Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Winchester Lookout 7-25-2010

Put in a no-advance-notice call to Mark for a spontaneous trip to the Winchester Lookout, located in the vicinity of Mount Baker.

30 minutes later he pulled up into the driveway and off we went.

10 minutes later we spied a drunk driver almost run off the road three times in less than a mile and almost wipe out an unsuspecting pedestrian. Time out for a call to 9-1-1 before continuing to the trail head without further incident.

Weather was spot on.
Bugs were just doing fly-by's, but weren't being a nuisance at all.

The road was in its usual condition but we made it all the way to Twin Lakes with a Subaru Outback without bottoming out whatsoever. Thank goodness... saved us a lot of road walking in the sun.

At the Twin Lakes trail head we encountered about four other vehicles, including a Honda Accord.

Snow covers the road at the last corner to the lake, right by the privy if you've been there before.

The trail was easy to follow, with a number of short snow crossings where you could see the trail emerge on the other side.

Twin Lakes Ice
From Big Rock Excursions

Melting Twin Lakes Beauty
From Big Rock Excursions

One of the Twin Lakes
From Big Rock Excursions

Trail Intersection
From Big Rock Excursions

Trail Bliss
From Big Rock Excursions

Snowfield in upper right is the steep snow crossing
From Big Rock Excursions

Mount Baker from Winchester LO trail
From Big Rock Excursions

Happy Family hikers descending toward the lakes
From Big Rock Excursions

Snack Break with Larrabee Pk in the distance
From Big Rock Excursions

Looking down on Twin Lakes from trail to LO
From Big Rock Excursions

There were two steep snowfields as we reached the upper end of the switchbacks above the lake. We were able to skirt around the bottom of the first one and then safely crossed the second one with ice axes in hand.

The second snowfield ends in a moat that's probably 8 feet deep but it was easy to cross with a little time and caution.

Crossing the final steep snowfield
From Big Rock Excursions

Before we knew it we were at the Lookout.

Snack Break and Picture Break.

Tomyhoi, Canadian and American Peaks
From Big Rock Excursions

Lookout sign and Mt. Baker
From Big Rock Excursions

Lookout Entry
From Big Rock Excursions

Photos inside the LO
From Big Rock Excursions

Lookout signage... what is the arrow pointing to?
From Big Rock Excursions

Tomyhoi Peak and Lake from Winchester LO
From Big Rock Excursions

Winchester Lookout
From Big Rock Excursions

Snack with a view
From Big Rock Excursions
Descent on the trail was uneventful.

Can't beat that scenery!
From Big Rock Excursions

The Lingering Steep Snowfield Crossing
From Big Rock Excursions

Le Moat
From Big Rock Excursions

Glissade Tracks
From Big Rock Excursions

Ursine Etiquette and Guidelines
From Big Rock Excursions

Descent on the road was also uneventful, although we were surprised to see a 4WD red truck with a young male driver pulled over by a Law Enforcement SUV while we were still about 2 miles away from Hwy 542. Very unusual in that situation.

Fantastic day for a short notice trip. Thanks for joining me Mark!

****There is a work party scheduled for the weekend of August 7th, 2010 by the Mount Baker Club. During that weekend the Lookout will not be available for use or overnights.****

Happy Trails!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Total success on Winchester Mountain today

Itinerary for 7-25-10

Spur of the morning decision to go visit Winchester Lookout Trail off the Mt. Baker Highway #542, solo, probably.

This is a new-to-me destination so it may just be an exploratory adventure for the next trip out here. There is rumor of a lingering snowfield that may turn me back before the lookout, which is fine.

Either way, just going to enjoy a sunny day on the trail.

Should be in cell phone contact long before sunset.

Happy Trails!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Granite Mtn 1 Yr Anniversary 07-11-10

Exactly one year ago, on 7/11/2009, I made my first successful summit of Granite Mountain.

This Anniversary trip was very similar as far as the weather, the bugs and the views, but what was different about this trip was that I wasn't solo.

Instead of just me, myself and I, this year Keith Lund and his son Sam joined me for this day hike.

Keith and I have hiked together before, but that was back in the days of Junior High. You remember those days: "steep" and "elevation gain" meant nothing because we were invincible. Descents from Lake Constance were done at a jogging pace and hiking poles (if they had even been invented) would have been simply called a Cane. Hiking sticks were a custom-find for each trip and were used mostly to annoy little sisters.

We're a little bit older now and maybe a bit more mature. Also, we have knees... and we know it.

Anyway, Keith and Sam felt up for a good old Washington hike and didn't hesitate at the 1,000 ft per mile elevation gain.

The trip was mostly uneventful. No navigational problems, no injuries, no wild animals. Just a relaxing day of hiking in the sun (and bugs).

Keith and Sam at the trail head for an 8:45am departure:

Early on in the hike it seemed like my muscles were groaning, but it was actually just my spidey sense acting up:

After a couple miles of hiking in the shade of the evergreens, we broke out into the alpine meadows where the Lookout finally came into view:

We interrupted a dozing hoary marmot who allowed us one picture before darting off:

Sam, still smiling after +3,000 feet of elevation gain:

Mt. Rainier followed us throughout the meadow. Keith and Sam are considering a circumnavigation of Rainier on the Wonderland Trail in the near future.

The summer trail route that leads through the basin is still under serious snow so we opted to take the boulder ridge scramble route:

This guy started out on the summer trail route in the basin but decided to take the shortcut up the snowy slope instead of the trail or the boulder ridge:

Final approach:

Future PBA's (Peakbaggers of America):

Sam enjoying the scenery (and me botching up a photoshop edit in a bad way trying to remove shadows):

Just beyond the lookout you can look down to see Crystal Lake, still ice covered:

Crystal Lake (frozen) and Tuscohatchie Lake (not frozen):

Sunbathers in Washington get sunshine anywhere they can... even on mountain tops:

Close up of the lookout, since they keep it locked up tight so you can't go inside to poke around:

After a lunch break and signing the summit register it was time to head back down. Way down:

Snoqualmie Pass and Lake Keechelus in the background:

It's amazing how many boulders make up that ridge, and how steep it is.

Route Map:

Thanks again, Keith and Sam, for joining me on this adventure. Company makes a great trip a whole lot better! Hopefully we'll be able to share some more trail time together while you are still in the area.

Happy Trails!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Great Chuckanut Run

Took another Wednesday night run along Chuckanut Drive.

Check back early next week for the Trip Report to Granite Mountain with Keith and Sam!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Itinerary for 07-11-10

Meeting Keith & his son in North Bend at 8:00am and proceeding to the Granite Mountain trail for a day hike to the fire lookout at the summit.

Maybe it will be a repeat of my solo trip to Granite last year... exactly one year ago to the day.  Weather looks similar... but I'm not solo this time.  Woo Hoo!

Rumor has it that there is a slight chance I may cross paths with the EMTSRM as well.

Depending on how the hike goes, there is a good chance we, or I, will make a couple side trips along the way home.  If that's the case I'll try to update the blog via the cell phone (but that seems to be hit and miss effort).

Last year I made it up Granite and intended on ending the day on Pilchuck, but the bugs sucked all the enjoyment out of the effort on Pilly so I bailed half way up.  Maybe this year the three of us will just poke around the I-90 area... Denny Creek, Franklin Falls... who knows... but it would have to be something scenic.

Will post a TR and pics as soon as I can upon my return, but it may not be until later in the week.

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chuckanut Run

This pic was snapped as I took a comfortable jog near Blanchard Mountain and Chuckanut Drive tonight.

Love the weather!
Hate the bugs!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fireworks 2010

Happy Independance Day 2010!

No hiking or running, but I did take a few pics of the local fireworks show.

Looking forward to the upcoming hike on the 11th!