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Yurtdog - Pacific Northwest Trail Journal - 2013

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Stephan
City: Kelly
State: Wyoming
Begins: Jul 16, 2013
Direction: Westbound

Daily Summary
Date: Fri, Feb 7th, 2014
Trip Distance: 1,086.9

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 2,408
Journal Visits: 17,614
Guestbook Views: 1,592
Guestbook Entrys: 14

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Pacific Northwest Trail Map

some info for future hikers

I was jotting down some notes for Li, when I decided I should probably post them here as well, so here goes, I hope it helps.

I was impressed by how much trail was cleared in Montana and Idaho this year. I sincerely felt as though I was days behind the trail crew in many spots. Glacier was not one of them.

Even though it makes for a long walk into Polebridge, the Boulder Pass/ Hole-in-the-Wall route is highly recommended. Glacier would not have been as good without it. It was by far the highlight of the 'Northern Traverse' of the park, although the trail down to Upper Kintla lake was badly overgrown.

At Red Meadows Lake there is a spring around the right (East, I think) side. Hard to get to, possibly easier to swim to. Listen for it draining into the lake....I would guess at 0.3 m contour bushwhack from top campsite (with bearbox).

Whitefish Divide trail is poorly marked on maps, there is substantial elevation gain/loss here, repeatedly.

Be sure to carry water for the southern alternate through 10 Lakes SA. The pond along the alt. is fetid with no inflow or outflow.

I think it should be mentioned that there are ample opportunities for 'stealthish' camping between Eureka and Mariners Haven along the lake (benches and picnic tables included). There are toilets, showers, sinks and water at the CG/dock at Mariners Haven. Then a very limited store just before the nasty roadwalk.

-perhaps people should know that the odds of staying in any of the lookouts that are worthwhile are extremely slim. Webb mountain, for instance, is rented out within days of the opening date for the entire season. Most of them are locked anyway.

Trails in and out of Moyie river were outstanding. Ruby ridge trail especially. Bussard peak trail good as well, but tough after a huge lunch at Fiest (say feast, really) Crk resort. Trails good to Bonners, the small bushwhack around the lake is not the worst...there is a new mtn bike track along the E side of the lake as well, although I don't know where it goes...

Parker Mountain trail was clean as a whistle, but the evidence of blowdowns is astonishing. Once the ridge is attained, there is lovely camping everywhere, but no water. The spring on the way up was so small I don't think I bothered....there are also 'widow-makers' hanging over the whole area around it.
Lion Creek bushwhack as advertised. Possibly more difficult since everything was soaking wet. Try to follow trail when you can, then it's just path of least resistance.
Where KC went along ridge to Sullivan Lake, I went straight over the divide down Thunder Mountain trail 326. 5m to Sullivan Lake rd. Met John Knechtel and Trig at the Circle motel. The cutoff to the Circle motel stops at a shed. just drop very steeply down to the rd on your right. Takes you right to the motel, then 1-2m to MF.

23 miles out of Northport, Pierre Lake CG is 1 1/2 m off the 'trail' and does have water from faucets.

The Kettles are fun hiking. Snow Peak Cabin is unlocked and I believe it's 1st come, 1st served in the summer. It seems like getting to Republic would be easy via Snow Peak canyon(?). As if we need another alternate here, but you do get the best part of the Kettles without the entire orbit. Grand Canyon of the Sanpoil was only o.k. for me, then just a ton of roads again.
The short bushwhack off of Edds ridge is not too bad. Always stay to the right of the new growth, and of the (2012 GPS) track in general, until you start to see old fireline, then old trail ,then old rd, etc... this will take you out to the rd eventually. Oh, the Edds ridge trail is ridiculously hard to spot where it turns off the Kettle Crest trail. I think you are just starting to head downhill when the Edds trl turns abruptly uphill to the right. The sign was knocked over too, which didn't help.

13 mile Campground free, water from creek. 10 mile camp closed. Both of these are trashed, especially 10 mile.

Bonaparte Peak. Antoine trail was in great shape, I was told by trail crew in the Pasayten that they did 4th of July trail right after Tomato went through, so that should be cleared as well. I also took the yellow diagonal cutoff past Havillah toward Whistler Canyon. It is a long roadwalk with no water but its fine. Trailers and dogs and cows along the way.
Summit Lake - Dan and Beth told me there was no water (aside from the lake) and overall it is an unimproved area, hardly a camp.

Rail Trail - you can call for permission to go through Nighthawk, Stiker (PNT boards) has the number. There is still an awkward fence crossing just before the 'town' of Nighthawk. And don't be discouraged by the countless signs telling you you're trespassing along the way!
Whiskey trail? We got busted trespassing. It looks like a loose pile of scree to me though. But if it's doable, it certainly beats walking around Palmer Lake.

