Forum Index > Trip Reports > Paddy Go Easy - French Potholes - Tuck & Robin - 10/04/09
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Bedivere
Why Do Witches Burn?



Joined: 25 Jul 2008
Posts: 7362 | TRs
Location: The Hermitage
Bedivere
  Top

Why Do Witches Burn?
PostWed Oct 14, 2009 11:03 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
PART I - Introduction
(To get right to the pics and description, skip to Part II)

Joining this site has been one of the best things I've done.  I've met and hiked and skied with some really neat people since joining the fray around here.

Awhile back I was talking about (and asking a lot of questions) about fishing in the Trail Talk forum.  Member RPBrown introduced himself to me via PM and invited me to go along on a dayhike with him to check out some lakes I'd never been to and to stock some Golden Trout fry in a small, unnamed lake high on the ridgeline.  He's a member of the Trailblazers and offered to answer a lot of my questions about high lakes fishing too so I jumped at the offer.

We talked on the phone and via e-mail a couple times to iron out the details and the hike he described sounded pretty good to me.  I never actually looked at a map before the day of the hike as I know the area fairly well though have never been to the places we went to on that day.  I was thinking this would be around a 12 mile hike, which for me is a long day, close to the longest thing I've ever done.  Turns out it was a good thing I didn't look at the map beforehand or I might have bowed out on this one.  Or, I might not have...  There's a part of me that thinks if someone else can do it, well by gosh so can I.

Rich was a little hesitant about me bringing Jack along on this trip.  I got the impression he doesn't hike with dogs much, or maybe had a bad experience with one in the past.  He was afraid that we might encounter terrain too rough for Jack to negotiate or that Jack would jump in the lakes and scare off the fish but after hiking and skiing with Jack for the last 18 mos. I'm confident that Jack can handle just about anything I can and he doesn't like swimming so I talked him into letting Jack come along.  I think by the end of the day Jack's ability to handle the terrain we encountered, his energy, and his good nature and reasonably good manners earned Rich's respect.  I only hope I can say the same.   wink.gif

PART II - The longest single day hike of my life.

We got on the trail just a bit after 7:30.  There was a bit of overcast but the forecast called for improving weather -A chance of showers in the morning with afternoon clearing but cool, with the snow level around 6500 feet in the afternoon.

Sunrise on Nearby Peak from Paddy Go Easy Pass trail.
Sunrise on Nearby Peak from Paddy Go Easy Pass trail.

RPBrown is the fastest hiker I've ever hiked with.  He flies over any terrain.  I don't think his feet ever actually touch the ground.  I'm going to guess that if he wasn't waiting for me he'd have completed this hike in close to 2 hours less time.  I was playing catch-up all day long so didn't have a lot of time to think about photography.  If some of the pics from this trip have a "snapshot" feel to them it's because I usually didn't feel like I had the time for much shutter delay.  I got some of the best shots when we stopped for rests.

It was windy and bitingly cold at the top of Paddy Go Easy Pass.  The wind was out of the East and after the sheltered uphill hike to get the sweat going it was quite a shock to get to the pass and get blasted by that frigid air.

Looking East from the pass.
Looking East from the pass.

Needless to say we didn't linger at the pass.  We spent just enough time there to check the maps to see if it would be possible to follow the ridgeline over to the French Potholes, determined that there were some pretty cliffy looking contour lines between here and there and decided to stick with the trail and try a lower approach.

We dropped down into French Creek and followed the trail down the creek for probably about a mile and a half, then left the trail for some minor bushwhacking to the outlet gully of the French Potholes.  After a short traverse, a couple thick spots of brush and a few devil's club patches you get to a bouldery meadow a few hundred feet below the lower French Pothole. From here you have a choice of routes - you can head directly up one of the rocky chutes that go through the cliffs above or you can traverse the bottom of the meadow into the trees and then do a climbing traverse in the timber. We chose the more direct route.

Looking down at the meadowy area with distant peaks (Cashmere?)
Looking down at the meadowy area with distant peaks (Cashmere?)

There were some good sized boulders clogging the top of the chute we decided to try.  I saw Rich descending back towards me and calling out that he didn't think Jack would be able to make it through this section.  I asked him to wait while I climbed up and checked it out, no sense downclimbing all the way to the meadow and going for the traverse if we didn't have to.  There was one tough spot that after looking at it I knew we could get through so Rich proceeded up ahead.

RPBrown ascending the boulders at the top of the chute we chose.  You go through the hole formed by the stacked boulders near the top left - requires a bit of stemming.
RPBrown ascending the boulders at the top of the chute we chose.  You go through the hole formed by the stacked boulders near the top left - requires a bit of stemming.

