Friday, we hiked Picketpost Mountain in Superior, Arizona with Blaze. After spending several days in town it was really nice to get out and do some exploring!
The trail up Picketpost is about two miles long and gains just under 2,000′ of elevation. The elevation gain is lots of fun however as the trail ascends up one of the mountain’s rocky shoots. The trail is blazed and fairly easy to follow.
Despite living directly below Stevens Peak for a year and a half, I’d never been to the summit (F hadn’t been either until just a couple weeks ago). Last Wednesday, after our Pulaski Tunnel hike, we took the jeep out for a ride.
The road wound up the ridge just to the west of the peak and popped out in the beautiful subalpine meadow. (I’m so glad we have peaks just high enough to have these meadows. They’re so pretty!) The road ended just below the summit and the three of us headed up to watch the sunset.
We’re not surrounded by the glorious mountain peaks that exist elsewhere in the west but we could glimpse the Cabinets and the Scotchmans off in the distance as well as look down at Stevens Lakes and Lone Lake. The sunset to the west was gorgeous and the full moon rising to our east wasn’t half bad either! (The mosquitos on the other hand were horrid.)
Monday when I got home from work Forrest and Sprocket were waiting for me. Apparently they were waiting for me to join them on an adventure!
The three of us hopped on the quad and headed for the snow shelter. Having only been to the snow shelter once while riding snowmobiles it took us a few minutes to remember which road to take. Once on the road though we climbed up and up the ridge. After we reached the shelter we headed a bit further to the east. When the road ended, we hiked up to the ridge line and looked down on the Little North Fork of the South Fork of the Coeur D’Alene River (seriously, that’s it’s official name). Continue reading “Snowstorm Peak”
Our summer to do list is full of way too many practical things right now. On the list:
Finish the van: In the next couple of weeks we need to make some decisions about the final setup of the van and Forrest can get welding on the framework for the bed and cabinets.
Side the cabin and finish insulating the inside: After we get the siding done the place will be officially weather tight. Finishing up the insulation in the walls and ceiling are also on the docket for summer.
Plan wedding: Most of the planning for the wedding is done. There’s some loose ends to tie up but we’re really getting there. I’m sort of liking having it too look forward to as an end of summer hurrah though.
But after my hike yesterday (more on that tomorrow), I have an itch to climb mountains. We haven’t done near as much of this as I’d like in the last couple of years (which partially my fault and partially the fault of the cabin/house for needing to be worked on). My Peakbagger.com list has only TWO summits for all of last year on it and one of those is East Grouse Peak which hardly counts.
I don’t know if all of these things will happen but here’s my fun list for summer (I’ll have to get Forrest’s later).
Climb Idaho’s high point Borah Peak (12,662 ft): Not only would Borah be my lifetime high point it’s another state highpoint! The trailhead is a six hour drive but there’s plenty to do on the way back to make it worth it so this seems like a viable weekend trip.
Climb some local peaks: There’s a ton of mountains to climb right around here. They’re not all massive but using the top 10 high points in the Couer D’Alene Mountains (our mountains are a subrange of the Bitterroot Mountains) isn’t a bad place to start. Then there’s the Cabinets which really aren’t that far away (especially once Cooper Pass melts out!)
Leavenworth-Grand Coulee Dam Trip: I haven’t been to touristy Leavenworth for ages. And neither Forrest or I have seen Grand Coulee Dam. It might also be a good opportunity to visit with my cousins at their cabin in Hunters on the way home. (Maybe they’ll have their boat at the lake which would fill our once yearly need for some time on the water too!)
I can think of a lot more things I’d like to do but summer always feels so short. Way too short. (I can’t even drive to my cabin yet, how can I be thinking about how short summer is?) We’ll do our best to cram as much adventure in as we can though.
Our second day in Yellowstone started in the parking lot of Canyon Village. We ate a quick breakfast in the cafeteria and headed for Mt. Washburn. It was a short and sweet 3.1 mile climb to the summit. It was one of those hikes with a perfect grade–we didn’t feel like we were working but still managed to gain 1,400 feet!
After the hike we headed up the Lamar River Valley towards the Northeast entrance of the park. That was by far the most beautiful part of the park in my opinion–there were just some gorgeous mountain cliffs and the valley got nice and small as we approached the park entrance.
