creek and the portion from the creek junction to the TH was mosquito hell. We practically ran the 8K so you guys lucked out there.

On another trip we headed North from Nicomen to Marmot City (and then jogged over the the Dewdney trail and eventually out to the Cascade Rec area parking lot). Looking forward to your next installment as we did that piece of trail in the reverse to you.

Pathfinder is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Port Moody, BC, Canada.
Interest: fiddling, hiking, climbing, dancing, photography, Tai Chi, running
Posts: 2,909
Default

We had and so our moment of thinking we were on the wrong trail evaporated when we consulted our trip materials and we headed merrily on to Nicomen lake thinking it was only a short time away. BTW, there was some great marmot holes off the trail at Fido Stopping to take pictures, going up and down and up and down we did get to Nicomen Lake a little more than 3 hours after starting out. Did I mention that the entire time we've been out we haven't seen anyone? Does that tell you something? I did enjoy the solitude but I would have also enjoyed some views. There were none. We set up our stoves on one of the tent platforms at Nicomen lake and had a great, reasonably bug free breakfast. And just enjoyed the scenery at the lake for about an hour. At this point, another hiker came in from Hitching post to set up for the day and we chatted with him a bit. While we there enjoying the lake, a loon landed, caught a fish for his/her breakfast and we had a BC moment together. Daryl can post a pic of the loon. Our friend didn't even know it was a loon <img src=icon_smile_shock.gif border=0 align=middle> Oh well, he was from Alberta, what can you expect? From here on back to Grainger Creek the trail is hiker only so we weren't too surprised to see the bike tracks <img src=icon_smile_sad.gif border=0 align=middle> and the trail headed steadily down in most places and looked kinda like this I decided that this trail is a place for hobbits. You really have to like being in the woods. Having said that, by this time I was actually enjoying just being in the woods. My expectations of anything else had long ago disappeared and I actually really enjoyed the section back down to Grainger. We actually did get a couple of views on the connector going back down and came upon a camp at the end of this bridge This is a great camp and some folks have spent a lot of time making it so. From here it was another hour or so back to the Grainger Creek intersection and then we motored out back to the car with a quick clothing change and wash down at the river at the parking area and dinner at Rolly's in Hope. In hindsight, here's what I would do next time. It takes 3 days, not 2 and I would leave the TH in the early-to-late afternoon and hike the 3-4 hours to the camp at the end of the bridge in the last photo. Stay there and enjoy the creek for night one. Then hike up to Nicomen Lake the next morning (another 3-4 hours or more depending on pace), set up camp, relax and then spend the rest of the day going up Nicomen ridge to see the meadows and maybe bag one of the peaks. You could move faster now because all your gear is at the camp site at Nicomen. That way you get the views and the alpine meadows. Come back to camp, enjoy the evening at the lake. Next day, motor ouut the 20K back out to the TH. forget the Hope Pass-Marmot city section. Unless you want to say you traveled a historical trail. And want to follow horse tracks and dung. But we did have a great hike and learned a lot about our bodies in the process. <img src=icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle><img src=icon_smile_wink.gif border=0 align=middle>

HikeOn,

Rich



Edited by - rsobel on 07/30/2003 3:22:05 PM
Scrambler is offline  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 03:35 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 326
Default

Hey Rich, Great report and pics. So many times I read these trip reports and am filled with envy and longing. Yours made for a nice change. <img src=icon_smile_wink.gif border=0 align=middle>

rerun is offline  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 10:47 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: , , Canada.
Posts: 2,497
Default

What you might want to try next time Rich is to do the circuit from Blackwall down to Cayuse. It means having two cars and leaving one at both ends but you can have 2 days of pleasant alpine meadow camping on the Heather Trail and then descend down to Nicomen Lake and out Grangier/Hope Pass Trails. The bonus is it is pretty well downhill all the way!



Edited by - pathfinder on 07/30/2003 11:02:57 PM
Pathfinder is offline  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-31-2003, 09:11 AM
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 153
Default

Pathfinder and others,
What about going the other way, from Cayuse to Blackwall (actually my car will be waiting at the lodge). From what I have read there should be enough water sources and the elevation should not be too bad. By my calculations the total distance should be around 35 to 38 miles and am hoping to run it all in one day.

Am planning to try it tomorrow, August 1st. May carry a portable camera and click a few pictures as I don't own a digital.

PS - Rich really enjoyed your report.

trailrnr is offline  
post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-31-2003, 11:38 AM
Scaling New Heights
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Vancouver, , .
Posts: 79
Default

Great report, Rich. One correction, I think. Re Twin Lakes, you mentioned keeping them on your right. Shouldn't it be "left"?

For all you others, I highly recommend Rich as a hiking companion. Very organized and almost always knows where he is. The break every hour is a wonderful idea.

Here are some of my pics
Rsobel looking fresh, near the start

Trail Junction Skaist River Trail and Grainger Creek.

Rsobel one way to cross the bridge

Leading the way through the cow parsnip

After 21 km, the sign at Marmot City.

Did Rich tell you that there were a few mozzies?

