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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Big Craggy and West Craggy
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Roald
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Joined: 06 Aug 2007
Posts: 329 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle
Post Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:15 am    Big Craggy and West Craggy
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Big Craggy and West Craggy
July 25, 2007


Here is an edited report I wrote up last month about a day hike with my daughter to Big Craggy and West Craggy peaks.  Nothing adventurous, just a mellow day in a surprisingly beautiful corner of the Cascades...

I broke Tesha away from her crazy busy summer schedule  cool.gif  to visit the northeast corner of the Cascades.  I have been exploring this part of the Cascades with the enthusiasm of a recent convert, and this trip did nothing to quell my newfound devotion.

We drove up the West Chewuch and Eightmile valleys the night of July 24 and threw our bags on the ground at a deserted campground called “Nice.”  Things were looking good already.  Tesha battled moths attracted to her flashlight as she read a story out loud and I gazed at stars – a turnaround from years past when I was the story guy.  Life can be sweet.

We rustled up the next morning for an early start on the Copper Glance trail.  The hike begins on an old road to a mine that makes one marvel at the sheer will, desperation, and outright lunacy that must have fueled the quest for precious metals in these far-off places.  From the mine the trail heads west past some beautiful meadows:


When the trail crosses Copper Glance Creek at about 3.2 miles, you have a choice:  head northwest up valley toward the basin between the two Craggies, or north up the southeast slopes of Big Craggy.  We started toward the basin, thrashing through easy brush on the left (west) side of the creek.  But after a few hundred yards we backtracked to try the second option instead.  Big Craggy’s southeast slopes seemed to offer easier brush and a more direct approach.  Later in the day we returned to the trail via the basin, and that was ok too.

After a short while we popped out of the trees and began to dance with the highly moveable rocks on the slopes heading toward Big Craggy’s southeast ridge:


Views of impressive Isabella Ridge grew with every step:


Sounding like a self-help book, one route description says “Persevere to gain the summit.”  Persevere we did, up to the top of Big Craggy:


Fortunately, the crew seemed in good spirits:


I then took this photo, which I think is deserving of recognition for my brazenness in posting it and risking Tesha’s wrath:


There was a hatch of ladybugs also enjoying the sun at the top:


At this point I need to come clean and confess something:  We had more fun with the summit register than I think the Mountaineers who place these registers intend.  Most people modestly keep their entries to a minimum – name, rank, and serial number.  Some use the occasion to become on-the-spot weather reporters:  “Sunny and beautiful,” or “Overcast with rain on the horizon.”  Others reveal more than we might want to know about them.  Example:  At the top of Trico Mountain is an entry with an arrow pointing to the remains of a mosquito smashed on the page with the note: “This is Fred.  He was my friend.”

Fitting into that latter category, Tesha wrote a short note about a Bob Dylan song I had been singing on the way up.  Sitting here in the comfort of civilization, I now can recall much of the song.  On Big Craggy, however, I could remember only a single line, over and over:  “I’ll be your baaaaby tonight.”

“Hey,” I said as justification, “They say repetition is the key to humor...”

"You know, repetition is the key to humor."  This drove Tesha nuts.

Speaking of the weather two paragraphs ago, it was indeed beautiful.  And perhaps too comfortable, because we lounged around at the top while Tesha sketched in the summit register.  She drew a copy of the tattoo on her left shoulder.


That Tesha has a tattoo on her left shoulder is a notable event in and of itself, at least in my life, although that story is more appropriate for www.dadsinshock.net than for www.nwhikers.net.  I noticed The Tattoo soon after she came home this spring from college.

“Hey,” I said, “A rub-on tattoo!  I haven’t seen one of those for years!”  I started rubbing it to see how the ink would come off.

“Dad,” came the reply, “What are you doing to my shoulder?”

“Hey,” I said, ignoring my invasion of someone else’s personal space.  “This isn’t coming off.”

