Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thunder Creek (North Cascades) 05/23/09

This is "Part 2" of my outing on May 23, 2009. The first part of the day was spent visiting Ross Dam / Green Point Campground. On the way home I stopped by the Thunder Creek trail, located at the far end of the Colonial Creek Campground, located on Hwy 20 at the end of Diablo Lake.

I had a lots of daylight to spare, but was a bit tired and felt the need to be home for a dinner party at our house but really wanted to get a sample of the Colonial Creek Campground and Thunder Creek Trail since I've driven by there so many times but never stopped.

Drove through the campground twice (looking for a parking spot) and then made a no-frills speed hike out to the 1.1 mile mark where the trail crosses the creek. Snapped some pics, returned to the car and hustled home for socializing. Some of our guests are hikers and they completely understood my tardiness.

The trail for this first mile is very flat and shaded, with peek-a-boo views of the river to keep you entertained along the way.

Exploring beyond the bridge will have to wait for another time.

The day was the perfect temperature and bugs were almost nonexistent.

Love this weather!!

Here is a link to the combined trip report posted on
Happy Trails!

Green Point (Ross Lake NCNP) 05-23-2009

Destination: Green Point campground located on Ross Lake in the North Cascade, just off of Hwy 20. Beautiful weather was my buddy for the day. Everyone else was busy with other Memorial Day plans.

Yes, this trip report is a little delayed, but here it is for your reading (or photo viewing) enjoyment.
Enjoyed a leisurely departure from Mt. Vernon at about 8:15am and cruised out Hwy 20 to the Ross Lake/Dam trail head. Traffic was lighter (and faster) than I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise.

Loaded up the new pack (testing an Osprey Stratus 40) just as the ranger showed up to do 'facility maintenance' and presumably check for forest passes.

Hiked down to Ross Dam (about 1 mile, all downhill), took some pictures and talked to a group of three hikers headed out to Big Beaver Campground (which is located a couple miles beyond Green Point). The lake is approx. 40 feet below the spillways on the dam.

Started hiking along the west side of Ross Lake just to see what there was to see. Stopped to take some more pictures. Realized the ISO was set to 1600 instead of 80 and took some pictures... again. The trail along the lake generally stays pretty high above the water, even when the reservoir is full.

Hiked past the turn off to Ross Lake Resort (not open until June per their website) and continued onward to the turnoff for Green Point Campground.

I had been to Green Point Campground once before, but had arrived via boat and only to pick up some buddies for a day hike up to Desolation Peak... back in 2004. Ever since, I've been wanting to hike out to Green Point and here was my opportunity.

As you descend and progress toward Green Point the trail offers a nice viewpoint of the resort, the dam and numerous peaks.

This segment of the trail was quite interesting as it traverses across a pretty steep slope, made predominately of slate or shale... I don't know, but it's a little loose. I'd hold on tight to any little ones. Then the trail crosses directly below a couple cliffs that tower 100 feet or higher above. One section of the trail actually goes underneath a portion of the cliff that is hanging out over/above the trail. While it didn't make me stop or turnaround, I did count my blessings and pray that gravity keeps looking the other direction until I'm well clear of the area.

Once at Green Point Campground I was shocked to see that every one of the campsites was vacant. I had the place to myself. Whoa. So, I scouted around just checking things out. The lake is still pretty low so the dock is still high and dry. There was a group in canoes (likely the boy scout group that was rumored to be in the area) heading northward.

After satisfying my curiosity at Green Point I began the return journey, meeting numerous groups head in to camp for the rest of the weekend. The last couple I talked to before arriving back at Ross Dam indicated they had picked up the last back-country permit for Green Point that morning.

Spent some time standing in a creek along the trail for a few water works snapshots.

Crossed the dam again and headed down to the guard station where I had a nice comfortable shaded shelter to enjoy lunch.


Poked around a bit more and then ascended the final mile back up to Hwy 20, stopping for one more picture at the creek crossing:

GPS claims 7.3 miles total distance.
Elevation is debatable as walking across the dam caused some wide swings in the elevation readings.

