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neek
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PostWed Jul 15, 2020 3:42 pm 
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Took the family up the West Fork Foss trail on Monday.  They camped at Little Heart Lake while I walked around taking comet pics.  I went up and over St. Agnes Ridge and then back over Atrium Peak, thereby making a big loop around Angeline Lake.

The road is fine for low clearance.  Too anxious to pass someone going slow, I missed the turn for Road 6835 and went half way to the Rock Lake trail.  Serves me right!

Parking lot was pretty full for a weekday, but not overflowing.  With so many camp sites and pit toilets, that area can accommodate a lot.  It seemed most weren't venturing much beyond Copper Lake.  Too bad; they missed all the mosquitoes between Copper and Little Heart.  At camp it was a matter of getting things set up quickly and then diving in the tent.  If you're headed this way, I recommend continuing on to Big Heart--no bugs there, and more scenic.  There's some snow to cross after Little Heart, but even at night when it was frozen I didn't need microspikes.  (I did use them briefly coming down Atrium.)

After dinner I headed to Big Heart Lake and then up St. Agnes Ridge.  This peak is seldomly climbed, so I was surprised to find a trail most of the way.  Monty has a good description of the route here.  In fact his party from a year ago was the last to sign the register.

St. Agnes is an OK viewpoint, but various hills get in the way of all but the tops of Overcoat, Chimney Rock, and a few other big peaks.  It made me want to get up Iron Cap again.  No clouds made for an uninteresting sunset.  I looked at the map and thought maybe I could just keep going south and meet up with the Chetwoot Lake trail.  Downclimbing an obscure peak in the dark on an unknown route, what could possibly go wrong?  Turns out that way was even easier than the north side, and I was nearly to partially-melted Azure Lake before pulling out the headlamp.  Here I finally turned around and noticed the comet.  It was bigger and brighter than expected, even though the sky wasn't completely dark yet.  Seeing that object in the sky for the remainder of my night hike was a surreal experience, and I wondered what humans thought of various astronomical phenomena before they had any understanding of what was really going on.  Wikipedia says "Until the sixteenth century, comets were usually considered bad omens of deaths of kings or noble men, or coming catastrophes, or even interpreted as attacks by heavenly beings against terrestrial inhabitants."  To me it was a very uplifting experience.  It is funny how a little knowledge can affect one's subjective experience of a thing.

The lake wasn't frozen enough to walk across (I tried...), so I fumbled my way across the hillside and then hopped over the bump to Chetwoot.  Along the way I put my finger on something slimy.  Slug?  Poop?  No, it was a salamander--one of several just hanging out and taking no notice of me.  After that I was careful about where I stepped.

The late night return trip over Atrium Peak had some nostalgia value for me because I had done it once before, not intentionally, on a scouting trip that lasted longer than expected.  At least this time I had a tent to go back to, rather than the car.  I reached said tent at 4am, had a snack, and caught a few hours of sleep.

Anyone venturing beyond Big Heart, perhaps doing the Foss loop, should be prepared for a considerable amount of snow, and the usual routefinding challenges.

Waterfall coming off the east side of Malachite Peak
Waterfall coming off the east side of Malachite Peak
A portion of Malachite Falls
A portion of Malachite Falls
Copper Lake
Copper Lake
Malachite Peak from Copper Lake
Malachite Peak from Copper Lake
Little Heart Lake
Little Heart Lake
Big Heart Lake
Big Heart Lake
Nearing the summit of St Agnes Ridge
Nearing the summit of St Agnes Ridge
Big Heart from St Agnes
Big Heart from St Agnes
St Agnes register jar
St Agnes register jar
Otter Lake
Otter Lake
Azurite Lake
Azurite Lake
Chimney Rock and Overcoat peaking up behind the west ridge of Iron Cap
Chimney Rock and Overcoat peaking up behind the west ridge of Iron Cap
Silver Eagle Peak
Silver Eagle Peak
Little Big Chief and Iron Cap
Little Big Chief and Iron Cap
Bears Breast
Bears Breast
A distant waterfall
A distant waterfall
Not sure but I think this is Big Heart Lake and Malachite Peak
Not sure but I think this is Big Heart Lake and Malachite Peak
Salamander
Salamander

I'm not equipped to take crystal clear night shots (and to make matters worse, my focus was off), but they turned out OK for a first attempt.

NEOWISE over Azure Lake
NEOWISE over Azure Lake
Comet - taken from Big Heart Lake
Comet - taken from Big Heart Lake
Tail pointing nearly directly up at 3am
Tail pointing nearly directly up at 3am
Stars above Camp Robber Peak
Stars above Camp Robber Peak
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nordique
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PostWed Jul 15, 2020 4:38 pm 
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Fabulous photos, especially night comet photos!
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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PostWed Jul 15, 2020 11:11 pm 
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neek wrote:
I reached said tent at 4am

That's making the most of the time! Beautiful shots all around. Thanks for the report.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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FiresideChats
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PostThu Jul 16, 2020 8:02 am 
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Well played! Great idea and pics.
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Roald
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PostThu Jul 16, 2020 3:05 pm 
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Wow, Nick, talk about squeezing a lot out of a day (and night)!  Beautiful pics and great effort.  I haven't been following these posts, but it looks like you have been getting out on some amazing outings.
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Nancyann
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PostThu Jul 16, 2020 10:54 pm 
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What a great trip and pics, including the comet photos. Nice that you could include the family on this one. For future family trips you might be interested in bringing along the Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Diffuser that fourteen410 mentioned in a recent trip report. I used one for five days in the Pasayten recently and it worked well most of the time.
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neek
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PostFri Jul 17, 2020 7:06 am 
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Interesting device.  I'd hesitate using it near any lake or stream though.  Allethrin is highly toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates.
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Nancyann
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PostFri Jul 17, 2020 10:30 am 
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Good to know, thankfully we did not use it near any lakes and streams. I was actually thinking it would be nice to use a more natural concoction such as citronella, eucalyptus, etc. in the diffuser or just citronella candles like we used to. smile.gif
Thinking about it some more, I saved the little mat after it ran out of chemicals, so Im going to pick up some essence of citronella and infuse it into the used mat, along with some eucalyptus I have. Will be testing soon! (Sorry for the thread drift, neek!)
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Goats Know
Gravity's Bitch



Joined: 29 Aug 2007
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Gravity's Bitch
PostThu Jul 23, 2020 11:20 am 
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Luckily, I just bought a book of "Amphibians of the Pacific Northwest", so I am ready to bore people with pedantic salamander identification facts!  cool.gif

I think that is a Long Toed Salamander.

That is all.

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Here on this mountaintop...Woahoho...I got some wild, wild life  - Talking Heads
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