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DWB27
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 11:00 am 
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The annual trip had us return to attempt to get into Bacon Peak and Green Lake. This time… Success!  pig.gif


We started on Sunday taking the high route immediately south of the Watson Lake pass crest. It followed the ridge crest around toward upper Anderson Lakes and ended in a nice low track marked meadow just north of Upper Anderson Lakes before entering the endless bedrock and lateral moraines that make up the north face of Mount Watson. Nothing memorable here except tons of hikers at the TH, on the trail and at the Watson Lakes many campsites below us.


Weather easy, 65 degrees, breeze, sun, no fog! First tarn was dry! Midway pass where Sultan Guy did his crazy route was scoped out. We’ll go traditional. Steep down into the Noisy Creek drainage. Bear poop! Rising toward second tarn were alien like red flowers in a creek basin directing us east-southeast. 2nd tarn, boot path! Third tarn, a solid, cold drink. Then rising to the south end of Diobsud pass. Found what we call a nice sidewalk of level bedrock and solid snow to the pass.


Cirrus clouds building. Winds picking up. We knew the weather would not last. Set up camp in the dry. Rain by 6:30. We decided to camp high on the ridge overlooking the Diobsuds. After our last visit the Diobsuds are just not choice. Buggy, in a hole. Bad juju. Water in the tarn west of the lakes. We settle into cup of soup apps, top-ramon, Vienna sausage, seaweed and chocolate. Glass a black bear on the nob east of tomorrow’s route.

Sackungen! Thanks! Brush Buffalo

Dove in the tent listening to the Sounders pregame. Food in the bear hang. Radio on max volume as the tent was pelted with rain. Made fun of Bob Bradley “man made of wax” as the Sounders defeat LAFC 3-1. The rain continued long after the game ended. We woke up at 6 AM to medium fog, light wind. Huckleberries and Hemlocks drenched. We dawned our rain clothes and our Hillsound microspikes. Hillsounds are the secret NC weapon…


The boot path to the Diobsuds has faded in 2 years. We know the way but it’s not without some guessing and backtracking at cliffs. We see the out of park lake fire pit. Mental note if we get cold and wet on the way back. We enter NCNP. No rangers to greet us. We head up Prolific Pass. Drenched. We cut through a 100’ long swath of Ash. Boots squish water between our toes. Pants soaked. Gaiters sag. The last 3rd is easy steep under thick Spuce and Hemlock. Bear poop everywhere. We take a short break and descend north on the west side seeing a boot path swinging down and left. Mossy talus. Small trees. Mossy talus. A huge tree that stopped a 5-man boulder. We look east and see dense foliage. But there is a new downed log, long and straight pointing up the Noisy Creek drainage. We take it and pass into a boulder field making up the headwaters of Noisy Creek. Rocks the size of yurts, then dressers, then standard size. We trend up and north of the boulders trying the tall grasses and bunches of Ash. Can see the ceiling rising. A few cliffs top out. Huge, old trees look down upon us wondering what we are.
The cloud ceiling is at the heart height of the angel shaped snowfield rising slowly. We enter the fog and head left and away from the boulder field. Ash, tall grass transitions to heather with dirt flat spots. The air is drying out. We aren’t. Fog moves in and out. Sometimes we can see a ¼ mile, sometimes 100 feet. We think we see the end moraine. No, a big boulder. Then a snowfield behind huge boulders. There it is. We cross the moraine and hear water cascading down. Marmots announce our arrival. Pikas follow suit. We contemplate our camp choices. After discussion of pressing on and above we decide to be safe and camp where we know a flat spot exists close to water. The moss is surreal. Water Ozzles dip for bugs in the tarn with infinity pool outlet toward Mount Watson as if we are not even there. They swim and dive for bugs ignoring our presence 10-feet away.


Chicken and Dumplings for dinner. Mountain House nailed that one! Freeze dried icecream sandwich yum with no lactose aftereffects. Good! Triple seal food in bags and place on a high boulder. Figure all the bears are well below us where the berries are. But what about Ravens? Weather appears to be improving. Can see the summit of Bacon for the first time. We think we’ll awake to blue sky. Excited to press on.


We don’t! Dense fog surrounds our campsite at 6 AM. In and out the fog looms but is not menacing. Scrambled eggs and cream of wheat for breakfast. Instant coffee, hot tang. We pack up for our “fun day.” Tent stays put. We hike up the gut and then a bit north to a ridgeline high camp. Then onto the snow field south toward the summit. Snow firm but good for boots only. Cross an icy patch of the glacier to a 2nd high snow ridge west to the summit. We are 100-feet above the clouds. Baker! Shuksan! Blum! Hagan! Glacier Peak! Wind blowing from the north at 20 to 40 mph. We hide on the south face taking in the sun and warm. Boots about 75-percent dry!


