Forum Index > Trip Reports > Andrews creek – Peepsight lake – Upper Cathedral lake 9/24 thru 9/30/18
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Perry
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PostTue Oct 02, 2018 8:08 pm 
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Starting Monday 9/24/18 I did a 6 day goat packing trip starting from the Andrews creek trailhead north of Winthrop.   I had Adam, Grant and Albert (white Lamancha) with me.  They were each carrying about 25#.

The Chewuch road is paved to the trailhead.  The main trailhead parking is on the right side of the road, with a stock camp on the left; and likely other camping in the area.

The trail starts up immediately, gaining about 400 ft in the first 0.7 miles.  The trail soon enters the area burned in a 2003 fire.  The willows and pines are revegetating the area.

While the Andrews Creek Trail heads up the Andrews Creek Valley, it is rarely near the stream.  The trail is regularly used by horse riders and is typically logged out.  I encountered only 2 logs across the trail between the trailhead and the Boundary Trail junction, a distance of 15 ½ miles.  One log was about 1 ¼ miles in and about 18” in diameter.

Except for the first bit of trail near the trailhead, the whole length of the trail has been burned by the 2003 fire, or north of Andrews pass, by last year’s Diamond Creek Fire.

In some areas many of the dead trees have fallen. In other areas, there  are a lot of dead trees still standing, particularly above the Peepsight creek trail junction.

The trail is quite rocky in many areas, particularly from the Peepsight Creek Trail junction to Andrews Pass.

This time of year the willows and also patches of small Aspen trees on the west facing rock slide areas provide quite a bit of color starting about 1 mile from the trailhead and continuing in varying degrees for 5 or 6 miles.

Lower Andrews creek trail
Lower Andrews creek trail

At about 4.4 miles from the trailhead the trail tops what appears to be an old terminal moraine with a view up the valley.  The trail gains little elevation for the next 3 miles or so.

At 4.9 miles there is a small stream.  Between there and the Coleman Ridge Trail #505 junction, there are 2-3 small dry camp sites with few dead trees nearby (less risk of a dead tree coming down if it’s windy).

Coleman Ridge trail #505 junction is 5.8 miles from the trailhead.  There is a small forest service temporary sign on a tree with the trail name.

At 7.9 miles from the trailhead is a camp site near Andrews Creek.  There are a mix of live and dead trees in this area.   I camped here the first night.

At 8.4 miles from the trailhead is the signed junction for the lower end of the Peepsight Trail.    The Peepsight Trail #525 makes a semicircle: heading up Peepsight Creek, going over Crazy Man Pass, past Rock Lake, and ending at Andrews Pass.

The Peepsight Trail has been relocated from where a lot of somewhat older maps show it.  The Backcountry Horsemen logged out and opened up the Peepsight Trail going up Peepsight Creek earlier this summer.

Peepsight Trail
Peepsight Trail

The Peepsight trail first heads down to a crossing of Andrews creek.  This time of year, it’s easy to cross by stepping on rocks.   There’s a short climb up the creek bank.  The trail branches here with the left branch going a short distance to an old cabin.  The area around the cabin has been used as a horse camp.

Peepsight cabin
Peepsight cabin

After crossing Andrews creek, the right branching trail is the Peepsight Trail.  It’s gentle at first, but soon starts climbing out of the Andrews Creek Valley.

The first 3 miles or so of the trail are easy to follow due to both human and horse traffic.  Around 3 miles the trail gets into more open rock country and it takes a bit more alertness to follow the trail.  At about 3.5 miles the trail crosses tiny Peepsight Creek and swings around, heading in a more southwesterly direction.  At 3.9 miles the trail appears to disappear in a meadow at about 6,900 ft elevation.  Up to the right a hundred yards or so is a hunting camp.

Grant trying to decide about crossing a stream
Grant trying to decide about crossing a stream

The trail actually swings across the meadow heading northwest.  There was a red flag on a tree about 100 ft. beyond where the trail turned to the northwest…and no sign of a trail around the flag.

