July 31, 2012

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I hiked all of section H between 21 and 31 July 2012. PCT mile numbers (2212, for example), in what follows below, are from Halfmile’s great maps.

Trail was snow-free and in good, if not excellent, condition from Bridge of the Gods to north side of Berry Mountain (2212). But I did/do not understand need for detour that was advertised to take around Rock Creek (~2174). I got there late in evening and, needing place to camp, decided to go on down to Rock Creek campsite – retracing my steps next day if need be, or crossing creek on rocks. But l could see no damage whatsoever to bridge at Rock Creek, and crossed it. A little ways farther there was some damage to sides of planks on bridge crossing a tributary of Rock Creek, but I could see no damage to its main structure. At any rate, both streams could easily have been crossed on rocks without getting feet wet. So I don’t understand reason for detour (needed for equestrians?). Maybe someone knowing more than me about this could comment.

North of Berry Mountain to Mt Adams area just before Horseshoe Meadow (~2242) there were only patches of easily-crossed snow drifts and some easily-crossed blowdown. Two young men from the Forest Service were clearing the trail in that area.

Lots of snow going around Mt Adams, from ~2242 to ~2254. Not difficult to cross, but I needed GPS to find way. A thru hiker without GPS had turned around because he couldn’t find his way through, but then joined me going through with GPS.

No snow at Lava Springs (2258) and not again until ~2266, but some easily-crossed downfall. Lots of snow and good bit of downfall in marshy valley ~2269-2273. Easily crossed, but I needed GPS to stay on trail. Mosquitoes bad here (but not bad, if at all, other places)

Encountered snow chutes at ~2279, but could be crossed with care. Major snow field on relatively steep slope going up to Cispus Pass (2280). I felt much safer having ice axe (for self-arrest if I had slipped) but, with care, secure steps could be kicked in snow. I crossed mid-day when snow had softened.

No snow from Cispus Pass north to ~2283 (Snowgrass Flat), then pretty solid snow cover, but easily-crossed, all way up to junction with stock PCT. I took hiker PCT, which had a couple of patches of easily crossed snow. (The lower stock PCT looked completely snow covered and, to me, more dangerous than the higher hiker PCT.

No snow on trail from high point on shoulder of Old Snowy Mt until descent off ridge of Goat Rocks. Then some easily crossed patches all way out to highway 12 at White Pass. At one point, about halfway down from Goat Rocks ridge, there was a patch of snow that required my using GPS to stay on trail.