WA – PCT Section H . . . as in Hike your own Hike, J&J Style (Stevenson to White Pass) (Days 9-12)

In case you missed the previous posts, I’m supporting Joan as she complete this section of the PCT (link to previous post). I’m chronicling what I found to do while Joan was hiking.

Days 9-12 – Williams Mine Trailhead on FR-23 (Mile 2229.9) to White Pass on Highway 12 (2295.9)

Mt Adams Wilderness – We both hiked north on the PCT. My destination was Horseshoe Meadow, Joan’s was White Pass 66 miles away. My reward was a meadow filled with pink paintbrush.

My timing was perfect to find many blooms, and I was ecstatic with my longest hike to date since my knee surgery including 2,000′ elevation gain.

The next day was filled with waterfalls and lakes as I traveled north on FR-23. First up was Big Spring Creek Falls.

Council Lake“Council Lake is a drive up mountain lake on the north west flank of Mt. Adams.  It has a U.S. Forest Service campground.  It is stocked annually with catchable rainbow trout, but also contains eastern brook, brown trout, and cutthroat trout.”

Takhlakh Lake “A very popular campground close to the shore of Takhlakh Lake. The Campground includes ten walk-in sites. The views across the lake of Mt. Adams are outstanding. The northern trails of the Mt. Adams Wilderness are nearby. Takhlakh Loop Trail # 134 originates in the campground and encircles the lake. It’s a 1.1 mile flat hike around the lake. You can also connect to the Takh Takh Meadows trail #136 that leads you to an old lava flow.” Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Pika

Olallie Lake“This campground, on the shores of Ollalie Lake, offers 5 small sites and one larger area with room for RVs. The sites offer scenic views of Mt. Adams from the lake. It’s located in a high elevation stand of lodgepole and subalpine pine.” The trail around the lake wasn’t in as good of shape as that around Takhlakh Lake, the lake was shallower, more buggy and views of Mt Adams not as wow.

Chain of Lakes – This was the least desirable of the lakes I visited. There is free dispersed camping with picnic tables and fire rings but no restrooms. It was very buggy but maybe a fishermen’s paradise although no one was around the morning of my visit. You can access High Lakes Trail from there.

Horseshoe Lake – This was by far my favorite lake as it offered great swimming. It’s a first come first serve no reservation campground and was packed with a large father/kid group. Bugs weren’t too bad and there were views of Mt Adams. “The campground is a rustic site situated on a 24 acre lake, and offers most campers a view of the water. The campground is small with only 11 campsites. Fishing, boating (electric motors only), and hiking are available.”

At White Pass, I hiked north on the PCT to Deer Lake. This was a very somber day as I thought about Kris “Sherpa” Fowler (link) who went missing in 2016. I’ve been very involved behind-the-scenes with the search.

Old signs bring smiles, with another to add to my collection.

Good morning from a new-to-me wilderness.

I was excited to find blooming elephant head orchids.

Deer Lake

Leech Lake – at the PCT Trailhead in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Joan’s last stretch was in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. This is a favorite area of mine and I’ve hiked the Knife’s Edge portion three times.

Once off trail we had a J&J day where we explored Skate Creek, a Washington State Park.

Joan’s last section of the PCT to complete is from Rainy Pass north. We attempted this in 2016 (link) but I got shin tendonitis and we had to reverse direction. This time there were fires, and although the trail was open, access was a problem. The good news is that now we had time for more J&J adventures.

Dates: July 18-22, 2021

CA – Trinity Alps Wilderness, Stoney Ridge Trailhead

Destination: Van Matre Meadows

Van Matre Meadows are about 5.5 miles 3,000′ elevation gain from the trailhead

The trail rounds the bend to Stonewall Pass while temping hikers with a green shoulder leading to Granite Peak.

At Stonewall Pass, looking north into Red Mountain Meadow

At Stonewall Pass, looking south down at Trinity Lake

Lovely Van Matre Meadows, looking west toward Stuart Fork mountains.

Leaving Van Matre Meadows enroute to Echo Lake and Little Stonewall Pass, subalpine ponds or tide pools can be seen in the Deep Creek Drainage.

From Little Stonewall Pass, looking toward Echo Lake and Granite Peak.

Sunset alpine glow at Echo Lake

Siligo Meadows back dropped by Gibson Peak.

From Deer Creek Pass, looking south at Siligo Meadow and far in the distance Stonewall Pass.

From Deer Creek Pass, looking down at Deer Lake, and across at Siligo Peak (gray granite).

From atop Siligo Peak, looking down at Round Lake, and across to Seven Up and Gibson Peaks. Mt Shasta is visible in the far background.

Seven Up Peak and Mt Shasta

From atop Siligo Peak, looking down at Summit Lake, Siligo & Van Matre meadows. The trail from Deer Lake is off to the left (with a few snow patches remaining). The switchback trail down to Diamond Lake is near the middle of photo).

From the shores of Summit Lake

Another view of Deer Lake (with better lighting)

Sunrise alpine glow in Van Matre Meadow at my campsite.

The timing of this trip was perfect to enjoy wildflowers galore.

Jan’s Tips:

  • The access road is in much better condition than it has been for quite a few years. In my opinion, a high-clearance 4×4 is no longer required.
  • The Stoney Ridge Trail was in superior condition. To my recollection, the best trail condition I’ve encounter in the Trinity Alps in many years.
  • On this low snow year, late June was perfect timing for a fantastic wildflower display; however, many streams were already dry. Planning on water sources normally available could be problematic.
  • Reference my Trinity Alps Trails Link Page for maps, books, online resources, etc. (SUMMER 2014:  Fire Restrictions)
  • Additional blog postings about related hikes I’ve taken can be found in my Hikes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness category.

 

 

CA – Trinity Alps Wilderness, Long Canyon Trailhead . . . summer jaunting

In my trails book, this loop is called Disneyland for wilderness lovers due to the amazing views per mile. However, to enjoy this Disneyland you best have eaten your Wheaties and love switchbacks (aka STEEP terrain)! We entered from the Long Canyon Trailhead.

Siligo Meadows from Bee Tree Gap at 7,200′

The trail from Deer Lake to Summit Lake, Siligo Peak is the gray granite (an easy off-trail scramble)

Looking down on Deer Lake from Deer Creek Pass, the beginning of the 4-Lakes Loop.

Looking east toward Deer Lake, Granite Peak and Seven-Up Peak.

From Siligo Peak, looking back at the trail coming up from Deer Lake and looking over at Summit Lake. Siligo Meadows are between the two ridges behind Summit Lake.

Summit Lake and the trail down to Diamond Lake, the next destination on the 4-Lakes Loop.

Diamond Lake

Diamond Lake and mountains from the Stuart Fork drainage

Lake Luella the 4th Lake of the Loop

From Bee Tree Gap, time to descend back to the Long Canyon Trailhead

Jan’s Tips:

(1) If you are visiting during peak season, consider camping at Siligo Meadows rather than the lakes where there is little privacy and sanitation can be a problem. There are springs available in the meadows as well as established campsites.

(2) The loop requires about the same amount of ascending and descending whether done clockwise or counterclockwise. We did it counterclockwise, starting at Deer Creek Pass, descending to Deer Lake, ascending to Summit Lake Pass, taking the side trail down to Summit Lake and back up to main trail, descending to Diamond Lake, descending to Lake Luella, then climbing first back up to Deer Lake, then finally back up to Deer Creek Pass. Plan on a bit more climbing if you want to bag Siligo Peak.

(2) Visit my trail links page for resources on the Trinity Alps Wilderness.