From the meadow the trail is much fainter, with no visible sign of horse traffic.  It took some care, but between faint tread, cut logs and cairns I was able to follow the trail as it traversed up in a west-northwest direction.   In 0.2 miles is a signed junction.  The sign pointing right says Rock Lake 2, the sign pointing ahead say Peepsight Lake 1.
 
I continued in the direction of Peepsight lake on Trail 525A.  Shortly beyond the sign is a nice unburned bench at about 7,100 ft. elevation, with open mixed larch, fir and pine woods; and a meadow area.

Left to right: Adam, Grant, Albert
Left to right: Adam, Grant, Albert

The trail up to this point had been in the old burn.  Cairns indicate where the trail heads west across the meadow.  The trail then starts climbing northwest toward Peepsight Pass.

climbing toward Peepsight Pass
climbing toward Peepsight Pass
Albert relaxing
Albert relaxing

From the pass it heads steeply down in a northwest direction to Peepsight Lake…a nice area.  Nice stands of golden larch around Peepsight Lake. I found a nice place to camp in the area north of the lake.

Peepsight Lake
Peepsight Lake

Wednesday, I headed back up over Peepsight Pass and down to the signed junction.  I headed toward Rock Lake.

climbing toward Peepsight Pass
climbing toward Peepsight Pass
Peepsight Lake trail
Peepsight Lake trail
Peepsight Lake trail
Peepsight Lake trail
On the Peepsight Lake 'trail'
On the Peepsight Lake 'trail'
Peepsight bench @ 7,100 ft.
Peepsight bench @ 7,100 ft.

This trail was quite faint.  Using a combination of faint tread, cairns, cut logs and flagging I was able to follow it north on the bench, it then traversed down to the northeast a little way.  It then started traversing up.  I did not see any more flagging, but the cairns continued heading continuing northeasterly toward point 7557, east of Crazy Man Pass.

The distance from the ‘Rock Lake 2’ sign to the low point is about 0.4 miles, and is pretty much south east of Peepsight Mountain.   The terrain from this point up to Crazy Man Pass is gently to moderately sloping up.  It’s unburned, open woods with a lot of larch.  A nice area to roam.
The boys resting near Dry lake
The boys resting near Dry lake

I followed the cairns toward point 7557, east of Crazy Man Pass, they crossed an open area, then appeared to stop.  Actually, they turned and headed toward Crazy Man Pass.  The cairns were on the slope a bit above the open meadow area…likely because that’s where the rocks were available.

near Crazy Man Pass
near Crazy Man Pass

From Crazy Man Pass there is a pretty well-defined trail traversing down to the north.  The upper part was unburned, but the Diamond Creek Fire burned the lower part.  Once into the burn, cairns and bit of tread generally indicate where the trail goes. The trail loses about 300 feet of elevation going to a small V shaped notch/mini valley.  The trail goes up the V shaped mini valley a little way, then climbs the side heading northeast toward Rock Lake.  The trail goes around the north shore of Rock Lake which has one unburned area.

Rock Lake
Rock Lake

From just past Rock Lake the trail heads down and to the east, at one point making a swing to the south.  It’s 2 miles from Rock Lake to Andrews Pass.  This section of trail is a little more defined, with tread showing more often, but cut logs and cairns are often needed to point the way.  The last ½ mile or so to Andrews Pass showed evidence of horse traffic and was more well defined.

There was one point about ½ mile from Andrews Pass where it took a bit of looking to find a way around a group of larger downed trees for the goats, other than that, travel was relatively easy.  It just took time, because I did not want to lose the trail.

From Andrews Pass I headed north on the well-used Andrews Creek Trail.  This area was also part of the 2003 fire.

About ½ mile north of the pass the trail crosses the headwaters of Spanish Creek.  There are a few patches of meadow in this section which were unburned.

The Diamond Creek Fire burned up to within about a mile of Andrews Pass, so except for a few small patches, everything was black.  I found a place to camp in a meadow just past the newly signed Spanish Creek Trail junction.  There was also a new “trail unmaintained” sign about 100 ft down where the Spanish Creek Trail headed.

Thursday, I headed up Andrews creek trail to the junction with the Boundary Trail, and nearby Spanish Cabin.  The cabin and area right around it, were unburned.

