Saturday, January 23, 2010

Carbon River Waterfalls (MRNP) 01-16-2010

Spent the day today with Rob exploring the Carbon River road area in the northwest corner of Mount Rainier National Park.

The Carbon River road is closed at the Ranger station, but you can take bicycles beyond the gate along the road, but not on the trails. So, bring a bike lock if you're wary about leaving your bike unattended.

No permits needed for parking, but there is a $5 Park Entrance fee for each person.

Since my alarm clock decided I needed an extra hour of sleep, we didn't start our outdoor adventures until about 11:05am.

We were smart to bring the mountain bikes with us. They allowed us to make much better time on the road than we would made otherwise.

For those considering doing the same, be warned that the road only looks flat. It's not. It's a definite incline as you head toward the campground... and biking may activate a lot of muscles that you haven't heard from for quite a while.

The good news is that the ride back to the ranger station is amazingly fast and absolutely worth it.

As we headed toward Ipsut Campground, we stopped to see if we could visit Chenuis Falls. The first bridge is in place so you can access the river flats, but the second bridge is not in place. If you want to proceed to the Chenuis Falls you'll need to brave the glacier temperature water and fast current. Ill advised by the rangers. You can see part of the falls from the Carbon River road, but it's not photo-material from that location.
There are, however, other views to enjoy from this area.

Back on the bikes we encountered a group of four downed trees that we had to climb over. Big trees. BIG. They appear to be casualties of the recent wind storms.

Then we encountered another downed tree, amongst many others that luckily weren't blocking the route. That was some storm (glad I wasn't there!).

Finally, we reached the washout just before the Ipsut campground.

The word "Ipsut" (or "Ipsoot") is a Chinook word that means "to hide, keep secret; hidden; secretly.". Link (but not the link I was looking for which I'll fix later).

We rode in and stopped for a lunch break at the sign.

We proceeded on foot (bikes not allowed on the trails) the short distance to Ipsut Falls. It was a lot better than the ranger led us to believe. We spent quite a bit of time taking pics with the point-and-shoot cameras.

There was a hut just before the falls. Not sure what it used to be, but now it's smashed.

We returned to the bikes and started the fast return trip, stopping at the Green Lake/Ranger Falls Trail along the way. A couple forest park staff are doing a lot of heavy work on this trail trying to clear all the downed trees. It's unbelievable how many there are.

Ranger Falls didn't disappoint, but the pics certainly don't do it proper justice. I'll probably add a video in the next day or two, but until then, here are a couple pics.

Here is a short video compilation of Ipsut and Ranger falls:

Carbon River Waterfalls in MRNP from Eric Rolfs on Vimeo.

More quick biking brought us back to the Ranger station without any incidents.

Great day, great company, great weather and greatly used muscles.

Topo Image and Profile:

Just under 1,500 feet of elevation gain/loss over 13 miles traveled with 2.5 hours of 'moving time'.

As you can see, there is no snow anywhere in the area.

We inquired about the Carbon Glacier trail and the rangers informed us that both bridges are out and in addition to that, the lower portion of the trail was washed out this last fall (Oct/Nov 2009).

Happy Trails!


PS: This was only my second time to this part of MRNP. If you are interested, here is the TR from March 2008, with just enough snow for snowshoes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Itinerary for 1-16-10

Bike/Hike combination starting at the Carbon River entrance to Mount Raininer National Park. We expect to be exploring waterfalls along the river between the ranger station and Ipsut Falls, beyond the Ipsut Campground.

Depending on conditions we may also wander up toward Coplay Lake or other low elevation destinations nearby.

Alternatively, but much less likely would be to head toward Mowich Lake or the White River / Crystal areas.

Rob and I will be carpooling from his house to the park entrance in a newer model pickup truck (Dodge, IIRC) and we expect to be back in cell phone range by 6:00pm.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Test message... please ignore for now. Did you watch my 2009 video yet?

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 Video Compilation

I'm pleased to present the 2009 compilation of my hikes.

It's almost five minutes long, so grab some popcorn, turn up the volume (or plug in your headphones for those of you at work) and enjoy the show (before they ban the video for using music from the 80's).


If you're still paying attention, go check your calendar and pencil in a couple of my 2010 hike dates if you'd like to tag along.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 Hiking Calendar

Here is the unofficial scheduled outing dates for 2010 (and links to trip reports for dates already completed).

As always, planned dates and/or destinations are subject to change at any point in time, with or without notice.

January 16: Ipsut Falls in Mt. Rainier National Park

February 6: Happy Panther and Thunder Knob off Hwy 20.

February 18: Excelsior and Heather Meadows from Hwy 542

March 6: Huntoon Point and Nooksack Falls from Hwy 542

March 28:  Goose Rock at Deception Pass State Park off Hwy 20

April 3: Racehorse Mountain off Hwy 542

April 18: Split Rock off Hwy 9

April 24: Mailbox Peak off I-90

April 25: Big Four Ice Caves/Avalanches, Youth on Age Trail, Gold Basin Mill Pond off the Mountain Loop Highway

May 8: Mailbox Peak and Twin Falls State Park off I-90

June 6: Mount Washington off I-90

July 11: Granite Mountain and Fire Look Out off I-90

July 25: Winchester Mountain and Fire Look Out near Mount Baker off Hwy 542

August 29:  Excelsior Pass via Damfino Lakes and Horseshoe Bend along the Nooksack River off Hwy 542

September 4:  Church Mountain off Hwy 542

September 10:  Fragrance Lake in the Chuckanuts

September 21: Sunny Day With Quark along Hwy 2.

October 9: Anderson and Watson Lakes off Hwy 20 with Rachel and Steve.

October 17: Cumberland Creek off the South Skagit Highway along the Nooksack River.

November 8: Howard Miller Steelhead Park located off Hwy 20

December 21: Above Austin Pass on Mount Baker at the end of Hwy 542

December 31: Heather Lake off the Mountain Loop Highway by Mt. Pilchuck and Verlot with Kevin and Kris.

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in tagging along on any of the upcoming outings.

Happy Trails!