August 20, 2012

Sections: /

Left Stevens Pass on August 14th. Trail was cleared of trees until beyond Valhalla, then began to find some down, which continued for the remainder of the trip. There’s no way horses could complete Section K due to this.

Approaching Grizzly Peak, the wild flowers are out in full force! Water was not a problem on this whole trip, as nearly all streams are flowing well.

Lake Sally Ann was still partially frozen, but thawing very quickly.

White Pass was gorgeous with it’s flower show! There was still some snow to cross on the north side of Red Pass, but not a huge deal.

Fire Creek pass was also pretty snowy on the north side and route finding was required. An ice axe would have been nice, but not absolutely required on several sketchy & steep slopes. Just be sure to cross in the afternoon when the snow is soft. The basin below Fire Creek Pass was still snowed in. Mica Lake was nearly completely frozen over with only a slight amount of water showing around the edges.

The steep 2000′ climb just north of Milk Creek was a complete jungle!! I’ve never seen weeds so thick on the trail! Heck, we couldn’t even SEE the trail and most of the weeds were head high!

More BADLY overgrown trail descending down the switchbacks toward Vista Creek. WTA & Forest Service crews are tackling dozens of HUGE blowdowns along Vista Creek from about the 3500′ level, down to the new Suiattle Bridge trail. You’ll have to belly crawl under some if the crew hasn’t gotten to them yet. We had to bail on the 19th, at the Suiattle River, so no beta from there on north.