Spanish Cabin
Spanish Cabin

I headed east on the Boundary Trail. The 1.8 miles up to the Lesamiz Trail # 565 junction was a patchwork of burned and unburned forest and meadow.  From the Lesamiz Trail # 565 junction the Boundary Trail skirts the Amphitheater Mountain meadows which have a few scattered pine and larch.

Quite a bit of the country immediately north of the Lower Cathedral Lake Trail junction looked like it had been burned by the Diamond Creek Fire…but it was a patchwork with some unburned areas.

Break time
Break time
Tarn in Amphitheater Mountain meadows
Tarn in Amphitheater Mountain meadows

When I got to Upper Cathedral Lake I could see that fingers of the fire had gotten right up to the edges of the Upper Cathedral Lake basin.  And that the fire had burned about to the shore of Lower Cathedral Lake in one area.

The area immediately around Upper Cathedral Lake was unburned.  The golden larch were gorgeous!  It was mostly cloudy Thursday, but there were a few patches of sun.

approaching Upper Cathedral Lake
approaching Upper Cathedral Lake
Upper Cathedral Lake
Upper Cathedral Lake
Upper Cathedral Lake
Upper Cathedral Lake
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
break time
break time
Upper Cathedral Lake camp, goats with their hunter orange vests on
Upper Cathedral Lake camp, goats with their hunter orange vests on
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake
Upper Cathedral Lake
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake area
Upper Cathedral Lake
Upper Cathedral Lake

Friday, I hiked back west on the Boundary Trail, then south on Andrews Creek Trail, again staying at the camp 8 miles from the trailhead.

Heading out - Amphitheater meadows, Remmel and Andrews Mountains in background.
Heading out - Amphitheater meadows, Remmel and Andrews Mountains in background.

Hiking out Saturday, it was cloudy with a few light rain showers.   The Aspen had a lot more reddish-orange and yellow color than 6 days earlier, and the willows were showing lot more yellow-gold color; which made the hike out quite enjoyable

Lower Andrews Creek valley
Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Aspen in Lower Andrews Creek valley
Lower Andrews Creek valley
Lower Andrews Creek valley
break time
break time

This was a great fall larch trip, with really nice stands of color around Peepsight Lake, the area south of Crazy Man Pass and of course Upper Cathedral Lake.
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Nancyann
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PostTue Oct 02, 2018 8:36 pm 
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What a fabulous trip, Perry! You did it exactly opposite of the way we went, although we started much further east at Iron Gate, and skipped Peepsight Lake after getting lost coming down from Crazy Man Pass. confused.gif When we went through the larch meadows at Crazy Man Pass, I kept thinking “I have to come back here in the fall”. Now I can just look at your pictures instead.
Do your goats generally follow you without a lead rope? They look like such great trail buddies!
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Ski
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PostTue Oct 02, 2018 8:54 pm 
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wow! maybe this is a stupid question, but how do you keep the goats from running off?

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Perry
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PostTue Oct 02, 2018 8:58 pm 
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"Do your goats generally follow you without a lead rope?" Yes, they just follow me.  That does not just 'happen', it takes spending a little time with them each day, and going on day hikes to build the bond and trust.  It also helps that goats have a very strong herd / follow the leader instinct!

Coming south from Crazy Man Pass it would be very easy to lose the 'trail' / cairns, particularly since the trail has been relocated from where a lot of maps show it.

Going south to north the way I did, it was alot easier to stay with the trail/cairns/flags/cut logs.   Still,  I lost it a few times.
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Perry
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PostTue Oct 02, 2018 9:04 pm 
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Ski wrote:
wow! maybe this is a stupid question, but how do you keep the goats from running off?

My Answer to Nancyann pretty much covers it.  But I do also take treats for the goats - animal crackers work well with my guys smile.gif
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostTue Oct 02, 2018 10:01 pm 
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That's a cool crew you roll with.  I didn't know domestic goats could sport horns that impressive.  Are they dwarf ibex or something (I just made that up, probably such a thing doesn't exist)?
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Brushbuffalo
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PostWed Oct 03, 2018 5:31 am 
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What a cool trip!  Your replies to Ski and Nancyann also answered my question about them scampering off. Very special trail mates.

