Forum Index > Trip Reports > Lake Lillian, Cameron, Grey Wolf Loop
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Eaglecadd
Member
Member


Joined: 05 Feb 2010
Posts: 177 | TRs
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
Eaglecadd
  Top

Member
PostMon Aug 10, 2020 12:50 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Iím sorry for this being such a late trip report but Iíve been backpacking almost constantly for the last month and Iím just now getting around to filing some trip reports.

This adventure begin on 13 July from Obstruction Point parking area. It was a pretty cold morning with a cold breeze but a beautiful sunny sky. This year, as the last, a couple of my good friends from Hawaii and one other good friend from here came to do this route with me.


The trip to The point from the parking area to where the trail splits to go down into Grand valley or out along with Lillian Ridge was pretty and the views of Olympics all around that morning were stunning.

Many many times Iíve taken the left-hand trail down into Grand valley and Moose and Gladies Lakes, but this time we went straight along Lillian Ridge to low divide.


From there, the trail becomes less and less distinct as you to descend and circle the valley on the way to Lillian lake.

The way got brushy and less and less visible. By the time we got to the valley floor and cross the little creek it was early afternoon. We kind of got lost at that point and didnít know whether to go up on the hillside or follow the creek down and then go up to the lake. We decide to stay high rather than lose elevation which turned out to be good and bad. The way got brushy and rough as we went along the traverse. Eventually we came to a small area overlooking one of the most beautiful and largest meadows Iíve ever seen in the Olympics perhaps other than thousand acre Meadows.

We dropped down into the Meadows and set up camp on a gravel area on the south side of the meadow. The wild flowers are beautiful and the blooming Willows in the valley floor look like tiny caterpillarĎs.


A couple does moved in and out of our camp all day and all evening. There were at least four bears we could see up on the surrounding hillsides stuffing themselves for the winter. We were pretty tired and None of us had the energy to hike up to the lake that evening. Early the next morning we Rose, had our breakfast and headed up the rocky slopes to the lower of the two Lillian lakes. The lower lake was about half covered with ice.


When we climbed up to the upper lake it was like someone had painted the strange circular lake with a ring of water around the perimeter and the entire middle covered in ice. We stopped there, watered up because we knew there would not be much water beyond this point. We got our ice axes and crampons on and headed up the steep snowfield toward the west and up over the ridge looking down into lost Creek.


The trail from here on was basically a traverse on a very steep side slope. We knew that it was An old trail route but it was very difficult to find in some places and plain as day in others. Thereís a beautiful little tarn  halfway down the slope on the other side but we decided to stay higher on the slope and not lose the elevation once again. Iím not sure this was really the best way to go. It mightíve been better to go down to the lake refill our water supply and try to stay lower on the hillside along the meadow areas there. But we struggled on side-hilling. Eventually we came to this beautiful little terrace high above the valley floor with a large snowfield on the east side of the flat area.


We decided to set up camp here in the area we called the penthouse which had a magnificent 180į plus view across lost Creek and onto the Bailey range. It was a spectacular Sunset that night behind Mount Olympus.


Our only water source along that hillside was a little water draining out from under the snow field. It was just barely enough to get us by and get us supplied water for our continued journey on to Cameron pass. There are many obstacles to cross along this route including through brushy and partially treed areas, large slippery scree fields, and some talus slopes.

The avalanche lily displays were absolutely amazing in this area. I donít think Iíve ever seen a more beautiful display of the lilies anywhere else in the Olympics. We were more than pleased when we finally reached Cameron pass. All the side hilling was very tiring especially since there really wasnít a reasonable trail to follow.


As we looked down into Cameron basin we saw there was still fairly large snowfields on the north side of the pass which we had to cross to get to the valley floor. Once again we put on our crampons and proceeded cautiously on to the valley. Cameron basically is one of my favorite places in the Olympics. Iíve camped here many times and I knew of a small tarn which was generally a good water supply on the east side of the upper basin. This was our third night campsite.


It got to be very very cold that night. So cold in fact that the pond froze about an eighth of an inch thick in ice.


The next morning after breakfast and after watering up we headed up the slope to a small pass on the north side of Mount Cameron. Iíve been over this route a couple of times as well. Itís a really tough go trying to find your way down into the small valley below on the east side of Cameron basin.


I donít even know if this small Valley has a particular name but it has a lot of beautiful scenery. Thereís a beautiful jade green lake on the far side of the valley.  At the head of that valley is a very nice open Meadow. Here, as in Cameron basin,  there were still large snow fields. The last time I was up in these basins the glaciers were exposed and were obviously retreating. This time they were still covered with much snow and hopefully adding to their base layers. We saw more bear up in the upper basin where we camped this time.

