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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Oct 12, 2008 7:36 pm 
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First, Opus is responsible for the deterioration of this trip - you cannot talk badly about the weather gods!   shakehead.gif  Todd Johnson got his revenge!   However, I would like to invite several of the weather news-casters on our next hike - since it might guarantee better weather!   agree.gif  OK, back to the story.  David and I were forsaken by Trail Pair, Bad Dog (Joanna, WHY would someone do a day hike as an overnighter?  Good question, we discovered!!!), and Middle E.  But, wait, what's this?  Jim K and Gary were late arrivals.  They wanted to join us on Larch Lurking trip.  Two years earlier (almost to the day!) Jim K, Trail Pair and I did a trip to Wing and Lewis Lakes/Maple Pass Loop (Rainy Pass trailhead on Hwy 20) and had a gorgeous overnighter - finding blazing color all around.  Well, this weekend was "supposed to be" another knock-out Fall weekend with beautiful sun and warming on Sunday.  Perfect.  We got an early  redface.gif  start on Saturday, with the driver and Gus picking up David at 6:30 a.m. and Jim at 6:45 a.m.  Seemed to be a lot of traffic at that hour of the morning.  Little did we know we would be traveling to the Arctic on this day!   eek.gif We reached the trailhead a little before 10:00 a.m. and were, needless-to-say, just a little surprised to see so much snow and it was 27 degrees!   Someone didn't care!
Let's go!
Let's go!

All of us had seen the NW Hikers threads talking about various groups who were going to head to Wing Lake/Black this weekend.   hmmm.gif  Hmm, did they know something we didn't?   huh.gif  Probably Todd Johnson called them personally - because they hadn't said bad things about him.   embarassedlaugh.gif  There were very few cars in the lot - and those folks we did see all had DAY PACKS on!!!   paranoid.gif Not a good sign.  Undaunted, Jim K spurred us on.
Jim warming up the "pointing thing"
Jim warming up the "pointing thing"
Trailhead
Trailhead

Our plan was to see Larch and color.  Well, we did get Larch, but spectacular color was lacking.  In fact, the other bad thing, neither David nor the Driver had bothered to pack gaiters, figuring that there would be just a light dusting of snow - maybe at Wing!   shakehead.gif  Nervermind, on we pressed.
Initial snow along trail
Initial snow along trail
The limited color we would see
The limited color we would see
Winter Wonderland!
Winter Wonderland!
Trail intersection
Trail intersection

We wouldn't be heading to Lake Ann - but we would traverse above it.
One happy puppy!
One happy puppy!
Lake Ann below us
Lake Ann below us
Lake Ann - with lone Larch on the island
Lake Ann - with lone Larch on the island
Blue sky ahead
Blue sky ahead

When we got to the turn off for Lewis and Wing - I was ahead of the boys - seemed to be a few Kodak moments occurring that slowed them down.  So, I waited for them in the sun  - 
Black in distance across the snow field
Black in distance across the snow field

well, they sorta' missed the turn and were on their way up towards Heather Pass!   
Day hikers heading up towards Heather Pass
Day hikers heading up towards Heather Pass

Got them refocused and off we headed across the snow and on to the lakes.   
Still green Larch
Still green Larch
Larch lurkers
Larch lurkers

There was just this small issue of a HUGE boulder field between us and Lewis Lake - and with all of the snow (but not enough to make crossing the boulders a snap) - this would be a slow and treacherous route.  When we were here two years ago - you had your choice of dropping low below the boulders on a trail - or hopping straight across them.  Jim and I had chosen the direct route across, while Trail Pair had dropped lower.  Today, there wasn't a lot of choice - and we were following a newly broken trail as it headed across the boulders.  Our progress would be slowed. 
Crossing the steep boulder field to Lewis
Crossing the steep boulder field to Lewis
Boulder field on the way to Lewis Lake
Boulder field on the way to Lewis Lake

There was even some obvious "old snow" that must not have fully melted during the "summer."   
David crossing to old snow that remains under the new
David crossing to old snow that remains under the new

(Which brings up another point . . . we have had barely four months since we were doing "white hikes."  Not fair!    confused.gif )  However, carrying on, soon we had our first destination in site.
Lewis Lake with Black in the distance
Lewis Lake with Black in the distance
Route towards Lewis Lake across the Boulders
Route towards Lewis Lake across the Boulders
Lewis Lake with Black Mtn. in background
Lewis Lake with Black Mtn. in background