I had to boost Jack up at the tricky spot to the next rock up, then tossed my pack up ahead of me and clambered up, but other than that it wasn't bad. Rich took this pic of me climbing up through the hole in the boulders:


A moment later we were in a nice, sub-alpine meadow just down a few feet from the lower French Pothole.


We traversed around the lower French Pothole, fishing as we went.  Caught a few skinny Rainbows.  Looks like they're reproducing here and thus too many for the available food supply.  The fish were a bit sluggish too, probably due to the water temp dropping in the cold weather.

Looking East from inlet of Lower French Pothole.

I must say that "French Potholes" is a really lousy name for these little lakes.  Makes them sound like nothing more than a couple of dirty little holes in the hillside when actually they're quite attractive subalpine and alpine lakes.

We then made our way through the scrubby trees up the slope and across some slabs to the upper French Pothole.  Threw our lines in the water here but got blanked.  Not sure if it was because the water temp had fallen too low in this higher lake or if the fish have died off for some reason.

Upper French Pothole from near it's outlet.
Upper French Pothole from near it's outlet.

From here we climbed the ridge to the Southwest and began a traverse along the ridgeline heading North towards Granite Mt. and Tuck & Robin lakes.

Looking back down to Upper French Pothole as we climbed the ridge.
Looking back down to Upper French Pothole as we climbed the ridge.

There was a forest fire burning somewhere off to the South or East and the haze was getting pretty thick at this point.  You could smell the smoke in the air and the views to the West towards Mt. Daniel & Cathedral Rock were pretty much ruined so I didn't get any good pictures that direction.

Our next stop would be two small unnamed tarns high on the ridgeline where we stopped to rest, eat, fish, and plant some fry.  This was a really pretty spot.

Reflection.
Reflection.
Here fishy, fishy, fishy.
Here fishy, fishy, fishy.

From here we did a short climbing traverse to a pass above upper Robin Lake.  As you can see from the pics, snow had fallen the previous few days and I'm really glad there wasn't more of it.  The pass above upper Robin Lake was quite wind loaded.  Traversing a boulder field that's covered with a foot or two of snow is a pain - you never know whether you're going to step on a boulder or into a space between them and posthole.  Fortunately, RPBrown was so much faster than me - I had only to follow in his footsteps.  Well, at least the ones that weren't postholes.

Jack looking down at upper Robin Lake from the pass.
Jack looking down at upper Robin Lake from the pass.

Other than the snow on the boulders, the descent down to Robin Lakes was pretty straightforward (though darned steep in places) and we picked up a fairly obvious climbing route down the ridgeline.

Reflection in tarn next to lower Robin Lake.
Reflection in tarn next to lower Robin Lake.

I've never been to Tuck & Robin Lakes before.  All I've ever heard about them, other than the fact they're quite scenic, is how overrun they are.  There's lots of scenic places in the mountains and I prefer my wilderness slightly more on the lonely side.  I think the snowfall of the previous few days scared everyone off though as we didn't see a soul the entire day.

It came as a bit of a shock to me just how deplorable the trail from Tuck to Robin lakes is.  I can't believe so many people are willing to navigate that steep, rooty, slippery, rocky, meandering mess of a trail.  I survived it though and down at Tuck Lake we saw bootprints in the snow, the first sign of another human all day long.

Late afternoon at Tuck's Pot.
Late afternoon at Tuck's Pot.

From here it's a full-on trail slog. The trail from Tuck Lakes down to the junction with the Hyas Lake/Deception Pass trail is in much better shape though very steep in places.  Getting up to Robin Lakes in July must be a really hot and sweaty proposition.  It was getting dark and we were back in the trees so no real reason to stop and nothing more to take pictures of.  We did stop once at the trail junction for water and a snack (thanks for the Hershey bar Rich!).  Then we fired up the afterburners and blew down the trail to the Hyas Lake/Deception Pass trailhead as fast as we could.  It was full dark and the bright full moon didn't offer any warmth so it was really cold too.  Since no one was around to give us a lift we marched about another mile back down the road to the truck at the Paddy Go Easy Pass TH, arriving about 9:10 PM.

Stats:  Somewhere  around 20 miles, 6000 ft. of elevation gain, 13.5 hours.  Longest single day hike of my life and yet I didn't feel that bad.  I think Jack probably hiked 40 miles total as he was constantly running ahead to RPBrown and then back to me.

--------------
Photo Portfolio
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Tazz
Member
Member


Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 7909 | TRs

Tazz
  Top

Member
PostWed Oct 14, 2009 11:15 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Nice Will!!!  great shots and sounds like lots of fun!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
furthur
Berry Bagger



Joined: 21 Sep 2006
Posts: 339 | TRs
Location: onward and upward
furthur
  Top

Berry Bagger
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 5:38 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
This reads like a DayHike Mike adventure, with fish.  I bet this gets lots of readers thinking of copying your route, though probably after the snow season.

