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siaumell
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PostSat Jul 25, 2020 8:51 pm 
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Each year you get a few opportunities to prove to yourself that you still got it. Still got what? I don’t know... Maybe the grit to sidle heather for 12 hours? Maybe the vocabulary to decipher 1960’s vernacular? Maybe the audacity to follow a seldom-traversed, random sub-range in the middle of the Glacier Peak Wilderness? Whatever “it” is, we were seeking proof that we were still in possession of its fleeting tangibility.

With Redfin open to the Arlington/Darrington region, we sped east on the 530 to the Suiattle River Road bumping Marvin Gaye in a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. With temperatures hitting 299.8 Kelvin, we ascended the primitive Sulfur Mountain Trail. We were like two Aspen real estate moguls: in possession of ample Mountain Houses. With views of GP, Sinister, Dome, Fortress, and the Dakobed Range to the south, we descended to Sulfur Mountain Lake for the first night. Slept on snow. Fished. Got a nibble. Lost a lure. Slept.


Day two began with an ascent of a peak labeled Peak 6438. A registry with a single entry: Fay Pullen. Abundant views. No clouds. A perfect day. Two more ascents of Kaiwhat and Sho-ghud-ope topped off the morning. We found some shorts above an unnamed lake. If you email us the make, model, and color, we can return them to you. Where were we? We fought gravity through the afternoon on the way to Lower Bath Lakes. A spare meniscus in the first aid kit came in handy. Lower Bath was snow covered; we bathed in its icy outlet.


Day three awaited our revival with a cloudy, socked-in greeting. Snow fields and heather lead to the west face of “The Great Wall” which has haunted our nightmares since the inception of the belief that we could possibly, maybe complete this ridge into the ether. Our unborn children begged us to heed Crowder and Tabor’s warning. “Please, please drop down around The Great Wall.” How could we resist? We plunged into the ash at the base of the behemoth, circled around at 5400’ and made our way into the next basin. Stonehenge Ridge arched into the abyss. Again we could not combat the magnetic pull of summits in this wild place. We bagged a few before dropping to Canyon Lake. Twelve hours after Lower Bath and we were still married.


A lazy morning to start day four. Fish. Swim. Eat. Lose a lure. Saw one trout in Canyon Lake. Swell. The trail to Image Lake wasn’t too bad. Early reports had detailed a Lewis-and-Clark-like expedition. We hit triple 7s and didn’t lose the trail. Knowing our intelligence and map reading ability, it was all luck. We spent the night at Image Lake.


Day five we dayhiked to Lyman Lake. Wow, very cold. Tried to climb Plummer, but we were pooped and running low on food. Returned to Image. Lots of campers corralled with us in the camping zone. Someone’s dog pooped in the camping area. Me being a passive, Seattle-born softy, didn’t say anything. Maybe I am part of the problem...


We awoke early on day six and ate breakfast on Miner’s Ridge. Our backs to Glacier Peak, we marveled at what we had accomplished. We also saw a fisher on the trail. Not the stinky, Darrington-weekender fisher, but a real fisher. I converted into atrial fibrillation in excitement. The hike out was the lovely Suiattle that we all know so well. Those long river valleys.


So what is Bath Lakes? Two frozen lakes we pass in clouds? Sore knees? Ruined shoes? Physical places taking form after years of scouring maps late at night in a Ravenna apartment? Great conversations with other cascade enthusiasts? A couple trying to escape to the simplicity to prove that they still got “it”?

Stats:
1 hat lost
Another’s hat returned
50 campers at Image Lake
300 quotes from The Wire
45 tears shed in jubilation at Canyon Lake
2 fish
0 calories of food left in the bear canisters
4 shoes wrecked

If you have any questions you can send me a message and I can give you some details. Cheers.
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neek
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PostSat Jul 25, 2020 9:14 pm 
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Not my shorts.  The great wall isn't that bad, honest.
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Jeff
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Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
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PostSat Jul 25, 2020 9:45 pm 
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That wrap from day three looks incredible. Would you care to share the recipe?
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FiresideChats
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PostSun Jul 26, 2020 11:49 pm 
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A great trip and a fun write up.  up.gif
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geyer
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PostMon Jul 27, 2020 8:56 am 
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Fun read! Congrats on staying married  lol.gif
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Fatrick
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PostMon Jul 27, 2020 11:51 am 
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Nice Work!

There are a lot of features I wouldn't do again on various trips, but the Great Wall just barely makes the repeat list.
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siaumell
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PostWed Aug 05, 2020 7:45 am 
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Neek- the Great wall looked pretty good from the other direction. Your trip report from last year helped a ton.

Jeff- the ingredients for the wrap: wild rice from the paddies below Lyman Lake, organic arugula picked on the steep heather slopes of the Glacier Peak Wilderness, trout caught at Canyon Lake and smoked with juniper wood from Canyonlands National Park, and a tortilla made from wheat grown from fields outside the church in Holden. Just kidding; MountainHouse chicken and rice on a tortilla.
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cascadetraverser
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PostWed Aug 05, 2020 11:08 am 
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Well done.  That is a beautiful and remote place. Nice to know that the trail from Canyon to Image is still good.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Swales and Vales: An Adroit Couple's Attempt at the Bath Lakes High Route
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