When we got to Lewis, we found a nice spot in the sun and had our lunch.  Quite pleasant - but still very chilly.  Soon, a group of four arrived - they planned to camp at Lewis and do some fishing.
Full pack to Lewis
Full pack to Lewis

They came prepared to scoop out snow . . .
Happy campers at Lewis Lake
Happy campers at Lewis Lake

but judging by their clothing, they weren't expecting this kind of snow either - they had on jeans, cotton tops and the one gal had on tennis shoes!  Two more were joining them for this overnight - hopefully they were all going to huddle together.  However, we didn't wait around to find out, we followed the trail around the north side of the lake to head up towards Wing Lake, taking in the views along the way.   
Lewis reflection looking east
Lewis reflection looking east
Heading to Wing Lake
1 label
Heading to Wing Lake
Lewis and Larch
Lewis and Larch
Lewis Lake below as we head to Wing
Lewis Lake below as we head to Wing
Stand of Larch below Wing Lake
Stand of Larch below Wing Lake
Looking east at the gorgeous panorama
Looking east at the gorgeous panorama
Our route to Wing Lake
Our route to Wing Lake
Larch "forest"
Larch "forest"

This looks a lot different than it did two years ago!   
Route to Wing Lake in 2006
Route to Wing Lake in 2006
Route to Wing Lake in 2006
Route to Wing Lake in 2006
Route up to Black Mtn. and Wing Lake
Route up to Black Mtn. and Wing Lake
Plane crossing above Black Mtn.
Plane crossing above Black Mtn.
Wing Lake with Black towering above
Wing Lake with Black towering above

What the camping looked like in 2006! 
Bob and Kolleen camping at Wing Lake (Sadie visiting!) in 2006
Bob and Kolleen camping at Wing Lake (Sadie visiting!) in 2006

But here is what the camping looked like this weekend!
Another group of hikers choosing Wing
Another group of hikers choosing Wing
Hikers at Wing Lake
Hikers at Wing Lake

We got our tents set up around 4:00 p.m. (the tarp tent was going to be a little "light" for this trip!) - and the weather was deteriorating rapidly.  Any plans for hike up towards the Black summit were dwindling.  David was having the same problem I was with cold, wet feet because of the deep snow and no gaiters.  I hopped into my tent and got my feet into the sleeping bag and wasn't about to budge.  Dining would be tent-(in)side, while the others dined al fresco a few feet beyond.
Dinner time and clouds rolling in
Dinner time and clouds rolling in

It was definitely going to be an early night.  And, it didn't get any warmer - meanwhile, the wind picked up now and then.  David's plans for some star shots were going to be dashed!  About midnight, what sounded an awful lot like rain, started.  Nah, couldn't be - this was supposed to be a "beautiful weekend in the mountains" those weather gods said.  Maybe it was just Larch needles falling.  Hmmm,  shakehead.gif  nope, definitely rain!  Well, at least it was warming up a little.   rolleyes.gif  Meanwhile, Gus was shivering and I ended up with the two of us on Big Agnes and half a dog in my mummy bag!   dizzy.gif  At least I could get some sleep now that he settled down.  This morning was dismal!  With even the breaking of dawn, the clouds had settled low - couldn't even see the surrounding peaks - and Black was right above us.
We didn't waste time with a hot breakfast - gulping some coffee and packing up was all we cared about.  We waited a bit for the weather to improve - which it did a little.  We were on the trail by 9:00 a.m.   
Hikers in the mist
Hikers in the mist
Fallen needles
Fallen needles
Gary heading down from Wing Lake
Gary heading down from Wing Lake

We decided to cut some of our time and distance by going around the south side of Lewis Lake and connect with the trail across the boulders a little sooner.  This worked pretty well.   
Lewis Lake Sunday morning
Lewis Lake Sunday morning
Reflections on Lewis Lake
Reflections on Lewis Lake
Jim and Gary crossing on the south side of Lewis Lake
Jim and Gary crossing on the south side of Lewis Lake

We managed to exert a little energy on this down climb - so Gary and Jim provided me with some entertainment!   lol.gif 
Woo-hoo - men stripping!
Woo-hoo - men stripping!

