WA – Jack Mountain Circumnavigation (Part 3)

Link to Part 1 and Part 2

Good morning Jack! Told you this trip was all about Jack NOT the Devil.

Okay, maybe a little about the Devil. By the way, this stretch of trail is part of the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT).

There’s a spring to the northeast of Devils Pass. It’s not the easiest to find nor is the water all that accessible nor appetizing. Looks like the devil had his hand in breaking the plumbing and leaving a small algae filled puddle for your dipping pleasure. As I reviewed the guidebook in prep for this post, I think there are two springs as it mentions one near the Devils Pass shelter (I didn’t find that either but wasn’t looking).

There were three trails heading generally northeast from the junction (none matched my digital map). I’m guessing the higher one was the Deception Pass trail, possibly the middle one went to the shelter. I took the lower one which had a spur to this spring (end point on my track), and may have continued on to the shelter. 

Goodbye Jackita Ridge (once again the sun wasn’t cooperating for optimal photos).

One of my favorite memories of this trail was this glacial cirque where I saw two bears. I sat on the trail plucking and blissfully eating blueberries while listening to the marmot and pika, and hoping the bears would return. Who needs TV when you have this?

Then it was onward to Devils Dome.

Views from the top was 360 spectacular! 

Although the light wasn’t optimal, from the top of Devils Dome I had a front row seat of Jack. I met a father and daughter duo who’d claimed their campsite on top before noon. The sunset and sunrise opportunities would have been superb, but with absolutely no protection from the wind or rain, it was a risky choice. 

Nohokomeen Glacier on Jack Mountain. I believe that’s Mt Baker in the background.

By 3:30, clouds were building and wind was blowing. If I was camped on Devils Dome, I would have most likely relocated. Lucky for my friends, it ended up being an almost perfect night and I was a bit jealous of their views.

to be continued . . .

Trip Details

  • Dates Hiked: August 22-26, 2016
  • Mileage: Approximately 50 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: Approximately 16,000′
  • Trail Conditions:
    • Day 1 – B+, only a few down trees and eroded trail
    • Day 2 – C, scree field and steep eroded overgrown trail near North Fork Devils Creek
    • Day 3 – A-, better signage needed for Deception Pass, Devils Pass shelter and Devils Pass spring
    • Day 4 – C, steep and dusty descending from Dry Creek Pass
    • Day 5 – B, not too many down trees nor overgrowth but could use some love
  • Solitude Factor:
    • Day 1 – two groups of 2 people each hiking out (one of the groups was day hikers)
    • Day 2 – two tents at the Crater Mountain junction, one solo hiker hiking loop in opposite direction
    • Day 3 – two at Devils Dome, two at Dry Creek Pass
    • Day 4 – too many to count, probably at least 20 going the opposite direction up to Dry Creek Pass
    • Day 5 – didn’t see anyone
  • Bugs:
    • Day 1 – no skeeters or biting flies
    • Day 2 – bees taking care of the flowers in the subalpine areas
    • Day 3 – zip except bees minding their own business
    • Day 4 – another bug-free day
    • Day 5 – zip
  • Precipitation:
    • Day 1 – a few light showers
    • Day 2 – zip, just some nice clouds
    • Day 3 – zip
    • Day 4 – another shower-free day
    • Day 5 – zip
  • Temperature:
    • Day 1 – 36 overnight low
    • Day 2 – 40 overnight low
    • Day 3 – 40 overnight low
    • Day 4 – 59 overnight low

Loop Direction:

The positives of hiking counterclockwise are the initial climb is much more friendly with better switchbacks, trail is shaded, water is plentiful, and camping is available sooner. The positives of hiking clockwise is using the ferry to cut-off 15 miles of trail, or getting the permitted section out of the way first giving you freedom of campsites the remainder of the trip.

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