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Nancyann
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Location: Sultan Basin
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PostWed Aug 02, 2017 6:11 pm 
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Well, we weren't REALLY trying to be thru-hiker posers, but Hiking Partner's dog was carrying six days worth of food, so lots of people thought we were. lol.gif
I actually wasn't even going to post a TR for this one, but we had such a great time, I changed my mind. What made this trip memorable after being chased off the trail by smoke, was the fascinating people we met along the way.
No thru-hikers from Mexico yet, but quite a few groups of section hikers, two adventuresses from Wenatchee, and a couple of trail crew guys we ran into earlier in July near Diamond Creek, just before it went up in smoke. One of my favorites was a group who were unable to finish the PCT due to smoke five years ago after coming up from Mexico. They were having a reunion of sorts, heading for the Canadian border together. Like me, they were part of the Chaco Club, and had some colorful attire, including pink gaiters made out of bathrobe sleeves. The guy who wore them got them from a girl at Burning Man, who found the robe at Goodwill. He looked pretty stylish.. dizzy.gif
We were very fortunate to start our "six day" trip early Sunday morning, when the weather was gorgeous.
PCT Northbound from Slate Peak 7/30 - 8/1/17
PCT Northbound from Slate Peak 7/30 - 8/1/17
Looking west from the PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Looking west from the PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Looking west from the PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Looking west from the PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Looking west from the PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Looking west from the PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Mt. Baker emerging from clouds, PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Mt. Baker emerging from clouds, PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Mt. Baker emerging from clouds, PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Mt. Baker emerging from clouds, PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17

Many of the beautiful meadows the PCT traversed still had lots of lupine, paintbrush, asters and daisies.
PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT northbound from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17

The trail passed through some interesting hills and meadows which are full of mining claims, and used to be inhabited by lots of miners.

PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17

As we traversed below Tamarack Peak, we enjoyed the larches and views over to Buttermilk Ridge and Pasayten Peak.

PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17

From Devil's Backbone, we got good views north to where we would be headed the next day.

PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17

The second day started out sunny, but soon a haze crept in from the northeast. We met our trail crew friends below Holman Pass. They had just crossed over Woody Pass up ahead, and said smoke was pouring over the pass from the east. We were hoping it was just diurnal, and would blow away later in the day, but they felt it was more serious than that.
We hiked for a few more hours up to Goat Creek, where we stopped for water. The thru-hiker reunion group was there, and we also met Lisa and Micha from Wenatchee, who had quite a story to tell. They had hiked up to Buttermilk Ridge from Slate Pass and then looped over to the PCT via Rock Creek, battling downed trees and sketchy trail for several days. What tough ladies they are, and what fantastic positive attitudes they had, still having fun despite their travails.
After filing up on water, we proceeded north to Woody Pass, which was barely visible in the smoke. At this point, I thought to myself, "Uh, no. This does not look like fun anymore, and that's what we are here for. " I told Hiking Partner it was time to cut our losses and high-tail it outa there! He quickly concurred, partially because he was already running out of bug spray. biggrin.gif
So, to make a long story short, we backtracked all the way to Devil's Backbone, where we set up camp that night, got up at 5am the next morning, and marched all the way back to Slate Peak, in smoke the entire way. rant.gif
Here are a few pics taken in the evening from our camp at Devil's Backbone, a very sweet campsite.

PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17

Some pics taken the next morning..

Buckskin Ridge from Devil's Backbone, PCT, Pasayten Wilderness 8/1/17
Buckskin Ridge from Devil's Backbone, PCT, Pasayten Wilderness 8/1/17
Looking north up the PCT from Windy Pass, Pasayten Wilderness 8/1/17
Looking north up the PCT from Windy Pass, Pasayten Wilderness 8/1/17
Looking towards Mazama from the road to Harts Pass 8/1/17
Looking towards Mazama from the road to Harts Pass 8/1/17

Interestingly, the haze didn't affect some close up photos of wildflowers that last morning. I loved the pink and magenta paintbrush especially, so lovely!

Wildflowers, PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Wildflowers, PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Wildflowers, PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Wildflowers, PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Wildflowers, PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Wildflowers, PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Wildflowers, PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Wildflowers, PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Wildflowers, PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17
Wildflowers, PCT north from Slate Peak 7/30-8/1/17

On our way back, we passed many dayhikers vacationing in Mazama who were up on the PCT trying to escape the smoke, unsuccessfully. We felt kind of sorry for them, especially as we were driving back from Harts Pass, because the smoke seemed to be worsening as the day progressed. We were very thankful to be on our way out, happy to be saving the rest of the trail for this fall or next year. smile.gif
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Brushbuffalo
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Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
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PostWed Aug 02, 2017 6:39 pm 
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Nancyann, soŕry your trip was cut short due to smoke. That seems to be a theme these past few years. That section is one of most scenic of the PCT. It demands a rematch!
As i write, the smoke is  thick here near Bellingham.  Some sources blame fires in BC, others cite fires in WA ( and we have a new one on S. Chuckanut Mountain.).

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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wildernessed
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PostWed Aug 02, 2017 7:30 pm 
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up.gif Some nice pics and wildflowers !

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Living in the Anthropocene
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Nancyann
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Location: Sultan Basin
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PostWed Aug 02, 2017 7:45 pm 
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Yes, Brushbuffalo, we will be going back. It is one of the few PCT sections in Washington I have not been on, so I was really excited to finally get up there.
The smoke really detracted from the experience though, no point in being miserable. We weren't even going all the way to the border anyway, instead we were going to head east down Frosty Creek, take a look at some interesting spots along the way, and then go back via the West Fork Pasayten. That looked worse than LA on a smoggy day though!
Thanks, wildernessed, I was surprised to find so many wildflowers still in bloom. I was wondering if you know those two gals from Wenatchee we met. They were so cool. biggrin.gif
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KarlK
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PostWed Aug 02, 2017 7:56 pm 
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I love those meadows!  up.gif

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Karl J Kaiyala
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Brushbuffalo
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PostWed Oct 31, 2018 11:06 pm 
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I read this again just after the epic on the PCT in late  October 2018 involving "City Girl" .
What a contrast!!

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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wolffie
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 4:38 pm 
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Al hiked all the way to Canada on the PCT!   Well, yeah, he's a poser, sure.
Al hiked all the way to Canada on the PCT!   Well, yeah, he's a poser, sure.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Poser Thru-hikers Smoked Off the PCT, Slate Peak northbound
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