Good dog, Jack!  And same to you, Willie.  Twenty mountain miles in one fall day earns you a big shiny medal.

--------------
"You're either on the bus or off the bus."
Kesey
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
DIYSteve
seeking hygge



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 12656 | TRs
Location: here now
DIYSteve
  Top

seeking hygge
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 8:02 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Will, that's a cool iteration of a classic route.  Great pics, fun story. up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
reststep
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 4397 | TRs

reststep
  Top

Member
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 9:41 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks for the report and pictures.

It looks like a fun route that I would like to try, but taking 2 or 3 days.  smile.gif

Your observation about the French Potholes is the same as mine about the Granite Mountain Potholes.  I wonder why they gave them that name because they are really beautiful lakes.

--------------
"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
ragman and rodman
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Apr 2005
Posts: 1217 | TRs
Location: http://rgervin.com/
ragman and rodman
  Top

Member
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 11:08 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks for the up close look at the French Potholes and the unnamed tarns... I've seen the French Potholes from Sherpani Peak and Granite Mtn South Peak (the peak in your "Reflection" and "fishy, fishy" shots)... but never got close to them.

I've never read about anyone visiting the French Potholes... only about those who have used the west side of the ridge to get from Sherpani to the unnamed tarns.

--------------
"Teanaway 70" Peaks List... a guide to hiking and scrambling in the Teanaway Area.
----------------
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
DIYSteve
seeking hygge



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 12656 | TRs
Location: here now
DIYSteve
  Top

seeking hygge
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 11:50 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
reststep wrote:
It looks like a fun route that I would like to try, but taking 2 or 3 days.  smile.gif

PGE Pass (or just below it) to Robin Lakes is a great non-technical cross country route.  Feel free to PM me for some route options before you plan your route.  And I suggest tagging the summit of Sherpani along the way.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Randy
Cube Rat



Joined: 18 Dec 2001
Posts: 2868 | TRs
Location: Near the Siamangs
Randy
  Top

Cube Rat
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 11:53 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Sherpani is definitley worth a visit. One of several surprisingly cool peaks along that ridge.  up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
fwb
Member
Member


Joined: 16 Oct 2008
Posts: 224 | TRs
Location: Mukilteo, WA
fwb
  Top

Member
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 12:02 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks for the nice report and looks like a great trip.  Good job Quite a trek for a day trip with snow (for Jack as well).   I've been having that route on my back-burner.  But with two new oil pans in one season am not feeling the love for that road.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
kleet
meat tornado



Joined: 06 Feb 2002
Posts: 5318 | TRs
Location: O no they dih ent
kleet
  Top

meat tornado
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 12:50 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
ragman and rodman wrote:
I've never read about anyone visiting the French Potholes...

These  clown.gif  did.

--------------
A fuxk, why do I not give one?
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Roald
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Aug 2007
Posts: 347 | TRs
Location: Seattle
Roald
  Top

Member
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 2:30 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Nice trip!  And inspiring too.

Years ago my daughter and I named those two tarns on the east side of the Granite Peak ridge:  Willy and Roald Lakes.  Named after the stuffed bears we always carried.  She beat me in a game of Yahtzee after jumping in Willy (the higher) lake.  Now, if we could get those names to stick, that would be cool...
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10968 | TRs
Location: Going to Tukwila
Dayhike Mike
  Top

Bad MFKer
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 5:03 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Agree with the others...very very impressive dayhike. agree.gif

Thanks for the TR and nice pics! up.gif up.gif

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Get Out and Go
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 1901 | TRs
Location: Leavenworth
Get Out and Go
  Top

Member
PostFri Oct 16, 2009 8:16 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Looking at the title of your post, first impression was  "Oh, that sounds like a good overnight trip."  Then reading through.....OH!...All in a day's work!   dizzy.gif Great Trip!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
yukon222
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2007
Posts: 1862 | TRs

yukon222
  Top

Member
PostFri Oct 16, 2009 4:03 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Quite a trip, mixing in that much off-trail travel, with overall long distance day.  Excellent!!   smile.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 13090 | TRs
Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
  Top

Brutally Handsome
PostFri Oct 16, 2009 8:37 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Heckuvan effort W!  Good on you, RP, and Jack.  up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Paddy Go Easy - French Potholes - Tuck & Robin - 10/04/09
  Happy Birthday ddogg7864, M-Dart32, Henchbot, zaneullrich!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy