Friday, September 8, 2017

Blue RIP

Blue is now hiking with Joy in heaven.

Blue had surgery on 7/22/2017 to remove his spleen because of internal bleeding from tumors on the spleen.  At that time it was discovered he also had tumors on his liver.  The tumors were later determined to be cancerous, hemangiosarcoma.  Blue passed 9/8/2017.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mount Defiance 2017-06-05

This was Blue's last big hike.

10.1 miles and 4,334 feet of elevation.

Great day for a hike with 'see forever' views at the top.  Lost the trail in the snow at around 4,700 feet of elevation and just headed for the ridge.  The snow was compacted spring snow that was hard to get a footing with microspikes, crampons would have been the best.  Once we made it to the ridge the trail was visible for a short distance.  Rather than trying to guess were the trail is, we just kept going up the ridge.  This wasn't too bad until close to the top were it was difficult to kick steps into the snow and I had to grip my trekking  pole at the tip and use it as an ice axe. 

Sly enjoying the waters of Mason Creek close to the start.

The "underpass" to get through an area with several downed trees.

Mason Lake is still partially covered with ice.

Lost the trail at around 4,700 ft.

Climbing up the ridge

At the top

Great views


Bandera Mountain with Mason Lake at the base.  The white stop before Mason Lake is Little Mason Lake.  Lake Kulla Kulla is on the left.

Enjoying a water break on the way down the old trail.

 Blue trying to pose on the Mason Creek bridge.

Almost back to the car.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Alice Creek 2017-03-06

4.9 miles and 893 feet of elevation gain.

A nice little snowshoe on the way to Kent's Court with occasional snow.

There was too much snow on the road to the trailhead, so we parked by the freeway.  I put on snowshoes at the car and we made our way up to the McClellan Butte trailhead.

The trail looked packed down and I probably could have gotten by without them on the lower portions of the trail.  However, the snowshoes did allow me to take the power line shortcut on the way up.

At the second road crossing, which is nf-9020, we turned left towards Kent's Court.  No sign that anyone had traveled in this direction and even with snowshoes I was sinking into the snow about 8" with every step.  Blue was up past his belly.  It didn't take long for the boys to figure out it was best to follow in my foot steps.

Blue was becoming covered in snow balls that seemed to reform instantly after I would break them up.  We turned around where nf-9020 crosses Alice Creek.

Google Maps link

Blue loves to sniff for critters in the snow.

The turn off for the trailhead.

Nf-9020 towards Kent's Court

Smart dogs

Alice Creek

Blue's snowballs

Monday, January 23, 2017

Granite Lakes 2016-01-13

10.7 miles and 2,340 feet of elevation gain.

The Middle Fork road has been paved.  With the snow and freezing temperatures the tire tracks where two strips of black ice.  Fortunately we only had to travel a short distance to the trailhead.  Started with microspikes and took the snowshoes along for a ride.  There was a good track in the snow and we never used snowshoes.  The hike in March of 2016 was cut short because of the scores of downed trees that blocked the trail.  The trail is now clear all the way to the lakes.  At the area between the lakes the track vanished and snowshoes would have been useful but it was getting time to turn around anyway.

Google Maps link

The bridge over Granite Creek.

 On the trail

The back side of Dirty Harry's Peak.  It is hard to see in the picture but there are several large areas of ice that have a blue tings.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Mid-Mountain Mountain 2016-11-04

13.04 miles and 3,920 feet of elevation gain.

Nice day for a hike.  We parked at Hall Creek then hiked up to the trestle and crossed over Hall Creek to the start of the Change Creek trail. The old road heading up from the pond has been converted to a trail.  It is a welcome change and much easier to walk on.   

Google Maps link

Heading up the Change Creek trail.

The J's Landing sign has been replaced with a MMM Ridge trail sign.

The shortcut sign has been removed but the tree still bares the mark so it is easy to spot.

The old road, from the Pond trail up to the Great Wall trail, has been converted to a trail with a few 'rest stops' along the way.  Stumps have been placed in the center with carved out seats.

This used to be a gully across the road.  Now it's a great dog drink.

This is what the intersection with the Great Wall trail used to look like.  To the left is Change Creek and to the right the Great Wall.  Note the sign on the tree as a reference in the after picture below.

After the conversion it looks like they tried to hide the way to the Great Wall.

Once you pick your way through some tree branches and rubble, there is a converted trail for a short distance before hitting the road.  The road was used to bring in the equipment for the conversion and is now smooth and clear of fallen rocks.

Log + chainsaw = stool

Mt Washington from the Great Wall

Top of the of the little peak on the south end of the Great Wall.

Looking down Mid-Mountain Mountain ridge.  I spotted an orange speck on the ridge that turned out to be a hiker coming up the ridge.  I was going to talk to him about the trail conditions but after he disappeared behind the last rock outcropping he reappeared and then sat down and took a break.  Could it be too difficult to get around?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Arch Rock 2016-09-22

16.83 miles and 3,060 feet of elevation gain

Started again at Windy Gap and headed south.  I had thought this section of the Pacific Crest Trail may be the end of my contiguous sections of the PCT south of Snoqualmie Pass.  However, after a lot of map reviewing I found a trailhead that gets us within about 3.5 miles of the PCT.  Probably next year.

I picked Arch Rock as my turnaround point as it was close to my distance limit.  I was hoping to see the face of the rock, all I saw was trees.  I took the short Arch Spring trail that lead to a small camp area in hopes of catching a glimpse, but just trees.  There was a boot path heading toward the rock but I figured it was time to head back.    

Not as many PCT hikers as last time.  I did get a couple of good quotes.  "Almost there, only 300 miles to go" and "Getting tired, ready to be done".  One was from a young woman and the other from an old man.  

Google Maps link

The hits the end of a road and has a great view of Mt Rainier.  Several PCT hikers were taking pictures when we arrived.   The white on the ground is hail not early snow.  The hikers told me that a large thunderstorm passed through yesterday.

 On my GPS map it showed that the PCT was on a road for a short portion this is not correct.  I wasn't paying attention and missed the trail just a few feet down from the view point.  Fortunately this wasn't a big deal and I spotted an entrance to the trail not too far down the road.  
  On the way back we followed the trail instead of the road.  On this portion of the the trail there was a lot more hail, four inches deep in some places and the hail was over a quarter inch in diameter.  Not Texas size hail but I would not have wanted to be on the trail when it came down.

Sign at Government Meadow commemorating the first wagon train over Naches Pass.  Wikipedia link on the Naches Pass trail.

The meadow looking toward Naches Pass about 3/4 of a mile away.

 Mike Urich cabin at Government Meadow.  Built by a snowmobile club.

 Also used by PCT hikers and sometimes has an unofficial host.  On my return trip I met a couple who were going to haul out the trash.  They were trying to determine if they could park their van closer.  Currently they were parked about two miles away. 

 Really nice trail south of the cabin.

Just before Arch Rock, the trail passes at the top of a large bare area that looks compacted crushed rock.  

 Stopping for a drink at the creek by Government Meadow on the way back.