We finally found a date to head south and climb Mt. Thielsen! This time we were joined not only by Ezra but by Dan, a friend Forrest made when he worked the HP auction, who was back for another go-round in Oregon.
We had an absolutely beautiful day for a climb. The trail was really well constructed and the hike up the the PCT junction seemed like a breeze! (Dan for one might argue with me a bit on this.) When I got my first good view of the mountain I couldn’t help but notice its similarities to Mt. Crumpet (of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas fame). The scramble up the summit block was so much fun! Forrest scared himself a little bit when he decided to take an alternate (read: poor choice) route up but eventually we all found ourselves standing at 9,182 ft! (9.8 miles round trip, 3782 feet elevation gain)
The view was beautiful. We could see Bachelor, South Sister, Diamond Peak, and Mt. McLaughlin, not to mention Diamond Lake and Mt. Bailey. We headed down the mountain ready to go find a place to camp and grab some dinner.
Finding a place to camp turned out to be a little harder than we’d expected as all the campgrounds on Diamond Lake were closed for the season. We wound up camping on a Forest Service Road that took off for lakes to the north…we were near the much less scenic dumping grounds for Diamond Lake Resort. We found some wood for a fire, cooked dinner, drank a couple of beers and all promptly passed out. I spent most of the night shivering in my pathetic excuse for a sleeping bag (fabulous for light summer hiking and 40 degree nights…not so great for the fall 25 degree ones) but eventually Forrest took pity on me and shared a bit of his amazing old Coleman bag.
The next morning we headed to the Diamond Lake lodge for some coffee. It was fun to sit by the huge old (1920s?) fireplace and talk to the resort workers about the resort and the area but it was soon time to head south to Crater Lake.
I’d never seen the lake and it was pretty amazing. I do have to admit that I was more enamored with the view of the super fun mountain I’d climbed the day before across the lake. We hung out in the lobby of Crater Lake lodge while eating our breakfast of bagels and checked out the display of the lodge’s history. It was a little sad to see how much it would cost to stay and eat at that beautiful place…out of this world expensive! We checked out the small visitors center, took some pictures, and decided against doing the whole rim drive to head out along the Rouge River instead.
This ended up being a fabulous idea! We got to see the pretty falls near the headwaters as well as the place where the river actually runs underground through some lava tubes (Forrest and I stood on top of it!). Just on a whim we stopped to see Mill Creek Falls and instead found ourselves at the Avenue of the Boulders. We all had a blast scrambling around the big rocks to see where we could get ourselves. Eventually we found the falls but they weren’t near as exciting as the boulders had been.
After that we headed back to Corvallis–but what an awesome October weekend!
Sunday, Forrest, Ezra, Thomas, and I headed up the slopes of Mt. Washington (7,794 ft). We left Philomath about 6:30 in the morning and even I chowed down on a Egg McMuffin as we headed east. We arrived at the trail head about 8:30 and were immediately swarmed by mosquitoes.
We followed the Pacific Crest Trail south for about three miles to get to the climber’s trail–Forrest and I hiked this in a speedy 40 minutes! After that the going got slower for me as my cruise focus has dampened my exercise drive recently. Still, all things considered we made decent time to the summit block. From the base of the block to the summit was so much fun! There wasn’t anything overly technical but there was a lot of climbing and scrambling to be had.
We ate lunch at the top swarmed by flies instead of mosquitoes but the view certainly was something. To the north we could see Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Jefferson, to the south/south-east there’s the Three Sisters, and several others (I need to go over my Oregon peak picking some more with Forrest…).
The climb down was something as well. Fortunately we’d brought rope because we’d read about a sketchy area for down-climbing. Sketchy was right! We all basically lowered ourselves down the rope hand over hand while walking our feet along the nearly sheer crack we’d climbed up earlier–it was exhilarating to say the least!
From there Forrest and Thomas took off down the scree slope while Ezra and I chose the trail. We chose wrong. It was long and hot heading down across the ridge and things didn’t get much better once we reached the trees. Forrest and Thomas beat us by a good forty minutes and went swimming in Big Lake while we were still slogging down the PCT being eaten the whole way.
All in all, it was a good climb and gave me inspiration to start running again (and not only running, but running hills and running then repeatedly). Too bad it’ll all come to a halt when I get on a boat in six days…