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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Circle Peak, Glacier Peak Wilderness
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 13983 | TRs | Pics

Post Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:47 pm    Circle Peak, Glacier Peak Wilderness
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Pardon the unwieldy language the 2003 and 2006 floods wreaked havoc not only on our roads and trails but its difficult on the English language to describe all of this (like as if the English language doesnt have enough problems on its own).

The Circle Peak trail is currently NOT easily accessed.  The Boundary Bridge is not repaired yet.  It is to be repaired by Federal Highways not the Forest Service, and not this year perhaps not even in 2008.  I called Federal Highways today to get a timeline, and someone called me back within hours!  Alas, I was out, and they only left me a contact name and number but at least they did that promptly.  But once this  bridge is back in, Circle Peak will be back in business with a new trail to the summit, and to Crystal Lake, then Meadow Mtn beyond, which was our main destination!

Because the Boundary Bridge over the Suiattle River has not yet been repaired, the only way to get to Circle Peak is from the White Chuck Road washed out so its a long way in a road-walk of the White Chuck Road to Rd 27 and the Crystal Creek trailhead.  The White Chuck walk requires a get-around of 3 massive washouts, and a creek ford (an easy rock-hop this time of year, likely problematic in early season).

To get around washout #2, take the old Stujack Creek road to the right not long after the 1st washout and walk that road about mile to an obvious  bootpath take the bootpath down to exit the forest onto the White Chuck road beyond the washout.  After crossing the White Chuck River (bridge intact), take the left Y.  (Road 27, unsigned).  The 27 road will switchback a few times, straighten out, then switchback again to the left after the left switchback, the road will widen and an obvious road-turned-trail is on the right (unsigned).  This is the Meadow Mtn road-turned-trail to Meadow Lake and Crystal Lake (the Crystal Lake intersection on this old road is signed and easily visible).  We chose to enter the area via Crystal because its much shorter than the Meadow Lake trail.  It is extremely brushy, however the tread is in excellent condition so your bottom half is doing the waltz on easy, open tread while the top half of your body is doing a combination of the Bosanova and The Swim.  The Crystal Creek road walk is about 1.5 miles of brush, and abruptly ends then you go up, up, up 700 feet to Crystal Lake.

We chose to hike to Crystal Lake on Friday.  Saturday we hiked to Circle Peak from Crystal Lake on a brand new trail so new that the trail crews boot-tracks are still visible in the tread!  Saturday afternoon we then moved camp to Meadow Lake and continued on Meadow Mtn Way on Sunday (see separate report).  Find the new trail at the outlet at Crystal Lake.  The new trail from Crystal to Circle trailhead is about 2 miles long; the Circle Peak trail is about 2 miles long, making it almost 8 miles RT from Crystal to Circle peak.  The new trail takes you to the Circle Peak trailhead where you begin to hike up to the summit.  Once this is all open and ready for public consumption, from the trailhead you will have 2 choices:  hike to Circle Peak, or to Crystal Lake (not a destination lake in my opinion, but great access to Meadow Mountain trail).

The Circle Peak trail itself is getting a face-lift.  New tread, new puncheon, new bridges.  Once that Boundary Bridge is in, it will be even more fabulous than before.  Sloan, Pugh, Baker, green Green Mountain, Buckindy, Downey, Dome, Glacier Peak its all visible from this wonderful summit surrounded by acre upon acre of meadows full of hellebore, blueberries, lupine, paintbrush, and bistort.

But first we need access.

I hope this report makes sense.  Pull out your map and guidebooks to see how this area was once accessed then youll know what Im talking about.


--------------
"How much does a case of beer weigh?

Z, NWHikers' Backcountry Travel Consultant
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 11821 | TRs | Pics
Location: Inexorable descent
Post Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:11 pm   
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Is my mailbox/register still up there on Circle Peak?
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 13983 | TRs | Pics

Post Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:15 pm   
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It likely is, Magellan.  We were content to hang at the granny/children spot - we didn't scramble to the lookout site - sorry.

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"How much does a case of beer weigh?

Z, NWHikers' Backcountry Travel Consultant
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More Cowbell
Member
Member


Joined: 01 Jul 2006
Posts: 5497 | TRs | Pics

Post Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:20 am   
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borank.gif
I'm waiting for the mushroom pics from this trip by the way.

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If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes. - Unknown
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 13983 | TRs | Pics

Post Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:36 am   
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There were tons of humongous mushrooms along all trails we hiked.  Jeez.

JimK was the photographer of shrooms.  I didn't take too many photos of 'em.

Once he gets his photos together I'm sure he'll post a couple.

--------------
"How much does a case of beer weigh?

Z, NWHikers' Backcountry Travel Consultant
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JimK
Member



Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5116 | TRs | Pics
Location: Ballard
Post Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:41 am   
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Lots of strange shapes and dinner plate sizes. Here are a few:


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Hiking Northwest
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JimK
Member



Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5116 | TRs | Pics
Location: Ballard
Post Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:50 am   
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I stumbled onto Magellan's Summit Post page for Circle Peak.

Summit Post Page

I added my trip report and will upload some photos as well.

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Hiking Northwest
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 11821 | TRs | Pics
Location: Inexorable descent
Post Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:31 pm   
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Thanks for that Jim.  I gave up all my mountain pages on SP except that one.    You are reminding me to go update the page.  Thanks again guys for showing me pictures of an old friend.
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 13983 | TRs | Pics

Post Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:50 pm   
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I spoke to the contractor for the Boundary Bridge today.  She said there will be a public comment period sometime in the next several weeks.  It will be advertised in the Darrington paper (is there a Darrington paper?) and the Seattle Times.  Check this website too.  Not sure if it'll be advertised here, but it might be.....

She said if there are no obstacles, the bridge site will be repaired in 2009.

She is also the contractor for the White Chuck bridge (the Boat Launch area - that bridge goes to the White Chuck Bench trail and connects to the old Mtn Loop highway on the other side of the river).  That bridge is also slated for 2009 repair.

--------------
"How much does a case of beer weigh?

Z, NWHikers' Backcountry Travel Consultant
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 11821 | TRs | Pics
Location: Inexorable descent
Post Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:13 pm   
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Thanks for the info Quarky.
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