Forum Index

Trail Talk

Partners

Trip Reports
 

Stewardship
/History 

Gear
/Food/Photo

Support
/Links 

Saloon
/Trade 
Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Crystal Peak/Lakes and a little beyond 08/04/2011
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
tigermn
In Search of Scenery



Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 8018 | TRs | Pics
Location: Beneath the pale moonlight
Post Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:41 am   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

On such a beautiful day decided to check out Crystal Peak/Lakes. Wondering a little about the lingering snow patch on the Crystal Peak trail.


After a stop and some minor construction delays east of Greenwater for repaving I was hiking just after 8AM.

The first 1.25 miles is in the trees and gains 1054 feet to a junction. A couple of sneak peaks of Rainier but the best is yet to come.


At the junction I opted for the Peak first heading right.


Vanilla leaf along the trail.


At the creek crossing just past the junction they have put in a bridge which wasn't there last year.


After crossing the creek the trail crosses a rocky area before going back in the trees and climbing through the trees.


After a bit some teaser views.


Then I came on a more open area and notices most of the trees were snapped about 4-5 feet from the base. Something came through here that wasn't nice.


As you hike you just get more and more views as you duck in and out of tree pockets.


More flowers started to appear.


And of course views.


At a semi open area I noticed I could see up to the "snow patch" that lingers across the trail higher up. I contemplated a cross country route up the gully but it looked a little brushy so I just kept going.


Actually the trail really starts to open up to views with just about every step.


And more flowers.


After the snag around the corner was the remaining snow.


What is left is only about 60 feet and has a flat spot with some old boot tracks. It was a little icy but I put on microspikes just in case and walked easily across. Just don't slip.


I looked down the gully wondering how the trip up would have been but continued on.


A couple more switchbacks with views all along the way. I could definitely smell the elk poop and occasionally see it but didn't see any animals.


I arrived at the old lookout site.


The trail turns right and goes up to the true summit. A steeper but easy way and no exposure.


360 degree views from the summit.


Some pano shots.


And an attempt at a pano video but you kind of have to move a little to get everything.

I didn't spend a lot of time here as I had the Lakes as the second destination. A few flies but nothing real bothersome.


Heading down I made way back to the gully/snow area.


For fun I decided to try and go down the gully.

It was easier than I thought and while brush present it was about knee high at worst and not sharp. Also I made my way down what were probably various game trails.


This with minor switchbacking turned out to be .27 miles and 533 feet descended. It was definitely a short cut (see map).

On the way back I ran into probably 2 dozen trail workers, mostly kids. The man said they are bringing this trail back into the official trail system and were doing maintenance to widen it as over time erosion had shrunk the width.


I got back to the junction and headed for Crystal Lakes. A nice Rainier view or two shortly up the trail.


After a bit you start to get some views of Crystal Peak.


A sign greets you at a junction to Lower Crystal Puddle and a couple of campsites.


After the picture stop I headed up to the main lake.


Nearing the lake more flowers.


I popped out at the upper lake.


Very scenic. There was someone near the mouth and a large group over to the left. I walked the trail heading left and made way around for more pictures.


Last year almost to the date, people were jumping off these rocks and swimming.


I decided to follow the trail that heads up the hill for a ways/maybe a vantage point.


Rainier starts to appear.


I didn't go too far and headed back down to find a spot for lunch over on the SE banks past the campgrounds since no one was over there.


I sat just past the 2nd campsite and ate a bug free lunch.


Unfortunately it was time to head out and I kind of wanted to beat the big group heading out.


The trip back never goes as fast as you expect but was a nice walk nonetheless. I saw a few people including a ranger heading up.


A couple of shots of Rainier.


Once at the 1.25 mile junction you start tasting that ice cold Gatorade sitting in the car cooler.


A couple of Rainier parting shots.


A lot more cars than the one besides my own when I arrived.


All in all a great day to be in the mountains. Believe it or not bugs were not an issue. A few files but no mosquitoes. Where are they? Last year I got eaten alive. No snow issues to lake but if you circle the lake there is snow on the boulders on the other side. I didn't do it.  Nice views above the lake as well.

Crystal Peak is snow free except for that 60 foot spot lingering on the trail. Might deter some and not a real good way around it (other than ascending/descending the gully directly I guess). I suspect most on NW hikers wouldn't think twice. I may have thought twice but I did cross it and I'm not the most adventuresome type.

--------------
My flickr photo site.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
sarbar
Hiking Momma!



Joined: 28 Jan 2002
Posts: 7728 | TRs | Pics
Location: Maple Valley, Wa
Post Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:51 am   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

If you keep up the trail from upper Crystal Lake it takes you up to a gap, that connects with the PCT, just North of S. Gap and then onto Sheep Lake smile.gif

--------------
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear And Beyond:
http://blog.trailcooking.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
boot up
Old Not Bold Hiker



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 3739 | TRs | Pics
Location: Kirkland WA
Post Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:02 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

That is one plush looking trail!  They are definitely working that one hard!
Looks like a worthy one to add to the list.

--------------
Public land isn't.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Snorting Elk
Always in the Rut...



Joined: 29 Jun 2011
Posts: 39 | TRs | Pics
Location: Puyallup WA
Post Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:04 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

To add to what sarbar said, a great round trip is to stash a bicycle at the tipsoo lake parking lot (ok to lock to a signpost, etc), then drive down to the Crystal lakes trailhead, leave you car and hike to upper Crystal, take the faint trail leading up to sourdough gap, then conect with the PCT and go back to Chinook pass via Sheep lake, etc.  Then get on the bike and have a nice FAST ride all downhill back to your vehicle.  I have done this and it makes for a fun day!

Todd

--------------
"The Road of Life is always under Construction!"
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
tigermn
In Search of Scenery



Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 8018 | TRs | Pics
Location: Beneath the pale moonlight
Post Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:23 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Snorting Elk wrote:
To add to what sarbar said, a great round trip is to stash a bicycle at the tipsoo lake parking lot (ok to lock to a signpost, etc), then drive down to the Crystal lakes trailhead, leave you car and hike to upper Crystal, take the faint trail leading up to sourdough gap, then conect with the PCT and go back to Chinook pass via Sheep lake, etc.  Then get on the bike and have a nice FAST ride all downhill back to your vehicle.  I have done this and it makes for a fun day!

Todd

That sounds like an fun suggestion. I might just have to try that soon. Yea all downhill!

--------------
My flickr photo site.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
tigermn
In Search of Scenery



Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 8018 | TRs | Pics
Location: Beneath the pale moonlight
Post Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:05 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Just a comparison of two years. You can't really see the trail on the first picture but it was in the brown/non snow spot.

08/06/2010                                             08/04/2011

--------------
My flickr photo site.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Hikingqueen
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 2738 | TRs | Pics

Post Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:26 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

You sure get in the miles! The bugs were all at Grand Park yesterday! down.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
tigermn
In Search of Scenery



Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 8018 | TRs | Pics
Location: Beneath the pale moonlight
Post Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:31 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Hikingqueen wrote:
You sure get in the miles! The bugs were all at Grand Park yesterday! down.gif

Well it helps being unemployed...  frown.gif

We were going to go to Grand Park today but heard horror stories of the bugs and the mud and opted for Shriner Peak instead (no bugs to speak of). Turns out it was a wise choice however Grand Park is one of my favorite places.

--------------
My flickr photo site.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
  
Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours 
 Post new topic Reply to topic
Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Crystal Peak/Lakes and a little beyond 08/04/2011  
 
Jump to:   
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
Search this topic: 


   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group
Privacy Policy