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cascadetraverser
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PostMon May 11, 2020 7:00 pm 
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I thought it might be fun to post some old trips to contrast and compare what it was like back then; in particular, I did two cross-cascade trips, one the Boundary Trail; so here goes…..

Boundary Trail 1992:

It was a particularly rainy NW summer, and I was keen to spend a big chunk of time outdoors and also keen to return to my teen-age stomping grounds in the Pasayten Wilderness.  The Boundary Trail fit the bill.


I enlisted my friend Jay`s help for a long drive out to Loomis (he would later meet up to hike the last week and resupply me at Ross Lake) and he dropped me at the Iron Gate trailhead.  I hefted my 75 lb pack (that’s what I carried back then!) The weather that summer had been iffy and my mid July start felt more like March/April.  The skies were gray and after an hour or so of hiking, the rain started and before long was pretty torrential; and eventually, at the very early reaches of Horseshoe Basin, I retreated into a pretty wet tent.  Rain turned to snow and lightning cracked and about 4 inches fell.  What a start. No going back though, as my ride was back in Seattle and there was absolutely no communication on the trail back then. What had I got myself into?


The next day practically everyone was heading back to Iron Gate, while I set out in the opposite direction, west through intermittent showers. I headed over to Scheelite pass and 2 days later through pretty much on and off rain, gladly and surprisingly took my shelter in the Tungsten Mine dwellings and dried myself out (mice and all!)

The next day I headed over to Cathedral lakes in continuous rain and snow.  It was interesting because after being pissed (internally and on!) for days at the continual rain and the constant need to protect my clothes, sleeping bag and all the work that that entailed, at some point I realized I might as well enjoy it, no matter what, if I could?  It took days of rain before that dawned on me but the power of that whole experience wouldn`t have really stuck so well any other way….


I then headed over to Bald Mt and did a side trip to Quartz Lake and also the Ramon Lakes.  The rain was pretty much on and off every day.  I got into a routine of pulling out all my wet stuff whenever the sun briefly came out (and it was surely less than a handful of times) that week.  I made sure to protect my sleeping bag and a dry pair of clothes at all costs.  There were next to no people on the trail, thanks to the lousy weather, no doubt.  I had failed to pack a jack knife (ugg)and wished I had one every day.  I ran into a couple, a week into the trip, and they kindly gave me a small one (years later I sadly saw their pictures in a Seattle times article of a ski avalanche that took them both).  I also ran into a tough, no nonsense, rural guy and his son and shared a fire not too far away from Allison pass.  He informed me I was a 206er (hadn`t heard that one before) and our types were all kind of trouble for the eastern side of the state; yadayada…He wasn’t all that bad though and the fire and company was pretty nice.


Finally hiked through my old stomping grounds where I had spent a month as an SCA volunteer as an 18 year old.  Hiking from Allison pass to Elbow basin, I ran into a nice couple and spent a night with them at the camp near the Three Fools Shelter.  I then backtracked to Nightmare camp, day hiked up to Willow lake where I had spent a month building trails way back when.  It was pretty eerie, being there all by myself.  Back in the day, we had spent weeks trail building on the stretch of trail from Nightmare camp to Willow Lake and every day, we would return to Nightmare Camp to eat, rest, have fun and then go to sleep.  I got this powerful déjà vu feeling as I was walking back towards Nightmare Camp, as if everyone would still be there.  Alas it was just me.


I then dropped down to the camp next to Lightning creek and relaxed.  The next morning Jay, my taxi rider, arrived by boat and I hopped a ride over to Little Beaver Landing.  He had some great sausage and other meat which I happily devoured!  It was nice to have his company.


We hiked up the Little Beaver trail and camped at Tapto Lakes.  Intermittent rain breaks and the whole Challenger massive was there.  Wow…My first look at that one.  We dropped into the Chilliwack and then cruised Cooper Ridge (loads of rain again) and then finally exited via Hannegan Pass.


