Forum Index > Trip Reports > Horseshoes, hand grenades, and Higgins - 2/28/09
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Middle E
no more moustache



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
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Location: Seattle, WA
Middle E
no more moustache
PostSat Feb 28, 2009 6:40 pm 
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These are all things where close is good enough, right?

The emails flew from Friday morning to evening - trial balloons floated up and were shot down.  A dozen destinations were considered. Eventually our group decided we preferred something relatively close and straightforward, given the snow conditions and weather.  Suzanne suggested Mt. Higgins, west of Darrington.  JimK, Trail Pair, and I agreed.  Jim and Suzanne had done it several times between them, in both summer and winter, so we had some experience.

The plan was to meet at the C Post Road turnoff from Hwy 530, just before the mile 38 marker, at 8:30am.  The Driver and I picked up Jim at the NE 65th P&R at 7:00 am.  We arrived at the rendezvous right at....8:00am.   Fortunately, Bob and Kolleen appeared after just a few minutes and we headed up the road.  It's rough at first but becomes a little better after you cross the Stillaguamish River.  Jim and Suzanne were very surpised at the expansive views that some clearcutting have opened up in the last two years.

About 0.8 miles from the road end we encountered the first of three sections where the road is badly washed out and rutted.  Low riders should probably retreat down the road and park.  There was one vehicle parked at the end of the road at 1600'.   By the time we headed up the road it was about 9:00am.  You hike on a road and then a trail for about 1.5 miles and 1000'.  There was virtually no snow to this point and we covered this quickly.  Clearcuts provide some views into the valley.
Whitehorse appears as we head up
Whitehorse appears as we head up

We entered the forest again, soon encountering snow, and came to Dick Creek.  There is not much water running but the crossing was a little tricky because of ice on the rocks on either side.  Some of us donned microspikes for the crossing.  After the crossing we climbed a bit more and eventually came out to a flatter more open section, where we had a bite to eat and put on snowshoes as the snow was deeper.
Gusto as the snow deepens
Gusto as the snow deepens
Early lunch stop
Early lunch stop

We had been following fresh tracks that we assumed were also headed to Higgins, but we were wrong.   These soon turned downhill and there was an awkward creek crossing.   They then turned in a direction that  seemed to me to head back the way we had come.  Sure enough, we soon came to Myrtle Lake, which is in the opposite direction of the route.   At this point we were a bit disoriented due to lack of visibility and terrain that seemed unfamiliar to those that had been here before.  We turned and headed east up the drainage, but were unsure of the exact route to take.  Suzanne thought we should head more uphill on the north side of the drainage to our left, but Kolleen's GPS insisted the summer trail was to our right.  We stayed right and I found a nice line up the head of the drainage.  Unfortunately, this was not the right line.

The wind picked up considerably as we gained elevation.  We reached the ridgeline just to the east (right) of the summit block.  Although we were only 50-100' and a few hundred yards away, it was too dangerous to traverse steep snow below the rocks ahead of us.  Both Jim and Suzanne remarked that they had been here before!
The summit block - so close
The summit block - so close

But the views were pretty fine anyway!
Rime ice on the trees
Rime ice on the trees
Other Higgins bumps
Other Higgins bumps
Looking toward the sound
Looking toward the sound
Whitehorse from Higgins
Whitehorse from Higgins

We didnt linger long because of the wind.  Exchanging snowshoes for microspikes and crampons, we quickly retreated 600' down and had lunch.  From this point we could have found the correct line to the summit, but I didn't detect much enthusiasm from the group in going back up...except maybe Gus!!

The trip out was uneventful.  We stayed on the south side of the drainage to avoid creek crossings.  We crossed some open areas that Suzanne and Jim remembered from previous trips -- if we had crossed these on the way up it would have been easier to see the route.  Eventually we reached our uphill tracks and made a quick descent.

We didn't reach the real summit, but we were close!!  Close enough, I think, though perhaps I'll return at a later time....

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TrailPair
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TrailPair
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PostSat Feb 28, 2009 7:41 pm 
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It was nice to see fresh snow again. We could have done without the wind, though.....
Jim K and Bob
Jim K and Bob
Suzanne coaching Gusto on a tricky creek crossing.
Suzanne coaching Gusto on a tricky creek crossing.
Another tricky creek crossing
Another tricky creek crossing
Suzanne and Bob at Dick Creek
Suzanne and Bob at Dick Creek
Luis and Gusto
Luis and Gusto
Bob and Luis
Bob and Luis
Bob and Gusto fighting the wind
Bob and Gusto fighting the wind

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSat Feb 28, 2009 7:52 pm 
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We did a winter trip to the Higgins LO site a few years ago; the summer route takes you across a bad avalache slope.  The winter route is up above that football-sized open space is a little before Myrtle Lake, after you break out of the trees.  Matt lead that trip - if you're interested, I bet he'll show you on the map.  It was a very fun route.

