Well decided to head west to revisit Marmot Pass and this time get up Buckhorn Mountain. Last September I got to the pass and was just out of gas for whatever reason so didn't do the peak.
Beautiful day temps stayed pleasant. Sun in and out was nice.
Bugs not even a bother.
Enough clouds around so distant/volcano peaks not visible but more than enough.
Flowers putting on a pretty good show.
More people on Buckhorn than I would have guessed on a Thursday morning.
Left just before 5AM for the long 119 mile drive. Was hiking just after 07:45. Of course I discover I again left my trekking poles at home. Wanted them for the Buckhorn bootpath. Would have to look for a stick.
Starting up the lower trail is somewhat featureless other than the river down below.
I would pass the lower Rock Camp camp area.
Shortly after there you start to get some views.
Cross some more open areas and you can look up steep slopes towards Buckhorn.
Flowers start appearing.
I suspect somewhere in here is the alternate way up Buckhorn directly up the slopes.
You duck in and out of trees up to Camp Mystery.
Plenty of water around Camp Mystery, in fact in places the trail was a creek. Could use a waterbar or two.
Past the camp you hit a nice open/flower area before traversing around the headwall.
Around the rock steep areas you traverse yourself into the basin below Marmot Pass.
There were some people sitting at the pass. I would snap a couple and continue to the Buckhorn bootpath turnoff just past the pass.
Heading up the bootpath the views get better as you climb.
The way is well defined but at times a bit steep on dirt and scree.
I was glad I had the stick (even more on way down).
You can also look back down to Marmot Pass.
The trail eases a bit and reaches a nice false summit. The two that followed me up from the pass seemed to stop here.
After the false summit it dips a bit before the final push up past another knob and on to the summit.
Other than being dusty/scree line it is a pretty easy walk up to the summit. I did grab a rock or two to steady at times but probably not necessary. There are no spots of exposure that concerned me at all. None of those one wrong step and something really bad happens. At least not on the path/route I took.
I reached the summit. There were people around to my surprise. Still enough room to kind of find a place.
I spotted a guy coming up from not the trail approach.
I think his buddy who was already on top came a different way.
As I sat the clouds started kind of rolling up and getting close but never covered were I was.
I would head down after about 40 minutes in the summit area. Temps were very pleasant and the clouds kept the sun covered at times.
It was a little scree like going down but no difficulties. The hiking stick helped in a few places.
Back at the now deserted pass I would take a few pictures and start back down.
The beauty of the day would continue on the way down. I would see a smattering of people coming up but less than I would have expected. I guess most people up there earlier were camping.
The last couple of miles can seem a little long. Did take one short Gatorade/snack break on the way down.
Finally back at the trailhead about 03:15PM and on my way for the even longer drive (due to traffic) back home.
If it wasn't for the driving/time/gas to get over there I would hike more in the Olympics. I love it over there but it is a 2 1/2 to 3 hours (or more if you go more west) one way drive time to get there to a typical trailhead.
I never even went over there at all until October of 2008 when I first did Ellinor (my first Oly hike) then last year I did a number of hikes over there. Never a bad destination it seems and so many choices!
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