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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Location: Welcome Pass
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Sadie's Driver
PostFri Jul 05, 2019 8:03 pm 
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Well, Barry has wanted to do Cradle Lake forever! He can check that box now! There isn't a lot of information about Cradle Lake, so we were flying a little blind. However, David (Opus) was going to go with us during the Fourth weekend - but he opted for a trip to the Pasayten and decided to do Cradle Lake the weekend before us - - - but he went via a hike over the top of Bootjack and then dropping down to the Snowall-Cradle trail. Since, we have done Bootjack plenty of times, hiking up and over it with full packs, didn't appeal to us one bit!!  lol.gif  Instead, our plan was to take off from the Jack Creek trailhead. Drove out the Icicle Road not terribly early July 3; arrived at the trailhead and were on the trail by 10:30 a.m.
Trailhead
Trailhead

Something we quickly learned - maps DO lie and Gaia/GPS doesn't know everything! Anyway, this trip was more about following the signs and believing them! We used the Forest Service signage for our route. Just stay on the Jack Creek Trail, until you get the sign for Meadow Creek!
First intersection
First intersection
Second intersection
Second intersection
Jack Creek
Jack Creek

God bless someone (likely horse folks with chain saws) for getting on the Jack Creek and Meadow Creek trails already this year and clearing them from all of the winter blow-downs. Made it a lot easier. When we turned off at the Snowall-Cradle trail, a different story - don't think anyone has been up there and it's pretty steep for horses probably. Lots of blow-down early, but got better higher up. The trail is pretty easy for about seven+ miles along the creeks (crossing both Jack and Meadow Creeks), but the last three+ miles were steep. We nearly missed the two creek crossings and the turn up Snowall, due to inaccuracies on the Green Trails map (Barry says that the newest Alpine Lakes East Green Trails map is the most accurate. So, we fumbled around a bit - wasting almost an hour second-guessing ourselves if we had gone far enough - or if we had missed an intersection, but finally got ourselves headed the right direction. missed a lot of the fun. But the wildflowers were lovely - and should be good for another couple of weeks.
Plenty of wild flowers
Plenty of wild flowers
Intersection not where the map says!
Intersection not where the map says!
Queens Cup
Queens Cup
Almost failed to find this turn!
Almost failed to find this turn!

Perhaps the highlight of the trip (well, the Lake is lovely) was the gorgeous meadow we came to just a few steps from where we were to turn north and climb about 2500'. The pictures  don't do it justice. It was absolutely lovely and bursting with flowers!
A meadow worth a visit
A meadow worth a visit
This meadow is amazing
This meadow is amazing
The meadow and Harding
The meadow and Harding
A field dog!
A field dog!
Paintbrush and Tucquala in the distance
Paintbrush and Tucquala in the distance
Paintbrush and Harding
Paintbrush and Harding
Flowers a' plenty!
Flowers a' plenty!
Grouse egg?
Grouse egg?
We thought we were sooo close
We thought we were sooo close
"Almost there" he says!
"Almost there" he says!
Why yes they do!
Why yes they do!
Harding to the right and Stuart in the distance
Harding to the right and Stuart in the distance

The cruelty of this route is just when you think you're only about 200' below Cradle Lake - oh no - you drop another 200' to circumnavigate a big old bump. After having come about 10 miles with a full pack, that was just plain mean! But the lake was worth it. And the bugs were minimal.
Cradle Lake from the North end
Cradle Lake from the North end
Lovely Cradle Lake
Lovely Cradle Lake
Marsh Marigold & Shooting Star
Marsh Marigold & Shooting Star

We woke up to being inside a cloud! Literally. The tent was soaking from the condensation.
Where did the sun go?
Where did the sun go?
Sun trying to break through
Sun trying to break through

We got up and set out for a little wandering - even considering doing Nursery Peak - but once we got high on the ridge we saw that it was much farther than we thought and would take longer than we had - since we needed to be back in Wenatchee for the evening fireworks. We had a fun jaunt (the side-hilling wasn't much fun) and the tent had dried by the time we got back. We packed up and headed out.
Here we go on our morning jaunt
Here we go on our morning jaunt
Heading up to the ridge above the lake
Heading up to the ridge above the lake
Side-hill to our high point
Side-hill to our high point
Looking back to Cradle Lake from our high point
Looking back to Cradle Lake from our high point
Nursery Peak in the distance
Nursery Peak in the distance
Taking in Cradle Mtn
Taking in Cradle Mtn
Out little summit for the morning ~6900+'
Out little summit for the morning ~6900+'
Heading back to camp - above Cradle Lake
Heading back to camp - above Cradle Lake

Near the crossing of Meadow Creek, we came across a solo hiker who looked a bit perplexed. We asked him where he was headed and he said, "Cradle Lake, I think!" We assured him he was in the right place and not to believe the map, but pay attention to the signs - and take time to see the meadows. He was quite relieved and thanked us. He had bushwhacked to where we saw him from the crossing of Jack Creek!  eek.gif
Crossing Meadow Creek
Crossing Meadow Creek
Crossing Jack Creek
Crossing Jack Creek
Bunchberry
Bunchberry
Lush trail along Jack Creek (almost humid!)
Lush trail along Jack Creek (almost humid!)
Not sure what this is
Not sure what this is
Jack Creek
Jack Creek

He is the only person we would see until we got back to the car . . . a group of four had done a 14-mile (roundtrip) day-hike to the Meadows. The meadows are that good and it is a relatively easy hike with about 1000' of gain.. For us, 20+ miles/5k+ gain. Cooper says it was twice that! It probably was for him!