Glad to see you can get to the trailhead.  I love Higgins.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSat Feb 28, 2009 9:27 pm 
It counts!
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Fortunately, getting close to the old lookout summit on Higgins DOES count - particularly in the winter.  No horseshoes or gernades were necessary.   winksmile.gif

Not much to add to Barry's account of the day.  Like Quark, I love Higgins.  It was always a favorite retreat during the summer and fall for Sadie and me.  Today was no different - just as much fun with a good group of friends - regardless of the result!  Bob and Kolleen promised that they would be back to conquer the summit!   agree.gif  Fortunately, crossing the creek was pretty easy.  Here's my meager contribution to the picture album.  One thing I will say, this winter has been one of winds and icy slopes - but little avy danger (so far).   Higgins is a great leg stretcher - but the road to the trailhead is not nice!   shakehead.gif 
End of the road - not much traffic here
End of the road - not much traffic here
Trail starts on an abandoned logging road
Trail starts on an abandoned logging road
Gus coming up the trail that traverses the south slope
Gus coming up the trail that traverses the south slope
We hit snow at about 2800' as we enter the trees
We hit snow at about 2800' as we enter the trees
Gus and Jim at Dick Creek crossing
Gus and Jim at Dick Creek crossing
Barry heading across
Barry heading across
Jim and Barry making the crossing
Jim and Barry making the crossing
Barry climbing up from Dick Creek
Barry climbing up from Dick Creek
Are we having fun?
Are we having fun?
Not so much run right now!
Not so much run right now!
Bob on yet another creek crossing
Bob on yet another creek crossing
Myrtle Lake
Myrtle Lake
The false summit we reach just to the west of our actual destination
The false summit we reach just to the west of our actual destination
View toward the summit we missed
View toward the summit we missed
Looking "up creek" (without a paddle)
Looking "up creek" (without a paddle)
Jim crossing Dick Creek
Jim crossing Dick Creek
Kolleen taking the leap across Dick Creek
Kolleen taking the leap across Dick Creek
Bob crossing Dick Creek
Bob crossing Dick Creek
The forest at about 2800'
The forest at about 2800'
Bob and Kolleen leaving the forest
Bob and Kolleen leaving the forest
Barry, Jim and Gus checking the views
Barry, Jim and Gus checking the views
White Horse and Three Fingers
White Horse and Three Fingers
Ruts in the road
Ruts in the road

Fun day and we beat the nasty weather that's on the way!   up.gif  agree.gif

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSat Feb 28, 2009 9:32 pm 
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Nice creek crossing photos!

Hiking that trail would absolutely kill me now.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Jimbo
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PostSat Feb 28, 2009 10:36 pm 
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How come no one takes a photo of Strom's Marking ??

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Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians
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Tazz
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Tazz
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PostSat Feb 28, 2009 10:40 pm 
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Quark is that the same crossing from the snowball video?

good stuff folks!  up.gif
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JimK
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JimK
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PostSat Feb 28, 2009 10:51 pm 
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You mean this video?



Same crossing. Yeah, we did discuss it today.

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Hiking Northwest
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Tazz
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PostSat Feb 28, 2009 11:06 pm 
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ha yup...i recognized the crossing!  funny vid...poor Q!  lol.gif
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSat Feb 28, 2009 11:13 pm 
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huh.gif

Back to this here trip report.  I was by there today as well, and saw the crew trimming the trees (not decorating them, I mean sawing branches off).

I got sorta nervous 'cause there's that humongous sitka spruce there directly opposite C Post road.  When you're at the stop sign coming out of C Post, you're looking at the whites of it's eyes.  On 530, you can see that thing for a mile before you get to it.  It covers the whole goddam road, the branches are so sweeping.  Anyway I was hoping they weren't cutting that tree or it's branches.

So about the trailhead - I believe the sign has been done shot up to smithereens; I was wondering if a new one was in place, and if so, is "Higgins" spelled correctly?

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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peltoms
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PostSun Mar 01, 2009 4:01 am 
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A fun trip, particularly for luis.  I also noted that Barry crossing the frigid looking stream is in shortsleeves.  He's Hot Blooded check it and see!
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Mar 01, 2009 8:49 am 
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Quark wrote:
huh.gif
Back to this here trip report.  I was by there today as well, and saw the crew trimming the trees (not decorating them, I mean sawing branches off).  I got sorta nervous 'cause there's that humongous sitka spruce there directly opposite C Post road.  When you're at the stop sign coming out of C Post, you're looking at the whites of it's eyes.  On 530, you can see that thing for a mile before you get to it.  It covers the whole goddam road, the branches are so sweeping.  Anyway I was hoping they weren't cutting that tree or it's branches.

So about the trailhead - I believe the sign has been done shot up to smithereens; I was wondering if a new one was in place, and if so, is "Higgins" spelled correctly?

Q -

I think the big ol' Sitka was safe because it's east of the slide area they were clearing.  Hope so - it's Jim's "cairn" on Hwy 530 for Higgins!  lol.gif

And to your question about a trailhead sign - You are correct, I believe probably one of those hand gernades was used on it (probably because they didn't reach the summit either!   winksmile.gif ) And no, no new sign!

-s-

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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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 Mar 01, 2009 8:55 am 
Hot Blooded . . .
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peltoms wrote:
I also noted that Barry crossing the frigid looking stream is in shortsleeves.  He's Hot Blooded check it and see!

It must be that sturdy, thick New Hampshire blood!   lol.gif   Definitely a "Foreigner!"  s.d.

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twodogdad
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PostSun Mar 01, 2009 2:52 pm 
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TrailPair wrote:

Luis and Gusto
Luis and Gusto
Bob and Luis
Bob and Luis

They are discussing:
(a) the sandwich trick
(b) the marsupial technique of climbing

Bob, you better add to your weight-lifting routine. I am tdd: I can read their minds.
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TrailPair
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PostSun Mar 01, 2009 4:32 pm 
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twodogdad wrote:
TrailPair wrote:

Luis and Gusto
Luis and Gusto
Bob and Luis
Bob and Luis

They are discussing:
(a) the sandwich trick
(b) the marsupial technique of climbing

Bob, you better add to your weight-lifting routine. I am tdd: I can read their minds.

Sounds like you are now the new "Dog Whisperer". Perhaps you can persuade Luis to stop attacking dogs ten times his size.   smile.gif

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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