Forum Index > Trip Reports > Big Quilcene, Marmot Pass, Buckhorn Mountain
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Arete
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 134 | TRs | Pics
Location: Bothell, WA
Arete
Member
PostMon Oct 15, 2007 6:14 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
After a great summer of adventures in the Cascades, our family decided to spend yesterday’s nice fall weather over in the Olympics. It had been more than a decade since I had been up to Marmot Pass and Buckhorn Mountain. We left Edmonds on the first Sunday ferry and hit the trailhead of the Upper Big Quilcene River at 9:00. The first couple of miles are an enchanting walk through wonderful forests rich with fungi and along cascading streams. The trail begins to climb steadily after the first campsite (about 2.5 miles from the trailhead). The views begin to open up as the trail traverses rockslides around 3-3.5 miles up and finally we came to Camp Mystery in the trees (first water since the last campsite) at just over 4.5 miles.  The trail quickly climbs into parkland and comes to the great views of Marmot Pass at 5.3 miles from the car. It took us three hours from the car.
Open slopes about 3.5 miles from the trailhead
Open slopes about 3.5 miles from the trailhead
Above Camp Mystery with the west ridge of Buckhorn Mtn behind
Above Camp Mystery with the west ridge of Buckhorn Mtn behind
Parkland just below Marmot Pass
Parkland just below Marmot Pass
Reaching Marmot Pass
Reaching Marmot Pass

I was looking forward to a well deserved rest but the youngsters of the group (who were obviously not carrying enough weight) vetoed that and charged off up the boot path toward Buckhorn Mountain. The boot path leaves the Tubal Cain Mine trail just 50 yards north of Marmot Pass (and at the junction it actually has become more distinct than the trail itself). The path wastes no time gaining elevation to the west ridge of Buckhorn Mountain.
Trail at Marmot Pass. Boot path ascends slopes in center to ridgeline.
Trail at Marmot Pass. Boot path ascends slopes in center to ridgeline.
Hiking above Marmot Pass
Hiking above Marmot Pass
Climbing up above Marmot Pass
Climbing up above Marmot Pass

The ridge itself is some wonderful alpine tundra, complete with a rich array of surface lichens. This is fragile alpine plant vegetation but it appears that folks are doing a good job of staying on the boot path. About 15 years ago I studied the alpine vegetation here and it appears well treated - with little change evident. We arrived at the summit, climbing almost 1,000 breezy feet from the pass, in a little less than an hour.
West ridge of Buckhorn Mountain
West ridge of Buckhorn Mountain
Lichen heath tundra on Buckhorn Mountain
Lichen heath tundra on Buckhorn Mountain
Summit of Buckhorn Mountain
Summit of Buckhorn Mountain

The views were spectacular all around, from the Cascades floating above Puget Sound, the islands and strait, to the Olympics stretching all around us.
Mt Constance
Mt Constance
Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan
Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan

Though we knew the ferry wait would be long and it was a school day coming, we couldn’t resist hanging out for an hour before descending. The trip back to the car was about 3 hours from the summit and included a disagreement with some local, yellow and black stinging inhabitants about a mile from the trailhead.  This is a wonderful trip from low to mid elevation forests up through subalpine parkland and into alpine tundra.
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: 13042 | TRs | Pics
Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostMon Oct 15, 2007 9:35 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks for the memories.  You must be really proud of your boys.
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
Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 4997 | TRs | Pics
Location: The flats of Ohio
Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger
PostMon Oct 15, 2007 9:59 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks for sharing such a great hike. I was supposed to go up there with Magellan last summer but couldn't make it. Really like your pictures up.gif

--------------
www.youtube.com/bkraai | www.flickr.com/photos/bkraai/sets/
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Ancient Ambler
Member
Member


Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 1050 | TRs | Pics
Location: Bainbridge Island
Ancient Ambler
Member
PostTue Oct 16, 2007 6:44 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
What an excellent choice for a family hike on what may be one of the last good-weather days before the snow sets in up on Buckhorn.  Your little troopers made good time to Marmot and did right to encourage you on up to the summit.  Enjoyed your photos of early season snow in the high country.  Especially enjoyed your "Mt. Constance" photo, although the actual Mt. Constance is east and outside of the view framed in your photo.   Inner Constance is in the right background, the twin peaks of Warrior are in the left middle-ground, and just in the foreground from Warrior is Alphabet Ridge, with Cloudy Peak on the west end of Alphabet Ridge, and a partially snowy shoulder going down from Cloudy toward Charlia Pass at the right edge of your photo.  That's quite a hike up the Upper Big Quil to the top of Buckhorn, almost 4500 foot elevation gain, so you've got some very sturdy young hikers there.  Not sure my kids would have done that at the same age.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
goats gone wild
Mr. Goat



Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Posts: 2526 | TRs | Pics
Location: Vampireville
goats gone wild
Mr. Goat
PostTue Oct 16, 2007 11:44 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Those look like some mighty happy campers    biggrin.gif  And quite proud to have reached the summit  (as well they should).

What wonderful family memories they will have.

--------------
.....leaving me wanting to return over and over in what ever capacity that may be, even if one day my knees are too old and I can only see the mountains from my porch.

Jason Hummel
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 > Big Quilcene, Marmot Pass, Buckhorn Mountain
  Happy Birthday Hiker Mama, ReubenD!
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