I had half a notion to rub harder, sort of like when Tesha was four years old and I would clean her face with tissue and spit.  Being a parent isn’t about being graceful.

This time I maintained calm enough to stop short of wiping spit on another person.  But needless to say, The Tattoo has not worn off.

I sometimes find this difficult to believe.  “I can’t believe you got a tattoo,” I tell Tesha occasionally.  I really don’t know how she puts up with this.

The crazy thing is, I’ll probably keep muttering such things for a long time, until the reality of The Tattoo really does sink in.  This experience has given me greater appreciation for all fathers, who are not known for their mental agility.  It is not that we try to be blind, thick-headed, and stubborn.  It is just that some facts have a hard time finding a home in our brains.  The reality of a kid’s new tattoo is but one example.  I would mention other examples, but they are too embarrassing.

As we all know, this makes being with your father a sometimes trying experience, a fact that makes Yana’s multiday excursion with her father all that more amazing and inspirational.  Yana must be a remarkable person for wanting to hike alone with her dad for so long.  And Yana’s dad must be a remarkable person for being the sort of dad his daughter enjoys hiking with.  (I am tempted to show Yana’s TR to my kids, as a not-too-subtle hint for a future excursion.  But a comparison with Yana’s dad is not likely to go in my favor.)

Anyway, there is a sketch of Tesha’s tattoo in the summit register of Big Craggy.  This might violate some code of conduct for summit registers, and if it does we – or rather she – will have to back there and erase it.  I mean, if we let this breach of summit register etiquette slide, who knows what people will do next.

After sketching and sleeping for a while, we traversed west and south to the saddle between Big Craggy and West Craggy.  At about this point I began fantasizing about a cold coffee concoction from a coffee stand in Winthrop that I like.  “It’s called something like a Creamocino, or  Creamofrappu,” I told Tesha.  "Or Crappofremo... No, that's not right... Anyway, it’s really good.”

The going down Big Craggy’s west ridge was better than the slopes coming up from the southeast:


The traverse involves some ups and downs along and to the south (left) of the ridge connecting the two peaks.  I had expected mostly class 2 walking, but a few times we had to take our hands out of our pockets:


We aimed for the main gully we had seen from Big Craggy, and dropped into it only a few hundred feet from the top of West Craggy’s SE ridge.  From the top of the ridge it is an uphill walk to West Craggy’s summit:


There were views all around:  west to the peaks around Lago, south to Gardner and North Gardner, and SW toward Silver Star and the Washington Pass area.  Particularly intriguing is the large area to the west of the Craggies.  The ridges and valleys all look accessible, and the map labels a valley one ridge over as “Lost River Gorge.”  That sounds very cool, and there appear to be no official trails going in there.  I wonder what it is like in there.


Coming SE down the gully off of West Craggy is not difficult, but it would be much more fun in the spring with snow.  We caught a few patches for glissading:


And then we were treated to the sweetest surprise of the trip.  The east face of Isabella Ridge rose to our right:


… And we stopped at two small tarns that are not on the map.  One is a meltwater pond in a talus depression, and the other is in a beautiful alpine setting:


One time coming off a scramble of Mt. Daniel, Tesha and I had so much fun roaming that we forgot to hike out as planned until it started to get dark.  We happily used this as an excuse to stay an extra night.  The headwaters of Copper Glance Creek had that same magical allure.  It was tempting to bivy overnight, but our lack of gear and food eventually would have made the night uncomfortable.  So we hiked through minor brush and wet meadows to the trail.  Jumping over downfall, Tesha climbed on a dead branch that broke off and scraped the back of her leg.  The call of the Frappucremo was strong, however, so she turned down an offer to bandage up her wound and we bombed down the trail to the car.  Her gash impressively oozed blood as we walked into a restaurant in Winthrop, and we gulped down our meal like wolves.  And then we got a big, sloppy, Frappucremo, or Creamofrappu.
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BeyondLost
Crazy Bob



Joined: 07 Jul 2007
Posts: 3473 | TRs | Pics
Location: Mazama, WA
Post Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:39 am   
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Nice pics and looks like a good trip. I see the Craggies all the time on my hikes but somehow never have gotten there. Now I will!  up.gif

Quote:
There were views all around:  west to the peaks around Lago, south to Gardner and North Gardner, and SW toward Silver Star and the Washington Pass area.  Particularly intriguing is the large area to the west of the Craggies.  The ridges and valleys all look accessible, and the map labels a valley one ridge over as “Lost River Gorge.”  That sounds very cool, and there appear to be no official trails going in there.  I wonder what it is like in there.

