Showing posts with the label Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Photo Friday: Alpine Lakes Part 4--ending strong in the rain

I started last month with t he first two days of this 8-day, 65-mile excursion. Two weeks ago we covered three more days , into the heart of the wilderness--and the thick of the smoke. And last week we saw the end of the smoke at last. Today, we'll finish strong with some great scenery and a last, rainy day to make me happy to be going home. Day 7 After three days of smoke, the promise of the previous afternoon's wind was fulfilled, and I awoke to largely clear skies (see last week's post). I enjoyed the early morning light, but didn't linger over the photography, aware that I had a long day ahead of me. Looking across an inlet to the camping peninsula and Chikamin Peak. It's perhaps only slightly discouraging that one has to start by climbing the 200' back up to the PCT before the day's climb really begins. Views from the trail encourage rest breaks. Spectacle Lake. The Four Brothers to the left, Chikamin Peak flirting with a cloud on the right. The climb

Photo Friday: Alpine Lakes Part 3

A couple of weeks ago I started with t he first two days of this 8-day, 65-mile excursion. Last week we covered three more days , into the heart of the wilderness--and the thick of the smoke.  Today we pick up with Day 6 .  Naturally, I had hoped to wake up to clear skies. Alas, that was not to be my fate. I began my 3400' descent in smoke as thick or thicker than ever.   As with rainy weather, the smoke forced me to shift my attention to the closer details. I spent some time studying and photographing the texture of this long-dead snag. I was more excited about what I heard and saw a moment later. Ptarmigan. There were several trotting around (don't break your brain hunting; there's only one in the photo). The day's hike spent a lot of time in old burn areas. They can be a little bleak, but were also the only places that there were wildflowers. Fireweed and (I think) yarrow. Eventually I dropped down out of the burn and into Lemah Meadow, or as close as the trail come

Photo Friday: Alpine Lakes Part 2

Last week I shared photos from the first two days of this 8-day, 65-mile excursion. Today we're going to enjoy one last clear day, then head into the smoke that wreathed the middle three days of the trip. Day 3: Dayhike After my killer long second day, I was happy to be in place for a layover day, with plans to either hike up Mt. Daniel (pretty ambitious) or visit Circle Lake. But first I had to enjoy the fantastic morning light. Light filters between cloud layers to illuminate The Citadel. The waters of Peggys Pond were calm, a condition that didn't last. Despite taking my time over photos and breakfast, I was headed out shortly after 8. By then even in our sheltered nook the breeze had picked up considerably. Clouds blowing over the top of Cathedral Peak Out of curiosity, I began by following the signs that pointed to a backcountry toilet. It took me a ways off my route, and I calculated later that the loo was more than 1/3 mile from the pond. Well clear of any risk of conta

Photo Monday: Rampart Lakes

Today we are back in the Alpine Lakes wilderness on a very special overnight pack trip I did in late September. Why special? Well, this was not only a return to a place I dayhiked 30 years ago and vowed to revisit on another fall day, but it was my first solo backpacking trip in nearly as long--since I married in 1994. More significantly, it was my first solo backpack since losing my husband. It was kind of a test, because solo hiking is something I need to be able to do, given how hard it is to find trail partners who are a good match. I've been doing some car-camping alone (in transit to places, for the most part), so I was pretty sure I'd be fine, and I was. Rachel, Rampart, and Lila Lakes The hike was a single night, about 5 1/2 miles in (and 2300' up) past Rachel Lake to Rampart Lakes. The big attraction is the fall color--mostly in the form of mountain blueberries and a couple of other bushes that turn pretty brilliant colors. The drive from Seattle is pretty short (a