Perry wrote:
Upper Cathedral Lake camp, goats with their hunter orange vests on
Upper Cathedral Lake camp, goats with their hunter orange vests on

That's good to see to help avoid a possible tragedy.

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Gil
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PostWed Oct 03, 2018 5:34 am 
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Perry has graciously left out an extremely important part of his story. He came to my aid when I had a heart problem near Upper Cathedral Lake.

I was camping at the lake and on Thursday went up Amphitheater Mountain. I was on the far end of the southern arm of the mountain when I suffered an episode of extreme rapid heartbeat. It had been nearly two years since I last had of these, and they're not usually associated with hard exercise, so this one was surprising and distressing. They also usually last 10-20 minutes before subsiding, but this one kept going. After a while, I knew I couldn't sit anymore in the cold and would have to get back to camp. Uphill past the summit wasn't going to be doable, so I headed straight down into the basin to catch the trail back west to the lake.

Took me an hour and a half to get near camp and was walking slowly through the larch when I started hearing tinkling. I thought I was hearing things in my distress, but then I realized they were actual bells, and suddenly from out of the larches stepped Perry and his three goats!

I can't say enough good things about Perry. He kept watch over me and was a real comfort. He offered to use InReach to contact my wife for me or call in a helicopter if needed. I wanted to wait to see if my heart would settle down on its own after I took some medication and laid down for a while. About 6 pm, four hours into this, my heart rate started to drop, and by 6:45 it was down to about 120 -- I got up to catch the last rays of sun on the lake and mountains. By 7:30, my rate was nearly normal.

Throughout this, Perry kept a close eye on me. He was going the opposite direction to where my car was, but he offered to have his goats carry my stuff so I could walk unencumbered with him back to the Andrews Creek trailhead. He offered to then drive me the five hours back around to Tonasket and up into the mountains to pick up my car! But on Friday morning, I was feeling fine, as if nothing had happened. So Perry took my extra food for the goats to carry out (I always overpack food), so I could retrace my steps back to the Tungsten mine and down to the Chewuch River and out to the trailhead -- nearly all downhill, with a lighter pack.

The way out was uneventful and I actually walked the whole 17 miles out on Friday, stayed overnight in a motel and drove home.

So, it's not often that you meet heroes in real life, but I did. Thanks, Perry!

Perry Burkhart
Perry Burkhart
Pasayten 4
Pasayten 4

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Friends help the miles go easier.
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Brushbuffalo
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PostWed Oct 03, 2018 6:21 am 
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Gil, that's a heart-warming story. Yes, Perry is an unsung hero!  It was providential that he was there to assist in your time of need....Perry and his boys!

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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lanzscape
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PostWed Oct 03, 2018 7:54 am 
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That "Pasayten 4" image of the lake is gorgeous.
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flatsqwerl
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PostWed Oct 03, 2018 8:20 am 
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Love these critter trips up.gif  up.gif
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PostWed Oct 03, 2018 8:51 am 
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eek.gif  more wow. Perry and the goats are heroes! up.gif

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostSun Jan 27, 2019 7:50 pm 
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5+ years ago my daughter and I were hiking in the Pasayten and we met a fellow with three goats he had raised to be willing to carry all his gear. Needless to say we were amazed (and a bit envious to be honest at that point  wink.gif ). I wonder if that was you. My recollection is it was in the vicinity of Holman Pass-Devils Backbone. The fellow we met had just done the reverse of our next move. We subsequently took the trail from Holman Pass that goes west to Devils Pass and we couldn’t have gotten lost. We had all the little goat turds to follow, like Hansel and Gretel....(that’s not a complaint dizzy.gif They don’t smell like horse poop does!)
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Backpacker Joe
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PostMon Jan 28, 2019 6:18 am 
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How come you guys never had any of the goats take pictures of you? hockeygrin.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."

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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Andrews creek – Peepsight lake – Upper Cathedral lake 9/24 thru 9/30/18
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