Regarding Lost River Gorge, it is pretty much inaccessible except at this time of year when the water is very low. It is extremely difficult even then. Be very careful not to go in if rain is even remotely in the forecast as there is no escape if a flash flood comes. frown.gif
You can go up the Lost River at Eureka Creek on the Monument Creek trail but you just go up the river bed or rock hop on the edge (not easy, I can attest). It is rather unique and impressive but not for the faint of heart. From the other end there is a trail for a short distance but then you are again in river bed. I have never camped in there but there are some limited spots a couple of miles in. I do know people who have gone all the way through in September and all said once is enough. hockeygrin.gif

--------------
"If you rest you rust."  Helen Hayes
"I would rather wear out then rust out." Helen Klein
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wildernessed
viewbagger



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 7169 | TRs | Pics
Location: Wenatchee
Post Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:57 am   
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Those are in my sights, we've been outflanking Lake Chelan and making are way around. Spectacular country, wide open, quiet places with big mountains and views. up.gif  up.gif
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peltoms
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Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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Post Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:57 am   
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Well we know which one of you is more photogenic! wink.gif  Those are some nice looking tarns.
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 3668 | TRs | Pics
Location: Shoreline
Post Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:18 pm   
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Great storytelling, especially about the tattoo.  BTW, what does it look like?  Did you get a picture of the register drawing?

This seems to be the summer for father/child trips.

That grassy meadow on the way to Big Craggy is one of the greenest spots I've ever seen in the Cascades.


--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Dean
(aka CascadeHiker)



Joined: 02 Mar 2002
Posts: 1936 | TRs | Pics
Location: ex Kennewick, Wa & Lehi Utah
Post Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:50 pm   
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A fun, well written story.  I have one daughter who loves to hike with me but she got married and now stays  home and tends her kids (her husband hikes with me though so its not a bad trade off)  I have another daughter who refuses to hike because she doesn't like getting dirt on anything.  She loves to shop at the mall.

Thanks for sharing your experience with your daughter with the rest of us and giving us a smile along with it.   up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

--------------
Dean - working in Utah for awhile and feeling like it is a 'paid' vacation.
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=1160
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Jamin Smitchger
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Post Sun Aug 26, 2007 2:21 pm   
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Don't worry, most climbers are pretty weird.
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Yana
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Joined: 03 Jun 2004
Posts: 3764 | TRs | Pics
Location: Out Hating
Post Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:14 pm   
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I missed this report when it was originally posted and just read it for the first time tonight. Really enjoyed the story and looking forward to seeing the summit register now.  up.gif

Roald wrote:

As we all know, this makes being with your father a sometimes trying experience, a fact that makes Yana’s multiday excursion with her father all that more amazing and inspirational.  Yana must be a remarkable person for wanting to hike alone with her dad for so long.  And Yana’s dad must be a remarkable person for being the sort of dad his daughter enjoys hiking with.  (I am tempted to show Yana’s TR to my kids, as a not-too-subtle hint for a future excursion.  But a comparison with Yana’s dad is not likely to go in my favor.)

lol.gif  embarassedlaugh.gif

Any luck with the future excursions?

--------------
PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
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Yet
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Joined: 23 Apr 2005
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Location: Happily Ever After
Post Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:17 am   
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Roald, I love this TR! I want to say more, but that really about sums it up. smile.gif

Your daughter kinda rocks, huh?  wink.gif
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