My last memory of the trip was eating at a diner, along highway 542, and walked outside the restaurant to take a pee!

I remember that the conditions of the Boundary Trail were pretty excellent at that time, with virtually no burns and very little blowdown and a really quiet trail.  Never imaged what happens within 15 years to that area.  Thankfully, it`s on the mend…..
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Tomlike
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PostMon May 11, 2020 9:21 pm 
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this is so great, thanks for posting! So cool to see pictures from before the burns.

I hiked from Iron Gate to Ross Lake last summer.  There was a significant amount of trail work done last year which we appreciated immensely.
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Backpacker Joe
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PostTue May 12, 2020 5:04 am 
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That'some journey.  Thanks for posting.

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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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reststep
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PostTue May 12, 2020 5:21 am 
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Enjoyed reading that. Thanks for sharing.

75 pound pack.  Times have changed. What does your pack weigh now?

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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John Morrow
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PostTue May 12, 2020 5:32 am 
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In 1988 I was one of the crew that logged it out in mid June from Iron Gate to Spanish Camp, then Andrews on the way out.

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
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glenoid
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PostTue May 12, 2020 7:32 am 
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Pretty nice Marc. I am proud of you getting your pack down to 65 pounds now! (Of course you carry the rope and all the other stuff I am too lazy to carry, plus your 5 pound bag of candy, and tarp for the rain you seem to attract..) Next time the forecast is for a week of rain here, I will let you know. You can go out and facetime me in my living room, while you are having happy hour under the green, rain filtered light of your dripping tarp!
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RichP
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PostTue May 12, 2020 7:42 am 
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Sweet. Reminds me that there's still plenty I haven't seen in the Pasayten.
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cascadetraverser
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PostWed May 13, 2020 11:57 am 
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Thanks all.  It was fun putting this one together from old photo albums.  Reststep, my pack is a lot lighter. I would say about 55-60 lbs for a 7-8 days traverse which includes ropes and some climbing gear.
Glenoid, I have yet to convince you (and most people) of the joys of rainy day tarp camping  with a fire.  I will keep working at it!
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Fletcher
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PostWed May 13, 2020 2:58 pm 
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This was a really fun read! Thanks for posting. How things have changed out there in 28 years.
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Gil
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PostWed May 13, 2020 7:34 pm 
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This made my day after a hard day!

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Friends help the miles go easier.
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Nancyann
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PostWed May 13, 2020 9:02 pm 
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Thanks for putting together this trip report. It’s an entertaining story and I really enjoyed seeing what the Pasayten looked like before the fires!
After waking up to several inches of snow at Airview Lake at the end of June, (and hiking all the way down Andrews Creek in relentless snow), we changed from checking Winthrop weather reports to Kamloops instead, for more realistic Pasayten forecasts. Of course back in the day, you were own your own!
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Sculpin
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PostThu May 14, 2020 7:38 am 
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My wife and I also hiked the Boundary Trail in the '90s.  Weather forecasts were nowhere near as sophisticated, and there was this general feeling that westsiders could find better weather in the eastern Pasayten.  But it never worked out that way, if it was cloudy on the west side it would be raining in the Pasayten, so many folks have a tale of bad weather up there.  There was a visitor's log book in the old mining cabin, and I remember reading many testimonials about trips ruined by weather.

There seems to have been a regime change in the weather.  The sort of thing that climate scientists would call a "decadal oscillation."  Instead of intermittent rain in the summer it now dries out and burns.

One of my fondest hiking memories was when my wife and I scrambled up steep meadows and camped at Teapot Dome tarn.  It felt like we were in heaven.    smile.gif

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Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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Stella
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PostThu May 14, 2020 4:27 pm 
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Terrific trip report! Thanks for bringing back memories of a beloved landscape.

Sculpin wrote:
It felt like we were in heaven.

Are you sure it wasn't heaven? I think it might be...
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