August 28, 2011

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Patches of snow remain on trail, Stevens Pass to Pear Lake. Minor occasional blowdown, especially South of Lake Janus. (8/20).

Snow patches more persistant North of Pear Lake, thicker where trail is along Northeast facing slopes. Occasional blowdown. Saddle Gap and Cady Pass, clear. Lake Sally Ann is 50% iced over, camping area is bare and dry (8/21).

Indian pass, Clear. Occasional snow patches on way to Red Pass, bare and dry where trail is on Southwest facing sidehill. White Pass, clear. Red Pass, Clear. Upper basin of White Chuck River below Red Pass still holds conciderable snow. Trail begins to peek through in spots after first 1/2 to 3/4 mile. Snow is soft in mild temps. Snow patches decreasing on way to footbridge over White Chuck R. Occasional snow around West side of Glacier Peak to Fire Creek. Water is high, some crossings without footbridges may be wet for some hikers. Bridge at Sitkum Cr, good. Broken bridge at Kennedy Cr, still there and useable. Camps at Baekos Cr, bare and dry. Thicker, harder snow on slope south of Fire Creek camp, but tenting area at camp is bare and dry. (8/22 – 8/23)

Abundant snow on approach to Fire Creek Pass. Pass is clear. From top to Mica Lake is abundant snow with trail peeking out on steeper slopes. Mica Lake is 95% iced over, but some tent areas near outlet are clear. Snow patches persist below Mica Lake giving way to clear trail, but brushy as approaching Milk Creek. Note that Milk Creek now has a footbridge crossing about .3 mile downstream from the old destroyed bridge. Most (all?) of the maps and guides do not show the approach trail to this newer bridge. On northbound approach to Milk Creek, follow the well used path, proceeding downstream to the bridge and continue downstream after crossing to join the Milk Creek Trail. There, signage will point you back uphill and up stream to join the old PCT track. Switchbacks to gain the ridge above Milk Creek are choked in heavy brush, but bare. Minor snow sidehill along ampitheater of E Fork Milk Creek, with Dolly Vista camp clear and dry. (8/24).

Trail down into Vista Cr , v. minor snow, occasional blowdown and some brush near Vista Cr crossing. Crossing here is on low log that other hikers observed was awash in higher water. Before crossing, note also the newly cut(but not connected) approach trail to new Suiattle R Bridge,in woods 50 yards away. No signage to indicate if this route is now available, but hiker info says some have taken this new route. New approach trail goes downstream a few miles to just past Dolly Cr, finding the new bridge, where the trail then backs up river on existing track to rejoin the old PCT near the site of the old footbridge. Most hikers, however crossed Vista Cr and headed on the old PCT track to log cross the Suiattle River, punching through the brush and piled driftwood, where the trail gets to the flat sand bars. The two crossing logs located near the old bridge area still exist. Follow tracks and cairns upstream ( 200-300 yards?) to find the flater , shorter (easier ?) log to cross. Walk back downstream on user trail to find the old PCT track heading off and up, downstream into woods. Only minor blowdown on way up Miners Cr, trail improves up to Suiattle Pass which is bare and dry. Snow fields are in both amphitheaters north from Suiattle Pass, all marked camps are bare and dry. (8/25)

Trail down Agnes Cr, bare and dry to High Bridge. Hiker info is that High Bridge to Rainy Pass is clear and dry. (8/26)