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iainmacdonald
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PostMon Jun 24, 2019 11:03 pm 
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Hey folks, Californian here thinking of fleeing the rough conditions in the Sierra and heard that you all were blessed with a lighter winter. I'm considering flying into Seattle this Friday to go hiking for the Fourth of July week, and I have a couple of questions for the locals:
- I assume the Wonderland Trail isn't yet in good condition. I haven't seen any evidence of people hiking it and the satellite pictures look like it's still got some snow on it. Is that correct?
- How about this route that I custom made on caltopo: https://caltopo.com/m/T637  is that feasible for next week? Specifically, I'm concerned about any significant snow cover, difficult creek crossings, abandoned / difficult to follow sections of trail, and any other hazards. I'm not too worried about the distance, assuming that the trail is in good condition. How's the scenery in that area?
- Any other comments, advice, recommendations? Ideally I'd find a 200-250 mile route with nice scenery and not-too-difficult conditions.

Thank you!
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RandyHiker
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PostTue Jun 25, 2019 6:30 am 
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That looks like a fun loop.

Snow melt is about a month early and least below 5000ft.  Above that the snow pack is more typical.  E.g. Normally at this time of year there is still several feet of snow at the parking lot at Paradise at 5400ft.  A week and a half ago, I had to take my skis off and walk the last 150 yards to the parking lot.  However at 7000ft and above the snow depth was more typical.   I suspect you'll still need to do some snow walking at least on the north sides of the higher passes.

In terms of stream crossings, you'll certainly need to ford several, particularly the Paysaten River, which could be waist deep or more, but fortunately is low gradient in the area of the ford.  Having rolltop dry bags for your gear is always a good idea in the Cascades.   Double bagging you sleeping bag using a plastic garbage bag is a common practice among Washington hikers.  The Boundary trail in that area gets very little traffic and maintenance.  Expect to cross numerous downed trees (perhaps hundreds).   Some sections were also burned in the last decade,  so trail markings and thread may be harder to find and follow.  I walked a section that was burned two seasons prior a few years ago and the grass regrowth was vigorous and obscured the trail.  It can be both spooky and hot (due to lack of tree cover) walking through burned areas, but the display of wild flowers can also be intense.

Your loop traverses areas on both sides of the Crest, so you'll get to experience both the extreme lushness of the forest on the west side and the more open forests and meadows of the eastside.
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RandyHiker
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PostTue Jun 25, 2019 6:35 am 
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And yeah,the Wonderland trail that week would entail  quite a bit of travel on snow, but with careful planning you might not need to snow camp.
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Sculpin
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PostTue Jun 25, 2019 7:09 am 
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In general your choice of Pasayten is a good one for the Fourth of July this year.  Snow should be manageable everywhere.

But here is one thing you might want to consider:  from the northernmost point where your route follows the shore of Ross Lake, going south all the way around and back up to where the PCT reaches Hwy 20, you are in deep woods with few views.  The one exception along the way is Park Creek Pass.  For us locals, that would be a long time in the woods, although a Californian might be looking forward to it!

You might want to consider staying north of the highway in the high country, and spoke out on day trips from your backpacking loop.

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gb
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PostTue Jun 25, 2019 7:20 am 
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Generally, the smart move is to have some flexible plans regarding the weather. For instance, as it now looks, the 29th looks to be rainy and there is a forecast for heavy thunderstorms in the Pasayten around the 1st or 2nd. That, of course, could change as it is a long ways out. But the smart money is to be flexible on the length, timing, and location of any particular trip. Have multiple plans.