If you see this, you've gone too far, backtrack to this sign, not visible coming from the meadow.

One of the sights that made the second day better, visually, than the first.



Stryder is offline  
post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-31-2003, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Port Moody, BC, Canada.
Interest: fiddling, hiking, climbing, dancing, photography, Tai Chi, running
Posts: 2,909
Default

Thanks Daryl, for adding the great pics, me in them notwithstanding <img src=icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle>.

Seeing the Hope Pass sign reminds me that the books say the high point of elevation is ~ 2000 meters which that sign directly conflicts. Just another way in which the directions were not as good as one usually finds in these guides. Let's hear it for map and compass . For those interested in revising their books, I would put the total elevation gain with all the ups and downs at more like 3800-4000 feet and maybe more.

Re the Blackwall to Cayuse Rt. that is a good idea but I do like the idea of camping by the creek at that bridge, if the mozzies are not too bad. The guy we met at Nicomen was doing exactly that route and was planning on hitching back to Blackwall when he got down. Oh to be young and without time constraints and detailed plans to abide by. And I'd really like to do the Skyline traverse if we can arrange a two party with key exchange setup. And I'd like to do...and....and.........

HikeOn,

Rich

Scrambler is offline  
post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-24-2015, 10:00 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Stoked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: , , .
Posts: 1,297
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrambler View Post
For those interested in revising their books, I would put the total elevation gain with all the ups and downs at more like 3800-4000 feet and maybe more.
I'm tempted to agree with that. Just approaching Grainger Creek camp the altimeter lost 55 meters. It gets you coming and going. Right after the short section from Cayuse Flats joins the wagon road, it drops 30 meters. The Grainger Creek trail is much better aligned but the Hope Pass trail goes up and down with gleeful abandon. Ditto, the Nicomen Lake trail.

No bugs this year. One mozzie buzzed me on the summit of Skaisht Mountain but that was it. Not even a black fly. Maybe they don't like smoke. One or two deer or horse flies but only after I put a nasty gash in my forehead and there was fresh blood. I was really enjoying the descent down Grainger Creek trail (as much as one can after walking almost 40 km and another 10 to go) and must have spaced out and tripped. Next thing I knew I was off my feet and headed downhill for a faceplant. Fortunately I arrested the fall with my forehead on a convenient tree root sticking up before getting my face dirty.

I was going to make camp at Grainger 8 K but got a late start out of S**thole (Vancouver) on Saturday. Couple of late nights previous and I was already all done in before I left the vehicle. Only made it 2 or 3 km up the road, found a nice campsite with water and three logs to sit and cook on. Dog was restless all night, things crawling around in the forest. I only brought a light bag and was too cold, tossing and turning. Tried to cuddle the dog for warmth but he pressed himself into the far corner of the tent. Up at 3:45 for the start of the 50 k (including 2 k sidetrip to climb Skaist Mountain.)

Hope Pass trail: lots of really nice sections, never too steep. But the one kilometer of overgrown thimbleberry down by Skaist River is best done on horse, IMO.

Fourteen hours travel plus ten hours at the bivy. 24 hours car-to-car.

Last edited by Stoked; 08-24-2015 at 10:04 PM.
Stoked is offline  
post #11 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 02:28 AM
Super Moderator
 
KARVITK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Abbotsford, B.C., Canada.
Interest: Hiking, Snowshoeing, and Photography. Enjoying the outdoors fresh air and fitness experience.
Posts: 17,912
Default

That is quite a day, Stoked.

K
KARVITK is offline  
post #12 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2015, 11:57 AM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Langley, BC
Posts: 104
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoked View Post
Next thing I knew I was off my feet and headed downhill for a faceplant. Fortunately I arrested the fall with my forehead on a convenient tree root sticking up before getting my face dirty.
Geez, good thing you were so fortunate...!
Greenarc is offline  
post #13 of (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 11:54 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Bill Kinkaid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Posts: 209
Default

Thanks Rich and Daryl. I've thought about doing it someday as a traverse from the Blackwall and out to Cayuse Flats. Were there actually marmots at Marmot City? A couple of hikers we both know say they've been there a few times and never actually seen any there.
Bill Kinkaid is offline  
post #14 of (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 10:29 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Stoked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: , , .
Posts: 1,297
Default Marmot City

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Kinkaid View Post
Thanks Rich and Daryl. I've thought about doing it someday as a traverse from the Blackwall and out to Cayuse Flats. Were there actually marmots at Marmot City? A couple of hikers we both know say they've been there a few times and never actually seen any there.

I did not see any marmots at Marmot City. There was one in the rock slide on the Grainger Trail below Nicomen Lake.









Rock slide on Grainger Creek Trail below Nicomen Lake.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2363.jpg
Views:	1099
Size:	494.7 KB
ID:	89489  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2383.JPG
Views:	1037
Size:	841.0 KB
ID:	89497  

Bill Kinkaid likes this.
Stoked is offline  
post #15 of (permalink) Old 03-07-2021, 05:58 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
decimal005's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 14
Default

Thanks for the informative and entertaining post. We had thought we might hike this route, thinking twice about doing so!
decimal005 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1