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Tom
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PostWed Apr 24, 2002 11:01 pm 
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It was 5:05 AM Sunday morning as we waited at the North Bend McDonalds for our Middle Fork transportation to arrive.  I looked at Mike [Collins] and joked, "well, I hope Craig [the Beave] didn't forget to set his alarm".  Ten minutes later a black extended cab Toyota Tacoma 4x4 appeared out of darkness and we breathed a sigh of relief...  We planned to hook up with some of Mike's hiking buddies camped a few miles up Dingford Creek at 2500'.  They were leaving at 7AM (sharp) to climb Sorcery Peak (point 5273') and Little Bulger (point 5111').  Thanks our tardiness we found the steep climb up Sorcery Peak already broken for us. biggrin.gif   By 10AM we caught up to the rest of the gang atop the summit of Sorcery.  Due to the fog there wasn't much of a view, but being able to joke around with a great group of guys made it worth the while.  After lunch we dropped down to Le Fay Lake and then around Merlin Lake to ascend Little Bulger.  The climb up Little Bulger was a bit more difficult than Sorcery as we were postholing and slipping far more frequently.  By the time we reached the summit of Little Bulger we were definitely petered out.  Thanks to the everpresent fog the views were again hidden, but we did get a few breathtaking glimples of the surrounding peaks, only to disappear as soon as the camera lens extended. tongue.gif  We glisaded down Bulger, snowshoed across Myrtle Lake, and followed Dingford Creek a never ending 5 miles or so back to the trailhead.  This was one of the more tiring hikes I've done in a while.  A famished Beave and I decided a Mexican feast at North Bend was ample reward and none too soon - one of us forgot to pack our lunch. wink.gif  OK, enough rambling, here are the pictures.
3D Map
3D Map
Taking A Breather Climbing Up Sorcery Peak
Taking A Breather Climbing Up Sorcery Peak
Looking Up To Summit of Sorcery Peak (Point 5273':)
Looking Up To Summit of Sorcery Peak (Point 5273')
Snowshoeing Along Merlin Lake
Snowshoeing Along Merlin Lake
Looking Back To Merlin Lake Outlet
Looking Back To Merlin Lake Outlet
Craig Atop Little Bulger (Point 5111':)
Craig Atop Little Bulger (Point 5111')
Descending Little Bulger (Point 5111':)
Descending Little Bulger (Point 5111')
Dingford Creek
Dingford Creek
Dingford Creek
Dingford Creek
Dingford Creek
Dingford Creek
Mossy Trees Along Dingford Creek Trail
Mossy Trees Along Dingford Creek Trail
Pumpkinseed Outlet
Pumpkinseed Outlet
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Stefan
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PostThu Apr 25, 2002 8:31 am 
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I almost joined you guys......maybe another time Tom!

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Art is an adventure.
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catwoman
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Location: somewhere near Tacoma
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PostThu Apr 25, 2002 8:48 am 
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Where did you get that 3D map?  That's pretty cool!
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Randy
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Location: Near the Siamangs
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PostThu Apr 25, 2002 9:10 am 
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Hey, nice report. Sounds like it was a fun trip despite the typical MFK weather.
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Tom
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PostFri Apr 26, 2002 1:42 pm 
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Stefan, some of your trips sound scarier than BPJ's rigs.  I might be scared away if I knew you were coming biggrin.gif.

Catwoman, that map was created via Delorme 3D Topo Quads (makes decent 3D maps with a lot of "fiddling" rolleyes.gif).  The software runs 90 bucks or so (per state).  I've found the 3D feature helpful at times, but it's not really worth it IMO unless you have no other mapping software at your disposal and are satisfied with very poor quality USGS scans.

Yep Randy, the MFK is not necessarily the place to go on an iffy day (unless your goal is to shoot mossy trees and waterfalls).  Good company always makes it worthwhile, whatever the weather.

BTW, Greg (aka "Pilar") had a nice write up of the trip (and the day before).  It was so entertaining and well done I took the liberty of adding it below.

Quote:
Subject: Pricemore or Less

Here it is kids!!!  I thought someone else was going to write it up, but having seen nothing in print as of yet I gave it a go!!!  Try to enjoy!

PS if anyone is offended edit at will!!!

Getting there:  Drive up the Middle Fork Road and park at the Dingford Creek trailhead.

The trail:  Things didn't begin all that smoothly.  Originally Mitch and I were going to go in and climb three relatively obscure peaks on the "Homecourt" list:  "Price Mtn." (5,587'), "Sorcery Mtn." (5,273'), and "Little Bulger" (5,111').  Well Mitch and I turned into Mark Owen, Don Beavon, Jerry Huddle, Dr. John, Dick Michelson, James F., Juan Lira, Don Goodman, John Petrosky.  Did I forget anyone?  JR, Dick, James and Juan were planning just on 1 day in to climb Price and back out.  The rest of us were in for (what Mitch promised) was supposed to be a gorgeous weekend, hmmmm!  I personally was the last to arrive making for a very angry mob as I approached the parking lot.  Fortunately for me I had Mitch in my "camp" and the gang waited begrudgingly as I rolled in about 20 minutes late.  Oops!  We then piled into three cars and headed out on our big adventure.

