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kari3057
Kari (VA)



Joined: 16 May 2019
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Location: Alexandria VA
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Kari (VA)
PostThu May 16, 2019 7:03 am 
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Hi,
we're looking for recc's for a two night backpacking trip, driving distance not more than 3 hours from Sumner/Auburn area.  One child (age 11), and either one or two adults.  All physically fit, but prefer moderate not strenuous (and I'm afraid of heights so no ledges).  And somewhere that we can either make a reservation, or won't be too crowded mid-week in July.

Have done Carbon Glacier, Cape Alava, and back in the day Alpine Lakes and Gifford Pinchot.  Willing to drive further for gorgeous scenery.

Thanks in advance!
Kari

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Kari in Alexandria
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kiliki
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PostThu May 16, 2019 8:19 am 
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I don't think the vast majority of places will be too crowded midweek-- I think maybe that would only be an issue at the absolute most popular spots, like the permit based spots along the Wonderland Trail at Rainier (crowded isn't the right word for that, it's just that you wouldn't be able to get a spot). That time of year my biggest worry would be bugs and typically also lingering snow, although since we are below normal this year it may not be an issue. I personally would avoid a lake destination for the bug reason. Without knowing specifically how many miles you want to go and how much elevation gain is acceptable, it's hard to recommend something specific. Spider meadow comes to mind, except the access road has been so terrible in recent years. If you do know you want the certainty of having a permit and area, check out Royal Basin.
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kari3057
Kari (VA)



Joined: 16 May 2019
Posts: 2 | TRs
Location: Alexandria VA
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Kari (VA)
PostThu May 16, 2019 6:30 pm 
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Thanks for the tip re bugs.  We are probably up for 5-8 miles per day, and range of 1500 to 2000 elevation depending on distance (sorry that’s not so precise).  Spider meadow (north of hwy 2?) looks amazing but it looks like a long drive from our starting point?

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Kari in Alexandria
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InFlight
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Joined: 20 May 2015
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coated in DEET
PostFri May 17, 2019 11:28 pm 
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The Mt Margaret Backcountry is a relatively shorter drive (North Side of Mt Saint Helens).  There are lots of options, but an easy two day would be some of the trails around Clearwater Lake (Ridge Camp).

National Geographic Map 882 covers the entire area.

This is low enough elevation to be snow free in June.

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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...”  ― Henry David Thoreau
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rossb
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PostSat May 18, 2019 3:05 pm 
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I would consider starting at Chinook Pass and heading south (using either branch of the loop). It isn't that crowded for being part of the PCT. There are plenty of lakes in there, so you have lots of flexibility in terms of camping. That's a pretty easy drive from Lake Tapps (all paved).

Another possibility is Corral Pass. I'm not sure about the backpacking possibilities but I'm sure there are camps back in there. The road is gravel, but usually is really good shape. Make sure to check with the Forest Service, though, because they don't open the road until the summer (and I forget when they open it).

You could head towards the park, but there might be too much snow up high, and if anyplace is crowded, that would be it. Mowich Lake/Spray Park is gorgeous, but you will have people. It may be possible to reserve a camp, though. Eagles Roost Camp would be an easy camp, and then you could day hike up to Spray Park and Seattle Park (where the flowers are spectacular). You could also go the other way, and camp at South Mowich River, or Golden Lakes. The only competition you would get there are folks doing the Wonderland Trail. A call to the ranger would be able to tell you whether you stand a chance at reserving a spot there. I've never been on that part of the Wonderland Trail, but it looks good and gets very few people.
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SwitchbackFisher
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Boot buster
PostSun May 19, 2019 3:09 pm 
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rossb wrote:
I would consider starting at Chinook Pass and heading south (using either branch of the loop). It isn't that crowded for being part of the PCT. There are plenty of lakes in there, so you have lots of flexibility in terms of camping. That's a pretty easy drive from Lake Tapps (all paved).

A

I would suspect this place to be crawling with mosquitoes by then, but you could do a loop on American Ridge Pleasant Valley, I went up to Pleasant Valley lake about 4k feet no snow no bugs on Friday. I would probably start by hells crossing, go up the Goat Mtn trail you could then drop down camp at the lake or camp on the ridge some place or press on and camp at kettle lake. I think mid June it would be snow free on top.

If you want any info on the areas between Chinook and white pass let me know I am up there fairly regularly.

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I may not be the smartest, I may not be the strongest, but I don't want to be. I only want to be the best I can be.
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