I got to the Park & Ride 6 minutes late. Parked, and got out of the rig, hitched up my britches and began to wander around looking at the faces of other outdoor enthusiasts meeting up with freinds, hoping to see Magellan or catch the eye of Curt. Though I had not met Curt before, somehow meeting folks you donít know at Park & Rides always works out just fine. Those meeting folks they don't know always let you catch their eye.
But wait, whatís this? Intrigued, I stopped. A car was parked there, engine running, but nobody in it. Yet I was not frightened - no, not me. I rather had a strong suspicion that this oddity somehow involved my party.
I was right. Magellan had locked his keys in his car - while it was running - and Curt had to drive him home to get another set of keys. I guess this is Magellanís way of answering my plea for a partner a few weeks ago. . :
The goofballs showed up, I climbed in Curtís rig, and away we went.
Round Lake, nestled in Lost Creek Ridge was the destination Ė one reason was that Magellan and I wished to find the long-abandoned Pugh Creek trail that runs out of Bingley Gap.
We left the Park & Ride about 7:15, and got to the trailhead at a time thereafter (I donít think anyone paid attention to the time).
Curt kept an eye out for vicious feces that might be lurking in the woods.
This trail is steep, but is always well maintained and easy to hike. One blowdown to contend with, but itís an easy hop-over. Magellan chose to try his luck going around it upslope while Curt and I spent and easy 17 seconds (each) scrambling over it, much like the multitudes had done before us. While Magellan flailed, floundered and wailed in the brush, Curt read War & Peace, and I built the next space shuttle. Finally we were on our way.
Poor, unimpressive Bingley Gap Ė how many have cursed it out of bitter disappointment, thinking great views to be had there. But I like it anyway.
Curt curled up into a cat-like ball and napped while Magellan and I bashed around, looking for remnants of Pugh Creek trail. Magellan eventually gave up, but I wanted to look just a smidge more. If I had more time, I would have continued a little bit more downslope, where the forest opens up, to look some more, but we had to get moving. According to Ron Taborís Routes & Rocks, the trail was already brushy then (trail not surveyed for R&R, it only gets a mention of its brushiness). Anyone know when the fire was? It's old - but after the trail, or before? If it was within the last 40 years, I imagine all traces of the trail are wiped out, so finding it would mean bashing to Pugh Creek. Which, from Meadow Mtn, looks like the trail went through expansive hanging valleys and meadows and would be a very beautiful place to be.
There is snow on the trail after the switchbacks beyond Bingley Gap, and looks to be continuous just past Round Lake. In some places, the slopes arenít snowy, but the trail is. The trail is merely inches-wide in places, and at times the snow was a little slicky-slushy, so it could be a tad sucky to the one who slips on the side-hill portion of the route. Itís a long, unencumbered way down that slope. Ah, but the viewsÖ.
We walked up to the 5800' (approx) bump due east of the Round Lake overlook. Ate, basked in the sun, and soaked in the views before turning back and heading home.
Magellan ain't as dumb as he looks (well, you'd have to ignore the car incident). He scrambled over the downed logs on the way back.
A great day with very nice, hilarious gentlemen, who sing - they only know the chorus of about 2 songs, but they have good voices and I never felt like clubbing them. From Curt, I learned the proper way to announce exiting the trail to switch jackets and fart. You simply tell it like it is.
-------------- "How much does a case of beer weigh?
My goodness, I'm really handsome. I mean, very handsome. Oh, what's the word I'm looking for? Severely handsome?
"Moron!" That was Quarks version of 'Good morning! I see you are in a bit of distress, what with your car running, and you locked out of it, and all.'
It was a great day to be out. I think this was my 6th time on this particular trail. It's a keeper; big trees, lakes, summits, outdoor wear fashionistas. Yep, this trail has it all.
I thought we might go to Breccia today, but a lazy start, and lazy hikers led us to settle for lunch on a knob above Round Lake. It was sure quiet in the woods today. We did see a beautiful 4 point buck right before parking, but we didn't see anything else until settling in at our overlook. Just above the lake, we saw what we believed to be bobcat tracks. I also saw the tell-tale signs in the snow of a raptor swooping in and snatching up his prey. Very cool.
Nothing speedy about this one. It was more about crazy talk, looking for stuff that doesn't exist anymore, and openly lusting for Dakobed. Glacier Peak was beautiful. Thanks for the great day, my friends.
9+ miles R/T, 4000' of gain, 8.5 hours car to car. One other group of three out today.
I will post some videos later. I also want to give a shout out to Esther, the almost 70 year old woman kicking butt on this trail. While we were napping at Bingley Gap on the way down, her party passed us. We never did catch them...
Yah, Esther and her husband were out there; I chatted a minute with her husband, who was sitting off the trail below Round Lake. He asked if we could see Glacier Peak from our viewpoint, and we said we could. He looked like he really wanted to see Glacier Peak, but Esther wasn't prepared for the slick snow, and had turned back.
I saw in this man myself some day in the future, getting a little long in the tooth and wishing so much to get a glimpse of my favorite freind, Glacier Peak. I felt bad that he wasn't going to get there this time, as he needed to get back to Esther. He talked a little about Lost Creek Ridge and Kennedy Hot Springs, and was interested in hearing about what Kennedy looks like now, after the floods of 2003.
Esther's husband loves that area, maybe as much as I do.
On the other hand, if it were me, I'd say the hell with Esther and go visit Glacier Peak.
as it was, my butt was tired by the time we got to Round Lake, and I told the boys to go on ahead to the bump and I'll hang out; Magellan nonchalantly said, "you can see Glacier Peak from there." That's all I needed - I pulled the lead out and went to the bump too.
-------------- "How much does a case of beer weigh?
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