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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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NWH Joe-Bob
PostSat Jul 06, 2019 5:41 am 
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Wonderful report.  Thank you.  Id like to get in there in the fall.  There are some nice colors up there.   How would you compare what you just did to the BlackJack ridge route to the lake?

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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."

Abraham Lincoln
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RichP
here and there



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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here and there
PostSat Jul 06, 2019 6:09 am 
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Really beautiful. Your report has me inspired to visit someday.
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BarbE
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PostSat Jul 06, 2019 8:14 am 
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Beautiful lush meadow! Looks like an awesome trip!
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Location: Welcome Pass
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Sadie's Driver
PostSat Jul 06, 2019 8:43 am 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
How would you compare what you just did to the BlackJack ridge route to the lake?

BPJ - we only have been on a short segment of the Black Jack Ridge route - - - once when we did Bootjack - so I don't know a whole lot about that trail. The Eastern Alpine Lakes Green Trails map is correct, "Hard to follow." We did see pass the sign where it comes into the Snowall-Cradle trail. Opus went up to Cradle Lake last weekend - but he stayed even higher than the Black Jack Ridge Route and was about 1/2 way to Hi Chair peak before dropping down to the S-C trail - so he came in even farther than the BJR trail.

I don't know if you would save any mileage coming that way or not - guess it just depends on how hard it is to follow  confused.gif

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Opus
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Wannabe
PostSat Jul 06, 2019 6:08 pm 
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I went in there a few days before, going up and over Bootjack and through that high trail. I had planned to go across the top of Highchair and the next bump on the ridge but a massive hail and thunderstorm caught me and I had to drop down into the forest to ride it out. By then everything was coated in hailstones and super slick so I followed the trail through the trail that zigzags in and out of the basins before reaching Cradle Lake.

Like Barry and Suzanne said, the trail is really where the maps indicate here either. In the upper parts of Ben Creek basin the trail is around a hundred feet higher than USGS shows and crosses the ridge higher and further west before dropping steeply into Pablo Creek basin. More or less easy to follow until it reaches the creek, this time about 100 ft lower than the maps show. Then rising traverse out of the basin to meet the Meadow Creek trail, further east than the map shows.

I'd guess going in via Meadow Creek is easier but going up and over Highchair would save mileage. I went out by Snowall Creek and French Creek. A bit rough dropping down through Snowall and easy to lose in the upper meadows but well logged out. Ford of Snowall was kind of fast but short and the French Creek ford was mid-thigh deep but very slow moving and easy.

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HitTheTrail
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PostSat Jul 06, 2019 6:55 pm 
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Opus wrote:
I went in there a few days before, going up and over Bootjack and through that high trail.

OK, did you happen to see the trail that drops into the basin below Bootjack (where Dunn Creek starts) and then comes up and meets the high route trail to Cradle?

I dropped into that basin to get water before camping on Bootjack a couple of years ago and noticed the trail looked rather good in the basin going towards the high route. Out of curiosity followed it for a ways and it was still looking good before I turned back to my original destination of camping on the summit of Bootjack. I have always though that would be a good way to get to Cradle and skip some of the rocky summit bootpath. There are a few routes on Gaia that show that trail going through. In fact I think that is the original trail before freelancers started going across the top.

Dunn Creek Basin
Dunn Creek Basin
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Opus
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Wannabe
PostSat Jul 06, 2019 9:12 pm 
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I saw a spur trail begin to go down into Dunn Creek from a bit further east down the ridge, near where your map shows, but it looked like it faded out fairly quickly in the meadow below. I stayed completely on the ridge crest over Bootjack and on the ridge to the base of Highchair before I dropped down into high meadows, then down a few hundred feet into Ben Creek on a decent trail to escape the hail and lightning. After that there was nearly an inch of hailstones everywhere so any faint trails were really obscured. I sort of made my way back up towards the ridge and over into Pablo Creek drainage and found a very obvious trail off the ridge down into that drainage.
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Type E
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PostSun Jul 07, 2019 8:11 pm 
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Cradle lake still has my favorite view privy

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Please follow me at: http://alpinelakesaficionado.blogspot.com/
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iron
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getting old
PostSun Jul 07, 2019 9:27 pm 
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i thought you didn't post TRs anymore...

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ejain
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PostSun Jul 07, 2019 9:28 pm 
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Sadie's Driver wrote:
Not sure what this is
Not sure what this is

False Bugbane

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My Trips
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Sky Hiker
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PostMon Jul 08, 2019 4:11 am 
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You can thank Icicle Outfitters for packing in the tools used to work on this trail
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Downhill
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PostMon Jul 08, 2019 11:23 am 
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Thank you for posting your TR!  Your photos are fantastic and have me seriously considering a day trip to the meadow for the flowers.

I visited Cradle Lake in the late '70s and it has remained in my memory as one of my favorite destinations in the region.  I've considered returning, but still have a list of places I've yet to visit.  Your TR has inspired me to move a return trip up higher on my to-do list.  Thanks!
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Sadie's Driver
PostMon Jul 08, 2019 8:34 pm 
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iron wrote:
i thought you didn't post TRs anymore...

Just keeping you in suspense . . . you will be breathless with anticipation for the next one!  agree.gif  lol.gif   rotf.gif  ykm.gif  wave.gif

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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1748 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
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Sadie's Driver
PostMon Jul 08, 2019 8:41 pm 
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ejain wrote:
False Bugbane

Thanks, Ejain!

"You can thank Icicle Outfitters for packing in the tools used to work on this trail." Sky Hiker.
Cool, thanks! I'll stop by and thank them.

Downhill:  "Thank you for posting your TR!'
You're welcome - it pretty much wrote itself because of the pictures! It really is a great place. And, yes, it is worth it just to go to the meadows, too!

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