Chopaka Lake is beautiful. CG, H2O, privy.
Had a hard time finding any trail to Cold Springs CG. Cow trail maybe. This was confusing after turning off of the road.
FYI, I did not see KC after this.
The Pasayten is wonderful. It's easy navigation on good trails too.
The cabins at the Tungsten Mine camp are 'not recommended' by rangers. Apparently there is a pack rat problem here. I did not see any hiker box here (rumor). There is plenty of camping with water nearby.
After crossing the Pasayten River just keep moving away from the river .2-.3 miles up onto a small bench. The trail is right there. Turn left. The fire damage seemed to be cleared here, although I heard other hikers had issues. It was easy for Dan, Beth and me.
Frosty Lake is a bog. Carry water from Soda Creek? and camp on Frosty saddle instead.

Enjoy the 12 miles on the Yellow Brick road that is the PCT. When you turn off at Holman Pass(?) it turns right back into PNT magic!
Jackita ridge - Excellent route, but a huge amount of Elevation gain/loss. Really grueling constant steep up or down, great views of Jerry Glacier, pretty sure this was 30+ miles and over 10,000 feet of gain from Frosty Pass to Devils Park shelter.
At this point, I should remember to mention that, honestly, I think you would have to be pretty hard up to use ANY of the shelters along the PNT. Snow Peak is the only one I can think of that is nice, and it's a cabin! KC told me she had bad mice there when she stayed so.....
We were denied various campsites in North Cascades only to find that no one else was there when we arrived or passed. The only Ranger I saw in the backcountry on the entire hike was a volunteer in 7 lakes basin in Olympic NP, and two others on the coast (searching for a missing person) who, incidentally, were heavily armed.
Don't believe the hype about Whatcom pass being 'the hardest climb on the PNT'. If you've come this far, you'll fly right over it.
Swift Creek was an easy ford for us. It was much harder for KC a few days later after a lot of heavy rain. Beware. The trail down Swift creek is what I would call 'classic PNT'. :- D.............I will say as well that on the 2012 maps the route we took after the crossing was BRUTAL. An old road with hundreds of downed trees, pouring rain, skeeters galore.....it led to a CG North of Baker lake.
I chose the rail trail after Mt. Baker. In retrospect, I would go through the Chuckanuts next time. It is nice to have all the town amenities along the rail trail, but...........having said that, the weather sucked and I was glad to be dry at night for a change.
The community forest leaving Anacortes is nice...its also confusing as hell, tons of trails going in every direction.
Decent resupply at the Lake Erie store.
There are hiker/biker sites at ALL of the State Parks along the coast. We even walked into Deception Pass SP on Labor Day weekend with no problem.
There is a bike path being built from Port Townsend to La Push, through Sequim and Port Angeles. The Olympic Discovery trail. Only chunks of it are finished. The Larry Scott memorial trail leaving PT is the beginning of it.
Olympic NP - obviously Lake Mills is the big issue here. I left Altair CG at 3 am to avoid being seen. I was on Appleton pass at 8 am with no problem. The closed area is mostly on roads, so its easy to follow, even if it's pitch black. A cool ranger told me later it would be a 125$ fine if caught.
As in most National Parks, there are more campsites than those advertised on the maps. If you have a good ranger, they may help if you ask, or maybe you know a local who knows some bivy spots. I ran into a lot of unofficial camps in Olympic.
The bigger problem is actually contacting anyone in Olympic. Eventually, I called the ranger station in Forks for my park permits, I never got through to the backcountry office in PA. Apparently the office in Forks will be closed in 2014, so try to account for this somehow....
In reality though, if I had any previous experience in the Olympics, I would have done the Bailey Range traverse. It looks outstanding. A probable highlight of the trip. If you have some experience in the mountains, I highly recommend looking into it before you go. (i.e. if you go over Boulder pass in Glacier and like it, then you'll probably like the Baileys. If Hole-in-the-Wall made you nervous, don't try the Bailey range.) This eliminates any issue with Lake Mills as you would be South of the closure the whole time.
As far as the coast, be sure you are confident with your tide charts, it's no joke. There was a man missing for 10 days, presumably washed out to sea, before I got there. There was also another man chillin' in a hammock for a week with an ounce of weed....so whatever I guess.
Good Luck and happy trails

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Journal Photo

PNT 2013

From Glacier Park to the Olympic Peninsula, the Pacific Northwest trail travels 1200+ miles across the Northwest U.S.

 

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