From there we decide to head back below the snow and see if the weather improves. We check out the weather station and poke around the rocks looking for fossils. Some leaves, branches and odd shapes. We lunch, still foggy to the north and west. Then as the sun pounds us a waterfall and lake show up below and north of us! Green Lake! Berdeen’s lower falls! I literally have goosebumps from the sight. My cousin is summoned and his first response, “It looks like a fairyland down there!”


We pack up and slide down the snow fields maintaining a north trajectory gitty with the new view. Can’t see Bacon Laken yet. The way gets steeper with scrambling down talus and clean mudstone. At the second viewpoint there it is! Bacon Laken! We continue down the mudstone and cross a series of side moraines and heather slopes. Then to the valley floor with polished conglomerate, mudstone and gneiss. We then follow a perfect sidewalk on gneiss that is about 50-feet above and south of the Laken. It ends neatly in the west side moraine. We walk around the Laken to the outlet. Full sun!


We lunch and relax. Boots off! The rock is smooth, dry and easy on bare feet! I swim. So cold! So refreshing! What a place of pure magic! We glass the nob to the northwest and see a large black bear near the nob summit. Before we know it, we have to head back to beat the light.
We decide to go up the gut of the Bacon valley. Passing numerous tarns. The main creek does a series of sharp turns in the bedrock. I could have spent days exploring in here. Amazing geology and tarns! We know we can’t keep going up the valley without crossing steep cliffs and crevasses so cross the creek and head back up heather slopes and the side moraines and up the scramble of mudstone with slanted chimneys. Then back on snow fields and to the pass back down to our camp. The snow where we cross west is the sketchiest. Can’t see below in the fog but one slip and you’re sailing down a snowfield and glacier to certain death. In the fog, this was unnerving but quickly forgotten considering how beautiful the scenery was.
Going down we could not see more than 200-feet. Fog and wind had us guessing. The snowfields below us had us confused. All looked the same distance away. We trusted our gut and finally got a glimpse of our tent. No Raven visit! Good!
We arrived back at camp at about 6:30 and witnessed a marvelous sunset. Chili Mac and Cheese (Mountain House please replace your corny photo with this one of my cousin!), sardines! Protein needed! Slept well that night and again thought the weather was clearing.


Next morning up at 6 AM to dense, moist fog. Are you kidding me?!  curse.gif We pack up and start down and south into the Noisy Creek drainage. Rain streaks were smiling at us down valley. As we reached the low point it started to sprinkle. A bear was spotted right where we wanted to go. We put on the Hillsounds. Life saver! We progressed slowly and noisily toward the route toward Prolific Pass. Fresh bear scat but no bear. Now, drenched we realize we went up a shoot one east of the way we came down. Far less schwack so that was good. Take the gully with the obvious animal track running the north crest of the pass and about 40-feet vertically higher and east of the lowest pass. Keep east and near the cliffs that will keep you in this shoot until you get around them.


We lunch in the dry base of dense Spruce south of the pass. Soaked! Frustrated at the “mostly clear” forecast of our weather radio. We find a better route down in more forest cover than the way up. We traverse around the Diobsuds and up the heather and Hemlock ramps west of the Lakes. Each branch drenched with fresh rain. Gushy boots, tired, frustrated but knowing we had passed the worst travel area.


Wednesday night had the Sounders vs. Salt Lake so we camped in a similar area as day one to get the AM broadcast. Propack night! Lasagne. Solid! The clouds slowly dissipated to sun and we draped all our wet stuff on the heather. Stinky! Wet! As we listened my cousin would fall asleep but awaken when the announcers got all excited after the Sounders scored and then Salt Lake. Tie 2-2. I listened outside the tent and saw a goat a deer and a bear on a treed slope west of Bacon all within 100 feet of each other. A bear was also spotted just south of the west Diobsud. She’d lay on her belly and scoop up berries one paw at a time. Then get up and move a few feet, repeat. Once I dove in the full moon was out. Jupiter! Saturn! Vega. Cignus. Big Dipper. North Star! A clear night! The tent glowed all night.


