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Tomlike
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PostThu Apr 11, 2019 9:43 am 
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@markweth we have considered starting at Iron Gate TH for the reasons you listed, but it does add a few hours to the car shuttle, and in addition would make for a long-ish day 2 to get to Upper Cathedral Lake.  On the other hand, might as well hike the entirety of the Boundary trail...
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Nancyann
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PostThu Apr 11, 2019 12:33 pm 
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When we started at Iron Gate, it was fairly late in the day, but we found Smith Lake to be a perfect spot to spend the first night. We didnít make it to Upper Cathedral until the third night. The trail from Iron Gate is so mellow and beautiful we didnít want to rush through it. Saw no one for 2 1/2 days...
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Sallie4jo
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PostThu Apr 11, 2019 12:48 pm 
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The road up to iron gate can b a bit difficult..very thin dirt road.

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I choose to live in a landscape of hope.
                           Terry Tempest Williams
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iron
getting old



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getting old
PostThu Apr 11, 2019 2:44 pm 
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might be of some use, but probably not much
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8007350

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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markweth
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PostSat Apr 13, 2019 11:54 am 
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Tomlike wrote:
@markweth we have considered starting at Iron Gate TH for the reasons you listed, but it does add a few hours to the car shuttle, and in addition would make for a long-ish day 2 to get to Upper Cathedral Lake.  On the other hand, might as well hike the entirety of the Boundary trail...

I think it would be worth it as opposed to hiking up the Chewuch, but it definitely is a bit of a trade-off. Longer shuttle, but better hiking right off the bat. And you avoid the climb up from the Chewuch to Tungsten.

I hiked from Horseshoe Basin to Upper Cathedral Lake in a day and it was longer than I usually like to hike (around 18 miles, I think), so I understand not wanting to do that. You could camp around Louden Lake which would knock a mile or so off that distance. I'd have to check my pictures/maps/notes but there weren't that many great spots between Louden Lake and Tungsten to camp at. That said, the 18 miles between Horseshoe Basin and Upper Cathedral Lake weren't that bad . . . no big climbs, good tread, in pretty forest most of the time with occasional views, and Tungsten mine is really neat to check out. If you're in good shape and get an early start it wouldn't give you guys any problems. I think it is worth the extra time/effort to do the route this way, but I understand why you might not want to.

As far as road conditions go, they did some repair work last year on Iron Gate Road and I found that its condition didn't live up to its rugged reputation (thankfully). I am a very cautious/anxious driver and was able to do just fine in a Honda Element with its modest 6.9 inches of clearance. I think even in something lower you would be just fine, just check out some of the WTA trip reports. Hopefully conditions haven't deteriorated over the winter.

Any trip you do in the Pasayten will be great, but I think starting at Iron Gate really is the best option for the type of trip you're describing. You'll be spending enough time in burned forest the farther west you travel, so might as well not start out in it (although there is some burned area just outside of Iron Gate TH but you get through it quickly). And the stretch of the Boundary Trail between Horseshoe Basin and Iron Gate is more pleasant hiking than along the Chewuch, at least in my opinion (and Horseshoe Basin is of course spectacular).
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cascadetraverser
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PostSat Apr 13, 2019 1:12 pm 
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I agree with Markweth; Horseshoe basin and Tungsten are can`t miss and the stretch between HB and TM is super lonely and kinda cool in its own way.  Its fun to start on the eastern edge of the cascades and then head west.
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RandyHiker
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PostTue Apr 16, 2019 10:11 am 
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markweth wrote:
And the stretch of the Boundary Trail between Horseshoe Basin and Iron Gate is more pleasant hiking than along the Chewuch, at least in my opinion (and Horseshoe Basin is of course spectacular).

Agree -- there are good views along this section vs the Chewich river trail -- which a bunch of miles through spindly lodgepole pine forest and also some dusty burned sections.
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BigBrunyon
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PostTue Apr 16, 2019 12:59 pm 
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Ya really gotta bandana up on that Chewuch push!!

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i ALWAYS camp at the upper lake!
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LichenIt
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PostFri May 17, 2019 8:28 am 
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Exiting at Ross Lake is a good plan right now. Going to Hwy 20 via Jakita Ridge is not looking good.

The Canyon Creek Bridge, on Jackita Ridge Trail #738 was destroyed by a tree which fell across the bridge. This impacts access to the popular Devilís Dome loop. It may be fixed at some point this summer.
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Brushwork
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Joined: 18 Aug 2018
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PostFri May 17, 2019 10:35 am 
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Thanks for the info on canyon ck bridge being out.   Bummer, but good to know ahead of time.

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When I grow up I wanna play.
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sooperfly
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PostFri May 17, 2019 10:54 am 
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I was in the area last September, and the trail from the Airport up to Frosty Pass ( and down to the PCT ) was pretty much blowdown free.  A lot better than the year before.  I'm guessing it was logged out since it was one of the PCT detours due do the Holman fire.
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