We progressed onward toward the boulder field - we weren't sure what we would get - since we were the first group out that morning - and the boulders could be slicker than snot.   
Larch, clouds and a gloomy morning
Larch, clouds and a gloomy morning
Small Larch
Small Larch
Lonely remaining red
Lonely remaining red
Gary and Jim starting across boulder fields
Gary and Jim starting across boulder fields
Looking back on our route to Lewis and Wing lakes
Looking back on our route to Lewis and Wing lakes

Actually, our crossing was much easier heading out than it had been going in - and much quicker too.  Just as we were heading up the last stretch above the boulders, we ran into the first of what would be many, many day hikers out on this somewhat gloomy day.   They decided they didn't want to make their way across the boulders and would opt for Heather Pass instead.  We didn't need any special equipment (note to self: Gaiters go into the pack from now on, right next to the Yak Trax!) - David did use Yak Trax, but the rest of us did fine just in boots on the way out.  Our visions of this
"Fire" above Lake Ann in 2006
"Fire" above Lake Ann in 2006

weren't realized - in fact, this has been the most mixed up year for flowers, foliage and conditions!  If you are planning a Larch trip, you may be too late.   
Charlie Brown's Larch Tree
Charlie Brown's Larch Tree

frown.gif
Gary or Jim will add the stats, but this has to be one of the shortest backpacking trips I've ever done!  It seemed a lot longer! But it took us less than half the time to get back to the car than it did to get to Wing Lake.  Of course, as soon as we got about 10 miles from the trailhead, the sky was beautiful blue and sunny - in fact, it was 61 by the time we reached Marblemount!  Maybe we should have stayed west!  Maybe this SHOULD have been a day hike!  Oh well, fun folks and we had a good time.  Especially Mr. G, who was sooooo happy to see snow again!   up.gif  up.gif

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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GeoTom
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Joined: 19 May 2005
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GeoTom
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PostSun Oct 12, 2008 7:47 pm 
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It appears that we made a wise decision to abandon plans for Black Peak this weekend.

Hope you're dried out and warmed up by now.

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Bad Dog
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Bad Dog
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PostSun Oct 12, 2008 7:49 pm 
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SD:  I thought about you all during this weekend and imagined you were being treated to most divine weather.  I had the reverse experience that you had. The weather was superb but the hike selection was lousy.  NEVER EVER go to Lake Ethel.  down.gif  down.gif  I'd trade places with your foggy yet beautiful hike any day!
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TrailPair
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Joined: 17 Apr 2005
Posts: 1700 | TRs

TrailPair
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PostSun Oct 12, 2008 8:06 pm 
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We are so glad that we just did a dayhike on Saturday! Who would have guessed that it would get so cold???   Just before we got to Excelsior Mt. the clouds moved in quickly. We were wondering if you got them, too. It is surprising that there was more snow at Rainy Pass than at Baker.

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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TrailPair
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TrailPair
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PostSun Oct 12, 2008 8:21 pm 
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Ah ha....so that is what the rare arctic larch looks like! up.gif

B

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3549 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostSun Oct 12, 2008 8:37 pm 
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Oh mighty Seattle weather forecasters - accept my humble apology!  You can turn that dial on your diabolical weather machine from rain back to sun.  I will never again criticize your poor forecasts!  If you demand a sacrifice let me know who to smite and they shall be smoten!

Despite the snow on the way in I had such high hopes for a spectacular trip.  Indeed it was - until about 5pm saturday night when the clouds rushed in.  We took a little bit of a beating on this one but the larch took it worse.  Beneath every larch we passed hiking out there was a good sized pile of needles.  Even some of the slightly green ones were dropping theirs already.  frown.gif

Click here for the full photo set.

Island
Island
Golden larch
Golden larch
Snowy larch
Snowy larch
Boulder field
Boulder field
Crossing the boulders
Crossing the boulders
Shedding larch
Shedding larch
Orange larch
Orange larch
Gusto the snow-shovel
Gusto the snow-shovel
Larch needles
Larch needles
Lewis lake
Lewis lake
Cold Lewis lake
Cold Lewis lake
Colorful larch
Colorful larch
Boulder
Boulder
Orange larch
Orange larch
Orange larch
Orange larch
At Wing lake
At Wing lake
Wing lake
Wing lake
Stump
Stump
Corteo peak
Corteo peak
Camp
Camp
Heading out
Heading out
Lewis lake
Lewis lake
Ice
Ice
Back to the big boulders
Back to the big boulders
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wildernessed
viewbagger



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 8922 | TRs
Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
viewbagger
PostSun Oct 12, 2008 9:02 pm 
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GeoTom wrote:
It appears that we made a wise decision to abandon plans for Black Peak this weekend.