We woke up to dry wind and blue sky! Finally! The goat was there in the morning as well. Granola for breakfast. White Trash mocha! Hot Tang! We packed up to head out. We were caught in fog just west of the pass last time but were hopeful this would not be the case this year. Crossed the pass, watered up from a melting snowfield and continued back the way we came. Clear and Sunny!  smile.gif Saw our first human in 5 days in the meadow between the Andersons. In the COVIDs it seemed strange for him to sit down near us. After lunch we headed down the heather trail traversing the east face of Watson Lake pass. Ran into a big group heading to the Berdeen. They asked about snow and water above the Diobsuds. We told them about the non-menacing bear. For a Thursday the Watson Lake Trail was packed with people heading in for the long Labor Day Weekend. Most masked up, some rather paranoid. We did not miss this being away and alone for 5 days!


We both commented on how hard it is to get into the Bacon Green Berdeen area and glad for it. With our average age 51, didn’t think we’d be back. Glad we went. Absolutely a fairyland!

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“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others." - H. Jackson Brown
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Andy D.
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 11:10 am 
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Great pictures!  up.gif Looks like a "fun" adventure, one that's been on my list for a long time!
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neek
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 11:13 am 
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DWB27 wrote:

wow, that's otherworldly
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KascadeFlat
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 12:51 pm 
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Quote:
Hillsounds are the secret NC weapon…

100% agreed! Someone shared this tip with me years ago (for dealing with scree) and it works surprisingly well.  agree.gif Your trip looks like a lot of fun, thanks for sharing!

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For a good time call: 1-800-SLD-ALDR.
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Dustin R
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PostWed Sep 09, 2020 2:49 pm 
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DWB27 wrote:
We both commented on how hard it is to get into the Bacon Green Berdeen area and glad for it. With our average age 51, didn’t think we’d be back. Glad we went. Absolutely a fairyland!


We were the group of 6 that ran into you guys Thursday, thanks for the info on Tired Tarn! I hope those beers were cold and crispy. Couldn't agree more with this quote, what a beatdown. We thought of you often with our perfect weather window, as we discussed how much more difficult it would be with even a short rain. Major extra credit points to y'all! We didn't see another soul until day 5 at the middle of the Blum lakes. I've already forgotten that black hole of a descent, will definitely be returning to this fairyland.
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Silas
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 11:27 am 
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Thanks for the great report. I had never thought about exiting via Noisy Creek; thanks for the beta. We hit Blum-Hagan-Bacon at the end of July and early August (maybe you saw a register we placed on Bacon?). Like you, we felt it was a magical place. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the little bit of masochist in all of us), I felt like we were always having to keep moving to make our exit day. Next time we will spend more layover days exploring the surrounding area. Your pictures are great. They bring back memories. Glad you beat the smoke.
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DWB27
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PostThu Sep 10, 2020 2:49 pm 
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Siaumell - yes, signed the new register. Took a bit to find it as it's the size of a 35 mm film canister (if you're younger than 35, its just a small tube). Orange color helped! Thanks!

Dustin - glad you got the solitude we're all searching for right now! Your weather timing, BINGO! Hope you post! Bears? Goats?

KascadeFlat - shhh, Hillsounds... Just enough to trust your footing in any foliage but not crampons where you might cut your Achilles or calf in half with a misstep.

Neek - That sunset lasted about 30 seconds. We were full bellied and giggling. I look up, see the bright red and orange, lunge for the camera, take a few photos and gone. Thanks!

Andy - happy to share deets, PM me. My 3rd try, 1st not even worth posting... TERRIBLE standing under a shower with 50 lbs on my back in 4 hours ish + cell phone toast while Bham basked in the sun! Many "if I woulda knowns" to be had in this area. Thanks!


The Bacon basin. As a geology geek. Just Wow!


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“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others." - H. Jackson Brown
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Rob
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PostSun Sep 13, 2020 7:29 pm 
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Quote:
Saw our first human in 5 days in the meadow between the Andersons. In the COVIDs it seemed strange for him to sit down near us.

Don't worry, I didn't have the virus and still don't.  I had to figure if you guys had been able to complete what you just did, you didn't either.  Seemed less of a risk than say, the drive home  smile.gif
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Bob2005
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PostSun Sep 13, 2020 7:44 pm 
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Click bait! I was expecting real bacon on the skillet.  wink.gif
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Brushbuffalo
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PostSun Sep 13, 2020 9:54 pm 
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DWB27 wrote:

Have a look over at http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8026089

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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DWB27
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 10:12 am 
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Brush Buffalo, which page? Lots of interesting stuff in that thread. Bacon is a delicious geo-smorgesbord.

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“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others." - H. Jackson Brown
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Brushbuffalo
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 12:29 pm 
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DWB27 wrote:
which page?

I was not specifically referring to your one picture, but just your comment about liking geology.
Sorry.

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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