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mtn_wanderer
Mountain Wanderer



Joined: 17 Jul 2019
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Location: Pinehurst, ID
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Mountain Wanderer
PostTue Sep 08, 2020 8:16 am 
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We started on this route on a Monday and so we were not expecting to see anyone....

That all changed at the trailhead when we saw a couple campers and a day hiker. That's just the way it has been this year.

Jessie from the YouTube Channel HYOY-WU invited me on this trip through the Cabinet Mountains. This route was just outside of Libby, Montana and not one that I have done before.

We followed Flower Creek up on the first day. Our goal was to get up to Sky Lakes and camp for the night. The trail was in great shape and gently climbed up through the forest towards the Cabinet Divide. As it turns out, the campers were also going to Sky Lakes and had already claimed the best campsite. We bushwhacked a bit and found a decent site back in the trees a bit. It was a little hike to the lake, but not too bad.

The next day we pulled out of Sky Lakes and back tracked down to where we had left the main trail the day before. Then we started the real climb up to the Cabinet Divide. It was uphill all of the way, but the grade was good. I purposely didn't fill my water all of the way up when we left camp because I saw on the map were we would intersect a stream a lot farther up the trail. Lucky for me, there was still water coming out of the mountain there because there was no more water for the next 8-9 miles.

We finally trudged up the rest of the climb and made it to the divide. The views were incredible! It's amazing how much some hills can change when you look at them from a new vantage point! From there it would be a ridge walk across the North Cabinet Divide over to Upper Cedar Lake. As with all ridges, even though you're on top, the climbing is not over. We went up and down on our way over. Finally we crested a little rise and were presented with a stunning view of the Cedar Lakes. From there we wound our way around the mountain and over towards the lake. It was a really long decent.

We camped on the shoreline with an incredible view of the lake.

The next day I left the rest of the group and took a different way back. They had a car staged at the bottom of the drainage they were in and I had to get back to my car at the Flower Creek trailhead.

I climbed up a small hill and dropped in to the Parmenter Creek drainage. This section was really steep. Definitely the steepest trail that we had done the entire trip. After descending a few hundred feet, I was back in the forest. Once down by the creek, the grade flattened out a bit and I was able to make some time. I had to take a connecting trail to get back to Flower Creek. This trail climbed the whole way and after 8 miles of descending... I was wore out. I had never been so happy to see my car.

I had to get back to my house because I had to resupply to go out the very next day into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. But that is another story....

Thanks for checking it out!

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RichP
here and there



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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here and there
PostTue Sep 08, 2020 9:20 am 
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Gorgeous. I haven't made it to the Cabinets yet but am looking forward to it. Enjoyed the video.  up.gif
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mtn_wanderer
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Joined: 17 Jul 2019
Posts: 26 | TRs
Location: Pinehurst, ID
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 9:39 am 
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The Cabinets are definitely worth a trip. My only complaint is that there are not a lot of loops you can make. Many of the trails are in and out. you won't be disappointed though.
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Chief Joseph
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 10:00 am 
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Nice! It's only a couple hour drive from where I am now, but probably like many things, it will have to wait until next year. But thanks for the report, I have been considering the Cabinets.

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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mtn_wanderer
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Joined: 17 Jul 2019
Posts: 26 | TRs
Location: Pinehurst, ID
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Mountain Wanderer
PostTue Sep 08, 2020 10:04 am 
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Chief Joseph wrote:
Nice! It's only a couple hour drive from where I am now, but probably like many things, it will have to wait until next year. But thanks for the report, I have been considering the Cabinets.

I've heard that the Cabinets just got their first dusting of snow this past weekend....
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Chief Joseph
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 10:27 am 
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Yes, my hiking friend is planning to come over this weekend and we will probably stick to the Selkirks since I need to stay close to home (Priest Lake) hopefully we can get up over the crest for a night to Fault lake and then hit Hunt lake on the way out.

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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mtn_wanderer
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Joined: 17 Jul 2019
Posts: 26 | TRs
Location: Pinehurst, ID
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PostTue Sep 08, 2020 10:33 am 
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Nice! Those lakes are on my list to get to!
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drv8535
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Joined: 06 Apr 2019
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Location: Spokane
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Darrick
PostTue Sep 29, 2020 2:24 pm 
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Awesome trip! We did almost an identical trip in August - the only difference was we started at Parmenter Creek TH instead because we didn't want to finish this loop going 1000' uphill huh.gif

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8032372&highlight=cedar+lk+lake

Also, from Sky Lakes, instead of going back down to the valley, we went up to the ridge off trail and sideskirted Sugarloaf until we reconnected with 360N. Little dicey in a few spots lol.

Great videos btw! I've seen most of your's on youtube - lots of places I need to go see!
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mtn_wanderer
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Posts: 26 | TRs
Location: Pinehurst, ID
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PostTue Sep 29, 2020 4:58 pm 
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Probably a smart choice starting at Parmenter. On my hike out that part about did me in. It was a slog getting back to Flower Creek.

I'm glad we backtracked to Flower Creek from Sky Lakes, that looked like a rough route you guys took.

The ridge walk over to Cedar Lakes might've been the highlight of the year for me. Easy walking and the views are incredible. That sheer drop with the bridge right before you get a view of Upper Cedar Lake took me completely by surprise. I had no idea that was coming. Since I have a healthy fear of heights I got through that section pretty quickly. I cut out all of my cursing from the video.  smile.gif
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