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drv8535
Darrick



Joined: 06 Apr 2019
Posts: 17 | TRs
Location: Spokane
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Darrick
PostWed Aug 05, 2020 3:49 pm 
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Headed out from Spokane early, but still started out Sunday later than we wanted (~1030a) from Parmenter Creek TH. Very hot, and definitely humid, making for somewhat dangerous conditions for almost 3K’ of gain over 10 miles to reach Sky Lake. I had the pleasure of experiencing heat exhaustion for the first time in my life as a result. Thankfully my 4 buddies nursed me back to health as we took a 30 minute break to cool off at Flower Creek and drink a ton of water and Gatorade. Huckleberries galore, just pick and eat as you walk by! Flower Creek trail was pretty overgrown after the Hanging Lake junction. The climb up to Sky Lake was a grind!

Got to Sky Lake at 6p.


Camping night 1, all to ourselves. Saw 2 people on the trail all day... IT WAS HOT. Mosquitoes were annoying, but manageable.


Day 2 (Monday), destination Upper Cedar Lake. Gameday decision: backtrack 2 miles to Flower Creek, then head west, uphill to gain the ridge of the Cabinet Divide Trail North, or go off trail over Sugarloaf Mountain, and connect with the trail on the ridge?? Off trail it is...

Gained the ridge, headed north toward Sugarloaf.


Since we didn’t know if Sugarloaf could be descended on its north face (without technical gear), we opted to skirt the western slopes the whole way. Tons of loose talus fields. Not ideal, especially with main packs on, no water sources, and the heat picking up. But, with the actual trail in sight at the top of the ridge we pushed on! I would comfortably call most of this western slope difficult class 2 - the exposure was definitely dicey for a few moments. I would not recommend this route if you are not comfortable with some exposure, steep slopes, and decent route finding skills. Full disclosure: we did cliff-out once and had to backtrack several hundred feet and find another route. Yay adventures!


(Looking south) I believe that’s Snowshoe Peak in the far background.

Fairly easy ridge walking after those grueling 3 miles off trail. Trail 360N is a beautiful trail with spectacular views. Then, of course once you hit the ridge overlooking Upper Cedar Lake, you realize THIS is why we do what we do! THIS is why we punish our bodies on the trail! Upper Cedar Lake is without a doubt one of the most photogenic alpine lakes I’ve ever been to. And somehow, we had it all to ourselves AGAIN! There was easily 7-8 campsites, yet no one to be seen but us. Perfect weather on a perfect evening, with great friends, with a truly unbelievable backdrop. Go, if you haven’t yet...


Day 3 (Tuesday), hiked out via North Parmenter Creek, connecting back up with Parmenter Creek trail 140. Soooo glad I planned to do this loop clockwise like we did. I cannot imagine hiking up to Cedar Lakes this way, that would be a serious grind. Trail 139 was extremely overgrown for the valley portion. ~11 miles total from lake back to car.

Overall: ~30 miles. Total gain = not sure but I imagine somewhere in the 5000-5500’ mark. Several dozen blowdowns descending to Upper Cedar Lake, but all were manageable to step over or around. Bugs were there, but not miserable. This is grizz territory. Lots of “hey bear!” when we approached dense vegetation and overgrown parts of the trail. Saw plenty of prints and scat, but thankfully didn’t see any actual bears. Super duper hot 3 day stretch (I learned my lesson). Even though we had the opportunity to summit both Sugarloaf and Dome Mountain on day 2, the heat made us rethink - with no water source until the lake, and with my heat exhaustion from day 1, we decided as a group that it just wasn’t worth it. Maybe some day in the future I’ll head back and bag Dome Mtn at least.

People who live in Libby have unreal views to enjoy every day, and for that, I am jealous. What an incredible Wilderness that thankfully is not terribly overused.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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Joined: 05 Sep 2011
Posts: 6976 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
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Member
PostWed Aug 05, 2020 4:11 pm 
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drv8535 wrote:
I had the pleasure of experiencing heat exhaustion for the first time in my life as a result.

eek.gif   Yikes.  I either had that or heat stroke towards the end of a trip in the Sierras with my brother.  Not a good position to be in.  Good on your buddies for taking care of you.
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drv8535
Darrick



Joined: 06 Apr 2019
Posts: 17 | TRs
Location: Spokane
drv8535
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Darrick
PostWed Aug 05, 2020 8:49 pm 
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Yes! They said, “dude, you look like dogshit”  hihi.gif Apparently I went white as a ghost in a minute and my lips turned bright red. I felt super pukey in my guts and was extremely light headed, also started to muscle cramp in my hammys. It happened so fast, kinda freaky. They sat my ass down and we just took a long break to sort it all out. Thankfully a liter of Gatorade and some jerky squared me away. I genuinely thought I was about to ruin a 3-day trip I’d been planning for several months!
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coldrain108
Thundering Herd



Joined: 05 Aug 2010
Posts: 1612 | TRs
Location: somewhere over the rainbow
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Thundering Herd
PostThu Aug 06, 2020 3:14 pm 
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My phone decided to take this picture while I was in the middle of recovering from heat exhaustion/bonking while halfway up Lost Pass on a smoky hot day in 2018.  That hand looks miserable. Glad I don't have pic of the rest of me.  Took at least 30 minutes to recover.   Scary sh## when you are out there and you start getting dizzy, I was solo so it was up to me to recognize my state and deal with it properly.   I learned a valuable lesson that day - Kind Bars are not food - unless you are a squirrel, combined with a strong cup of tea and hot day you are in trouble if that is all you ate. Made a full recovery, found a lake to swim in, all is well and a lesson learned.

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"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing"  - Albert Einstein
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