The day began under dark misty skies as we headed up the trail.  The seven of us with overnight packs, the other three only carrying tiny little day packs, deposited our loads a couple of miles up the trail, just beyond the confluence of Goat Creek with Dingford Creek at ~2,600'.  Our first obstacle was crossing Dingford Creek, which was adeptly sought out by Mr. Roper.  His log crossing technique was fine except for his dismount on the other side; in his defense he did do the entire crossing bi-pedally while I crossed quad-pedally!!  We then proceeded to climb steadily up the wrong ridge to the west of Price Lake.  The incredible visibility didn't help much (we were lucky to see everyone in our party standing in a circle, holding hands!!).  Once we had figured out our mistake it was either go back down, drop down to about 4,600' or attempt to traverse the ridge.  We opted for "traverse the ridge" and that is what we proceeded to do (at this point Dick M's ankle was bothering him so he turned back).  With Mitch and Don G. in the lead this went by quite smoothly without any problems.  We finally found ourselves on the summit around 3:30 no speed records here!!!  The sun came out on the summit as JR rolled in about 15 minutes after everyone else had summitted.  He then proceeded to thank us for the "great conversation" we'd provided him and that he might have to count it as a "solo" trip, based on our phenomenal companionship!!  The views were astounding as we had "breath-taking" views of each other from the top.  After enjoying the "sun" for a while we headed due north off the summit heading for Dingford Creek.  The descent was uneventful and except for a few minor cliff bands to navigate around, we got down quickly.  Once at the bottom of the valley we again had to cross the Dingford, this time across a different log, but again JR had some trouble on the dismount.  The dismount was a 5.10 root wad up a snowy chimney, fortunately for John an alert Don Beavon kept him from plunging into the icy depths of the Dingford by providing him with a minor boost as John began to "peel" off the route!!!  Everyone then crossed safely and we said our good-byes to John, Juan and James.

Our remaining lot then proceeded to set up camp on the lovely shores of the Dingford.  Once we got our tents up "Eagle Scout" Mark took little Mitchy Bee on a "how to build a fire" seminar.  Needless to say Mitchy was a slow learner and after about 2 hours we had quite a bon-fire.  Everyone played a critical role in the success of our humble fire.  Mitchy was the "Hacker", his job was to bludgeon damp wood with his ice axe and impregnate each piece with a bit more snow.  The "Poker" was Don B. and it was his duty to poke the fire and make sure that everyone had a face full of smoke (occasionally he would add tooth-pick sized pieces of wood).  John P was the "Great Woodsman" and he single handedly cut down an old-growth tree with a pruning saw and then hauled it over to our "moist fire", I was known as the "Tornado" as I kept providing oxygen for the embers, Jerry and Don G provided us with food and water and of course the most important player Mark O. Eagle scout extraordinaire known as "The Flame Thrower" as he dumped gallon after gallon of white gas on our pathetic little fire to try and coerce it into burning.  We were all very tired by the time the fire finally began to burn and decided to call it a night around 9:30 or so.

The next day dawned a gorgeous shade of gray with a fine drizzle filling the air.  After a short breakfast we set out for Sorcery almost due north of our camp.  We made quick work of this peak arriving on the summit before 9:30.  The views, well they seem to all blur together, stunk!  We were then joined by Mike Collins, Craig and Tom.  They had met at 5:00 in the morning and followed our steps up to the summit.  They arrived about fifteen minutes after we had.  It was great seeing Mike C. who can make any day seem bright and cheery.  We hung out here for about half an hour where we said good-bye to Jerry who'd had enough of this cold, wet, snow sloggin' so the nine of us who remained began our descent to Le Fay lake en route to climbing Little Bulger our final destination.

We finally arrived at Le Fay Lake where we then began contouring towards Merlin Lake.  After getting to Merlin we then proceeded to cross the lake following otter tracks and then ascending up the gentle SE slopes of Little Bulger following Don B's lead.  It was now about 2:30 and we had both a fleeting view of the ridge we were on and a quick glimpse across the valley to a treed and snowy slope, nothing to write home about but we were so excited you'd have thought we'd seen the gates to Heaven!!!  After about 10 minutes we'd had enough views to fill a pinhead so down we went following the human otter Don G, whose wonderful glissade track made for a great descent.  From here it was all down hill and sideways back to camp (tedious and uneventful and thankful that we had snowshoes).  Once back at camp we packed up wet gear and toddled back down the trail to the car, arriving around 6:30, whew!!!!

What a trip over 8,000' of elevation and between 12-14 miles.  As much fun as we apparently had we saw nothing for 48 hours and once again proved that no gear no matter how "techy" or "spendy" works in a cool temperate rain forest, you might as well shop at Wall-mart and save a buck or two nuff said!!!

Take care kids,
Greg
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janders
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PostMon Apr 29, 2002 11:38 am 
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Thanks for the great report! Can you tell me what elevation the snow starts?  Were you all camping in snow at 2600'?

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Tom
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PostMon Apr 29, 2002 11:50 am 
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The snow started below 2000'.  We day tripped it so weren't camping with those guys, but yes they camped in the snow at around 2600'.
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