Hope you're dried out and warmed up by now.

I looked over that way early this a.m. from Williams Butte, and was glad I did something else farther East.

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Living in the Anthropocene
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostSun Oct 12, 2008 9:50 pm 
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Sorry you guys got blasted by the weather.  I was totally suprised to see those clouds rolling in saturday night.  Poor larch!  shakehead.gif
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MtnManic
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Joined: 27 Feb 2008
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MtnManic
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PostSun Oct 12, 2008 9:56 pm 
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Hmm, apparently our "motel camp" weekend that wasn't turned out fine.  We noticed those same clouds rolling in as we left Blue Lk for Twisp - only to find our reserved motel room had "sprung a leak" and there were no vacancies to be found until Wenatchee - well, that blew Maple Pass for Sunday clear out of the running.

The "motel camping" replaced the planned car-camping due to the night time temperatures.

So, we drove home and parted ways.   It t'was a long day, leaving Kirkland at 8-ish (DAR having to leave Renton about 7:30), driving to Washington Pass, hiking, and driving home.

Love your pictures.  As many times as I've been to Maple, I've never been to the lakes.

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Backpacking: limited to one pack at a time.  Cameras: limited to as many as I can carry.
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trailjunky
Backcountry Bumpkin'



Joined: 14 Jun 2004
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trailjunky
Backcountry Bumpkin'
PostSun Oct 12, 2008 10:47 pm 
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Wow, nice trip and pics.  We almost bumped into you guys.  We had originally planned to hike into Wing Lake on Friday, but at last minute decided to abandon the slippery boulder hop for the trail to Scatter Lake.  We were up there Sunday though at Blue Lake.
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostMon Oct 13, 2008 7:58 am 
Sacraficial Hiker
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Opus wrote:
Oh mighty Seattle weather forecasters - accept my humble apology!  You can turn that dial on your diabolical weather machine from rain back to sun.  I will never again criticize your poor forecasts!  If you demand a sacrifice let me know who to smite and they shall be smoten!

hmmm.gif I nominate you - since you started all of this!  lol.gif   I only hope they don't put any qualifiers on what kind of sacrafice they'll accept - if they do, we're toast!   embarassedlaugh.gif   Glad to hear that the crummy weather wasn't just isolated to the Wing/Lewis Lake area, however!  s.d.

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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the Zachster
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the Zachster
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PostMon Oct 13, 2008 8:08 am 
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Great trip report! The pictures tell it all...cold, but very beautiful! And Opus, the pictures of the snowy boulder field crossing looked like alot of fun...

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"May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am"
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Karen²
A Real Canadian Girl



Joined: 25 Jul 2002
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Karen²
A Real Canadian Girl
PostMon Oct 13, 2008 8:11 am 
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Wow!   Look at all that snow there this year already!  That boulder field does not look like fun in those conditions!   shakehead.gif

You all have some great photos in there, I particularly like the one of Black Peak framed in the larch branches.

I noticed the larches in the Rockies this year were not entirely stellar as well.  Many were losing their needles while others were still green.  I also noticed they just didn't 'pop' like I had seen them in previous years.  They still are magnificent looking though, I never met a larch I didn't like!   hockeygrin.gif

Thanks for the report.
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Dani
Jasper's Mom



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
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Dani
Jasper's Mom
PostMon Oct 13, 2008 9:15 am 
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hEY i hear ya!  I was a cold night at ice lakes for me.  I had good time but I think I should made a day hike out of it instead.  campfire.gif  I was windy at ice lakes too but with the cloud clover it did warm up a bit the next day.  On the way out below Leroy basin It was actually warm enough for short sleeves.  How I miss summer already!!

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Keeping GeoTom in line since 1998
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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 22766 | TRs
Location: Cle Elum
Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob
PostMon Oct 13, 2008 9:23 am 
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Really great work guys.  I wouldnt have wanted to cross the talus field in the snow.....  Nice job. up.gif

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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