Snow is pretty much gone on the east side of the Cascades except in some higher elevation north and east facing terrain. But, as Randy said, at higher elevations nearer the crest there is still appreciable snow on generally more sun protected terrain nearer the crest and in the Olympics. Cooler temperatures and cloud cover the last month and a half have slowed the melting of what was a mediocre snowpack in spring. Lower elevations will be snow free.
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hikerbiker
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PostTue Jun 25, 2019 7:45 am 
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The trail from Azurite Pass down Mill Creek to Canyon Creek has been abandoned for a long time.  Don't go that way.
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forest gnome
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PostTue Jun 25, 2019 8:06 am 
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pasayten reports ...actually the whole area right side of chelan lake  looks good now...can someone link the few recent reports for him-her?
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drm
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PostTue Jun 25, 2019 12:59 pm 
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I would expect Park Ck Pass to still have decent snow coverage and there is a ford just below that. Note that Ross Lake is very low and so will have a very muddy shore.
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Matt Lemke
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PostTue Jun 25, 2019 7:56 pm 
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drm wrote:
Note that Ross Lake is very low and so will have a very muddy shore.

It's still really low? Why is that? I saw it was like 50 feet low about a year ago.

I also second the notion that you shouldn't go down Mill Creek from Azurite Pass. Getting to Azurite Pass from the PCT isn't so bad as long as you can stay on the faint trail but beyond further north the trail is essentially gone.


That loop you made up is sweet!

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Cyclopath
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PostTue Jun 25, 2019 8:07 pm 
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Ross Lake is about 45 feet lower than normal for this time of year.  Because of drought.  I stay in a cabin at the resort every June, I've never seen the water so low this time of year.

Eastbank and other trails are still fine, but difficult (and technically illegal) to access this time of year from the water.

I've heard NPS is unable to pump the toilets, and have closed the camps as a result.
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Jaberwock
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PostWed Jun 26, 2019 9:10 pm 
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CalTopo now has high-res imagery that is current to the week, very useful for checking where the snow is:

https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=48.72516,-120.81541&z=12&b=sentinel_tc-0&a=mba
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gb
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PostThu Jun 27, 2019 5:36 am 
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This morning from the NWS Seattle:
Quote:
.LONG TERM /SUNDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/...Western Washington can`t

seem to shake the troughing pattern through the weekend, as both

deterministic and ensemble solutions show the pattern sticking

with us through the weekend. Sunday does not look terribly wet.

Similar to Saturday the lowlands look mainly dry with a few

showers possible across the higher terrain. Monday will follow

suit, although a shortwave looks to lift northward across western

Washington from Oregon, allowing for the development of showers

across the area, at this time from Puget Sound eastward along

with the higher terrain across the Olympics. Unsettled weather

with the chance for showers will linger thru the remainder of the

long term. Do not see a promising pattern change of any kind even

looking right outside the forecast period.
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wanderwild
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PostThu Jun 27, 2019 2:24 pm 
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I bet it will be cool and damp through Thursday, July 4, and then the trough will lift in favor of high pressure and 80 degree sun on the morning of July 5. Just a hunch.

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OwenT
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PostThu Jun 27, 2019 3:29 pm 
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Jaberwock wrote:
CalTopo now has high-res imagery that is current to the week, very useful for checking where the snow is:

https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=48.72516,-120.81541&z=12&b=sentinel_tc-0&a=mba

Thanks so much for putting that out there. I use Caltopo all the time but I need to be paying more attention to the features I guess. This will be so useful.
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Foist
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PostThu Jun 27, 2019 3:39 pm 
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Once you get to Castle Pass, I would head down the PCT, and then to Devils Pass via Sky Pilot Pass.  Your trip will be both more scenic and less painful.  Then you could head west to Ross Lake via Devils Dome, or head south via Jackita Ridge. Devils Dome and Jackita Ridge are gorgeous.  I would lean toward the latter, that way you can avoid the East Bank Ross Lake trail, which kinda sucks to be honest.  Even with this change, you will encounter a lot of very rough conditions in the northern Pasayten from lack of maintenance combined with dead trees from wildfires.

Edit: FYI, for some reason, I was assuming you were doing the loop counterclockwise.  same recommendation would apply in reverse.
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Forum Index > Trail Talk > Is this route feasible for next week (June 29 - July 7)
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