Here are some pics from the mini-trip that Redhead and I did with the North Cascades Institute last week.
We had a great time and I'll give the North Cascades Institute a plug because they seem to have pretty cool programs running out there.
Here's their website:
Anyhow...Friday eve. was spent at the NCI lodging. The meals are buffet-style and very tasty!
The first night was spent getting to know our trail mates, packing gear and exploring the NCI site. We also went out on Diablo Lake in the 12 man canoe with our two naturalist/guides and paddled over to the dam, while getting some learnin' about the dams and lakes and glaciers.
Oh..and Daryl and I both had a dip in the lake, which was cold enough to take the breath away and shrink the business..so it was literally just a dip.
got lucky w/my own dormitory room for the night
it was hot enough to make the lake inviting..brrr
The next morning, we were off after a tasty breakfast and with a sack lunch that we made ourselves from an assortment of goodies.
We had to stop at the Ranger Station before heading to the trail to pick up our passes and blue bags..We also got a leave-no-trace lecture (apparently everyone gets this regardless of group size) from a comedic ranger and the station had some cool things to look at..such as bear-damaged gear and continually growing mounds of left-behind climbing ropes and trail markers...yikes.
The main thing that I took away from the meeting with the ranger was that I was determined to turn off my poop machine for two days because I did not want to have to pick it up, put it in a bag and then suffer the grosser indignity of smooshing it into my full pack and toting it around until Sunday night.
After a long drive up a washboardy gravel road, we arrived at the trailhead and began our adventure in glorious weather. Our total mileage this day was only 5..but the 1st 3.7 to Cascade Pass was a trudge with about 5 billion switchbacks. We (Daryl and I) were happy to arrive at Cascade Pass because it meant that we had mostly downhill left!
The adventure begins
Cascade Pass at about 5,392 feet
Enroute to Pelton Basin and our base camp for 2 nights
Our little base camp
Pumping some fresh cool water
The next day, we were to hike out of Pelton Basin..back up to the pass and then up Sahale Arm to about 7200ft (the glacier is at 7700ft), where we could look over the ridge and see the Boston Glacier
The views were breathtaking and the marmots were plentiful! We also saw a ptarmigan w/3-4 little ones..very cute!
don't jump marmot!
Baker in the dip..see it?
All weekend we heard massive slides and avalanches..this is the 1st one that we heard and it took me a bit before I realized what was going on...pretty cool
At one point, I thought we were hearing another slide, and out of nowhere, a fighter jet flew right past us in Pelton Basin. Very low and very loud...crazy..no idea what it was doing there...there was just one plane.
So this is where I gave up my Sahale summit attempt...I went from fabulously happy and invigorated to completely irrational and thinking that I was going to roll right down into Doubtful Lake because my feet kept slipping on the rocks. Daryl was only to happy to chicken out with me and we headed back down while the rest of the group continued for about 30-40 min and they got to see the Boston Glacier AND some curious mountain goats..dammit. When our guide (who had just climbed Mt Rainier the week prior), told me that there was a bit of a scramble at the end of this hike, I had a feeling that I wouldn't make it...
So..down we went....
Daryl continued back to camp to 'feed the composting toilet' and I sat above Doubtful Lake and ate my Snickers bar, while waiting for the group because we had a loose plan to go down to Doubtful Lake before going back to camp...after about an hour, they hadn't showed up and when they eventually did, I didn't feel bad about chickening out because I was told that it was a good scramble to the ridge and they had to take it very slow coming down..so I would have needed a mountain rescue..but I was disappointed about the goats, who had been very curious and came right up to the group. By that time, it was getting late in the day and the group voted not to do Doubtful, which supposedly was a challenging slog down and of course back up..so back to camp it was and.....dinner!
That night it rained on us, and the next day, we decided to continue w/our plan to hike to Horseshoe Basin. It was sprinkling when we left camp and eventually turned into a near downpour for the entire 4.2 roundtrip hike...BUT..it was worth it! The basin was really spectacular with numerous waterfalls peeping out through the fog...glorious..even in the rain!
Daryl had chosen to stay at camp for this one and he missed out! Especially when three of our group stripped down on the way back at the river crossing and jumped in...woohoo underoos!! Ok, I was a pansy that didn't want to show my hot sexy bod for fear of getting..you know...attacked....but I didn't mind ogling our hottie guide Adam while he was prancing about!
I admit that on this trip, I was wishing that I was a cute and fashionable 25 yr old mountain climbing gal so that I could chase him about! [:0]
Adam's trail food consisted of a one-pound block of cheddar and 'meat stick'[xx(]
When we returned from our Horseshoe slog...we were soaked to the bone and had to pack up camp and hike back out the 5 miles to the parking lot...I'm not sure that was the most fun that I've ever had...but actually, it wasn't that bad...So..Sunday was a wet 10 mile day..but we still had energy for a few good victory shots at the end
I guess I won't show them because I don't have permission from all the folks.
Anyhow...I really enjoyed myself on this trip! I learned a few tricks to snow camping (my 1st time) and met some really nice folks, who say they would like to continue hiking with me, even though I'm slower than molasses!
p.s. If you must know.....my poop machine failed me on Sun a.m. and I was forced to propel myself up onto the ridiculously high composting throne (which included a 'shit-viewer' window...WTF?). If you have ever been to this area, you will understand when I say that I had to do some real commandeering to get myself up onto this thing without a) falling into the toilet or b) falling off the toilet and rolling down the hill towards the river with my pants down and the deer chasing me for my salty pee. What a fabulous idea with a ridiculously stupid setup.