This Trip Report is also posted over at with some comments/replies from other local hikers.

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stimpson Nature Reserve - May 16, 2009

After hearing about this trail from a couple of Bellingham locals, I finally had the opportunity to visit this trail one sunny Saturday in May.

The trail is located just west of Lake Whatcom, about 15 minutes away from I-5 via the Lakeway Exit in Bellingham.

There are two connected loops here that total about 4.5 miles. Mild elevation gain for Cascade standards, but there are enough troughs, valleys and ridges throughout the area that it's easy to get a decent workout on the trail. In fact, this is a popular trail run route for locals into that sort of thing. Not showing on the map is that there is a connector trail that heads south to one of the Sudden Valley neighborhoods (I didn't follow that route however).

There is an informational sign near the trail head describing a little about the trail.

There were few bugs and the trail was easy to follow and only a few people were on on the trail today. Here area few photos from the trail.

This is a nice local hike, but the views are limited. My recommendation is to save it for first-time hikers short on time... or use it on a really wet day to test out your rain gear.

Happy Trails!


Granite Mountain Trip Report 07/11/09

Clearly I'm too busy to duplicate these TR's, so for now I'll just link to the report I posted over at nwhikers.

I didn't write up a Pilchuck report yet, at all, but I did create thumbnails for my recent trips.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Granite Mtn / Pilchuck quick summary


What a day for spending in the mountains! It was fantastic!

All day long my legs and thighs have been reminding me just how much fun I had. Surely they'll keep reminding me tomorrow as well.

Here is a very short summary, and a video, with a full trip report to follow in a few days as I get the pictures cleaned up and posted.

Granite Mtn: Made it to the summit and back down in one piece. 8 miles and 3,800 feet of elevation gain. Gave some water to someone who had run out and was in need of it. Took the 'scramble' route... it was heart racing excitement!

Mt. Pilchuck: Arrived at about 4:15pm and everyone coming down the trail warned me about bugs. They were right. After about 1.6 miles and 1,200 feet of elevation gain the bugs had sucked all the fun out of the hike so I turned around to head home.

Total for the day: 11.2 miles round trip and 5,000 feet of elevation gained.

Here is the cheezy video I made that looks like it was made by an amateur stalker instead of an amateur hiker.
Laugh at the video if you want. I do.

The camera is being sent in to Canon this week for lens repair (and cleaning!).
The dark spot that always shows up in the upper-middle-left is some debris inside the lens. The dark spots that race across the screen are flying bugs.

Happy Trails!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Itinerary update for July 11, 2009 Outing

Currently planning on venturing out to hike the Granite Mountain trail to the Lookout tower Saturday morning, located along I-90 between North Bend and Snoqualmie Pass. I didn't quite make the summit last fall, due to leg cramps.
From Big Rock Excursions

Depending on weather, time, stamina and energy I'm considering a hike to the Mount Pilchuck Lookout in the afternoon. Mt. Pilchuck is located just beyond Verlot, along the Mountain Loop Highway (outside of Granite Falls).

With the long daylight hours, nice weather and since it's 'almost' on my way home it would be nice to capture the views from the Lookout tower. Last time I was there it was a snow storm and views were limited to about 50 feet.

Two peaks & two lookouts on a sunny summer day? Sounds fantastic and I hope my body holds up for success.

Feel free to join me on either or both of these hikes... just give me a call.

Happy Trails!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Next Hike: Saturday July 11, 2009

Roll call!!!

Who's in?

I tried to get in a visit to the Pilchuck Lookout tower Sunday morning to take advantage of the blue skies and cool morning temperatures, but life just wasn't cooperating.

Hopefully the weather will be better than what is forecasted for the next few days.

Torn between doing some repeats (RR Grade, Pilchuck, Sauk or Granite) or something totally new & epic. All depends on participants & weather (and me being out of shape once again).