Forum Index > Trip Reports > Off-trail fun: following the ridge between Cameron & Windfall Peak, ONP
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jask
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PostFri Nov 30, 2018 1:57 am 
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This year's trip in July started at Deer Park and ended in the parking lot on the Elwha.  I always like to plan for part of the trip to be cross-country, and because we attempted the same hike in 2014 going the opposite direction but were forced down by bad weather, it seemed like a good idea to try and do it right this time.
We followed Cameron Creek to the upper ford where we crossed, but instead of continuing by trail to Cameron Pass, veered off to the right and ended up in a big, open basin where plenty of water is available.
shortcut: up the ridge to the right
shortcut: up the ridge to the right

Right above us was the ridge we intended to follow, so we trudged up the steep (but not too steep) hillside to the ridgetop.  This little shortcut does save some miles compared to going over Cameron Pass and picking up the ridge from there.
Keeping below the ridgeline we traversed NW in lovely alpine and scree country. Remnants of an old path can apparently be found but we didn't find it until after about an hour's traversing. Once on the easy to follow way trail we noticed boot prints going in the opposite direction. I think this part of the traverse does get some use as it's described in a trail guide and in other trip reports.  At any rate we didn't see anybody up there (--- but 'Sir-Hikes-A-lot' was up there this year and we've already compared notes).  Approaching Lillian Pass we ditched the trail and just headed straight up the 6492 ft. mountain overlooking Lake Lillian.  A beautiful spot.
overlooking lk
overlooking lk
trail visible in background
trail visible in background
looking down on Lk. Lillian
looking down on Lk. Lillian

We continued our traverse through nice high alpine country in the direction of Windfall Peak.  The peak is easy to recognize with its flat top and grassy slopes.
ridge above Lillian
ridge above Lillian
Windfall Peak in background
Windfall Peak in background

The ridgeline became wooded and broken and it was hot & dry.  Water is scarce so do bring along plenty if you go this way.  We'd done this part of the ridge before but couldn't see (or remember) the spot where we emerged from the huge rock field/Stony Creek.  We just dropped and it turned out fine.
Elwha valley & ridge we followed down
Elwha valley & ridge we followed down
you need to like rocks if you do this trip
you need to like rocks if you do this trip

From here, just below Windfall Peak, we entered the woods for the long descent down to the Elwha. Knut walked into the field of a wildlife camera attached to a tree (probably part of the fisher reintroduction project - I'm sure they weren't expecting evidence that worn out looking men also wander these forests….).  For a little added spice we also got stung by hornets on the way down. Finally, the Elwha came into earshot and it felt pretty good to have a trail beneath our feet once again.  Not many people to be seen around the Elwha until you approach the old dam.  The trip was a good combination of both off & on trail through areas with very little people traffic.
heading down to the Elwha
heading down to the Elwha
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RodF
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PostFri Nov 30, 2018 2:47 pm 
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Very nice.  Imagine it's much easier route to do this way, than to pack water most of the way up from the Elwha to Windfall Peak?  Thanks for sharing!

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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meck
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PostFri Nov 30, 2018 6:56 pm 
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Sounds like a wonderful trip jask!  I take it the smoke had cleared out (or rather had not arrived) at that time?

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*pain is just your body telling you "you're doing it wrong"*
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jask
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PostSat Dec 01, 2018 6:37 am 
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The air was clear as a bell.  Water from the base of Windfall Peak is available before it tumbles down into the Lost River drainage.  Rod F - I think going up Stony Creek from the Elwha was easier than going down.  When we did that trip in the opposite direction we exited via Lake Lillian/Obstruction Point.  It was kind of a nice trip except for the weather.
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Pyrites
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PostSat Dec 01, 2018 6:21 pm 
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Flat out gorgeous.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Off-trail fun: following the ridge between Cameron & Windfall Peak, ONP
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