And everywhere we went there were massive wildflower displays to see. Once our camp was set up and we were settled in for the night we were awoken by the sound of a big cat crying. It can be a pretty scary sound when youíre half asleep and then suddenly awoken by that. It is nice to know there are still some large predators around out there hidden away in the little valleys that no one goes to.

The next morning we arose to another beautiful sunny morning. Sure why not letís climb another ridge and down into the valley on the other side to Cedar Lake. We were the only ones at Cedar Lake Camp that next day.

There were fish jumping all over in the lake and my two buddies from Hawaii who are avid fisherman, decided to try to catch a fish. Now I donít mean to say they had brought any fishing tackle along. No no, they took a needle heated it up and bentit  into the shape of a hook, tied some thread onto the needle and tied the other end of the thread onto a hiking pole and took a flower from a willow to use as bait. Amazingly, they did catch a trout which we had for dinner. Just goes to show this was another one of those amazing adventures you can find out in the back country in the Olympics with a little ingenuity added in.


The next morning we hiked down the Cedar Lake Way trail and on down the Grey wolf trail to three Forks where we would camp for the night. Once again the campground was almost empty there so we had lots of room to spread out.


It was another pleasant evening falling asleep to the sound of the rivers there which were flowing fairly high. In the morning we made that somewhat grueling climb back up to Deer Park which end of this adventure. We had positioned a car there as well as the one out of obstruction point and from there made our way on back to port Angeles. Much of this adventure was off trail as you can tell. The weather was perfect the wildflowers were beautiful and the animals we saw made it that much more exciting an adventure for my Hawaiian friends. This is definitely not a route for beginners but for those of us whoíve had many years hiking in the Olympics it is definitely a viable and beautiful route.

--------------
Hike until you Drop!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
RAW-dad
Member
Member


Joined: 07 Jul 2017
Posts: 72 | TRs
Location: Oregon
RAW-dad
  Top

Member
PostMon Aug 10, 2020 1:23 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
up.gif  up.gif  up.gif
I did most of this trip last August, but in reverse.  It's a beaut!
Thanks for sharing.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
RodF
Member
Member


Joined: 01 Sep 2007
Posts: 2557 | TRs
Location: Sequim WA
RodF
  Top

Member
PostMon Aug 10, 2020 8:38 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Eaglecadd wrote:
a small pass on the north side of Mount Cameron. Iíve been over this route a couple of times as well. Itís a really tough go trying to find your way down into the small valley below on the east side of Cameron basin...

Which route did you choose to descend?  The lateral moraine, prominent and snow-free on the right side of your photo (labelled above), provides a relatively easy ramp down into the basin east of the pass.

It's a neat route!  Thanks for sharing.

--------------
"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivatedĒ - Vandana Shiva
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Eaglecadd
Member
Member


Joined: 05 Feb 2010
Posts: 177 | TRs
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
Eaglecadd
  Top

Member
PostTue Aug 11, 2020 6:45 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The first time I did this route, a few years ago, I did go most of the way down the top of the moraine. This year, we started to go down it but then moved off it to the South side of it. The scree and mud was wet and slippery there though.  The trick in this area is to find the Non-technical way through this area and down to the valley floor. A very small escape route indeed.

--------------
Hike until you Drop!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
benneke
Member
Member


Joined: 15 Sep 2018
Posts: 25 | TRs

benneke
  Top

Member
PostTue Aug 11, 2020 12:39 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Great report! I had a nice afternoon break on 7/27 at the spot where you camped on night 2. At that point part of the snowfield had melted into a pond I gathered water from. I have not done the Cameron - Greywolf traverse yet, I imagine its much more difficult than the Lillian - Cameron section?
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Eaglecadd
Member
Member


Joined: 05 Feb 2010
Posts: 177 | TRs
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
Eaglecadd
  Top

Member
PostTue Aug 11, 2020 3:57 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yes, I guess I would say the Cameron to Cedar Lake part is harder but that is kind of what makes it more interesting. The hardest part may be the route finding. There is also the tough ups and downs over the ridges, but again, that also makes it more interesting. I just Love the Olympics in that there are still lots of places that are new to me even after 50+ years backpacking there.

--------------
Hike until you Drop!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
   All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Lake Lillian, Cameron, Grey Wolf Loop
  Happy Birthday TravelinJohnnie!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy