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Topic: I've been away, way too long!, Gimme some NW sight-seeing tips!< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2012, 3:08 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm getting married this July.  For 12 days afterward my sweetheart and I are flying into Seattle and touring the PacNW in all it's greatness.  We planned a long backpacking trip, but her knee isn't 100% after ACL surgery this winter, and we don't want to push it.  So, we're playing touron instead from a rental car.  I'll gladly play sherpa on short backcountry trips of 1-3 days, but that'll be about the limit of our reach on this trip.

I lived in the PDX area for several years and have hiked all around the PNW for handfuls more, I know the basic area, but I've been away in CO long enough that I'm doubting my judgement here.  So help me out folks. :)

Things we wish to see:
  • A glacier.  I've seen many, trekked solo over more than a few and basecamped on some of the biggest hunks of ice on Earth.  But my baby hasn't been to a glacier up close and personal, and wants to see one.  The obvious destination is Rainier... up to perhaps the Carbon Glacier from Ipsut Creek or up from Paradise to the Nisqually.  We have traction devices; we're not trekking across the ice, just sauntering around the edges.  But if anyone has any better ideas on where to go for big-glacier-viewing, let me know!  Keep in mind our time constraints (Blue Glacier in Olympic, for instance, would be cool, but not within our time frame).  Perhaps Mt. Baker would better serve our needs here?

  • The Rainforests and coasts of Olympic NP.  I pretty much have the bases covered on this one; I know where to take her.  But the bigger question; where to stay?  Any highly-suggested campgrounds we should check out, especially along the coast?

  • Vancouver Island, BC -- We'll take the ferry across from PA for a day or few.  Question: if we're spending more than a day, should we haul the car with us, or is public transportation in Victoria good enough to get around well?  And again, any good suggestions on where to stay?

I'm open to other ideas as well.  I'm leaving this pretty open-ended, all advice is welcome!  If you had 12 days to show your love what you love about the Pacific Northwest in July/August, where would you show her?  I'm just looking for ideas. :)  Thanks a million!

- Mike


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PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2012, 4:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Glacier viewing--Don't forget Heliotrope TH in the Mt Baker area.  Nice day hike right to the glacier.  



short dayhike up to Baker also.




Vancouver--Since it will be a rental car, take it with you. The public trans is OK, but it doesn't make sense to leave yours parked.  Navigation is not bad, as long as the passenger helps by keeping an eye out.  Don't forget your Passports.  


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PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2012, 5:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks Vince. :)

Oh, also, I'm gonna be giving you a call somewhat soon, some evening here.  I wanna chat about a few things.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2012, 10:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Plus one on Heliotrope.

Also, depending on your partner's ability, consider a one or two nighter to Hannegan Peak. 5 miles from TH, 3 thou feet, trail all the way.

Outrageous views (sleeping on top of the peak) into the Nooksack Cirque, Shuksan right there (and Baker a tad further off).

Best to go mid week but I wouldn't underestimate the payoff, views.

Other options nearby -- my partner has similar challenges and thru hours of map study, listening to backcountry rangers, I've figured out some real winners.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2012, 10:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Congrats!

+1 on Heliotrope and Hannegan Peak.

You don't really need a car in Victoria unless you're planning to explore more of the island. We stayed in a nice B&B there years ago--I'll see if I can come up with the name.

There are some fantastic dayhikes in the Olys--you could drive the Obstruction Point road from Hurricane Ridge and take a brief hike in the high country along Grand Ridge or down toward Badger Valley. Or, if you like crowds, the High Divide trail out of Sol Duc.

Baldy is a great class 2 scramble from the Dungeness via the Maynard Burn Way Trail. Nice view of Olympus and everything else from the top.

In the Cascades, some of my favorite dayhikes are Vesper Peak, Mt. Pugh, and Mt. Aix (over Chinook Pass from Mt. Rainier). And perhaps the best of all, if you don't mind crowds, is Cascade Pass to Sahale Glacier.

Speaking of Cascade Pass, have you been to Stehekin? I'd seriously consider spending a few days there. If you take the boat from Chelan, there are several great dayhikes from the valley, as well as some primo 1-2 nighters (if she's up for that.) (Or you can hike in--now that the valley road is mostly closed, the shortest hikes in are about 20 miles.) I can give you way more Stehekin info if you're interested: I've been there several times and was there a good chuck of the Fall in 2008 as an artist-in-residence with the NPS.

When we lived in Seattle, we always took visitors to Discovery Park: great city, Puget Sound and Olympics views from the short, easy trail.

And for heaven's sake, take her to Ivars Salmon House on North Lake Union.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 30 2012, 1:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks guys, the suggestions help. :)  Just to clarify, she's not a complete backpacking newbie, and she enjoys longer hikes.  We went to SE Alaska for a week last summer, have taken lots of weekends together; we got engaged on a weekend backpack in Rocky Mountain NP.  The only reasons we're limited are the total time of our trip (there's a lot we wanna fit in 12 days), and the fact that her knee and leg muscles aren't strong enough to risk hauling loads yet, so I'm playing sherpa on anything more than a dayhike.  Prolly 3 days is our limit for any one leg of this trip.  Were her knee stronger right now, we'd be off-trail for about 9-10 days followed by a couple days in Seattle. :)

We do, however, enjoy getting away from crowds.  We're definitely planning on Mt. Baker; Heliotrope ridge looks too good to pass up, and although I'm sure we won't be completely alone, we should be able to avoid most the crowds we'd see dayhiking around Rainier.

I'm taking all the suggestions seriously so far, looking into them.  Thanks for the tips guys, I appreciate them greatly!

- Mike


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PostIcon Posted on: May 30 2012, 3:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When we went to Heliotrope in a Sept, we were the only ones there.  It was on a Thursday, though.  Only the one stream crossing.  Water might be higher for you, being in late July.  Rock hopping route finding helps.  Full album Here  



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PostIcon Posted on: May 30 2012, 4:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Vince: broken link?  I'd like to see that album. :)

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PostIcon Posted on: May 30 2012, 6:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/177738207XzPqSi

Sorry about that. I have been around here long enough to know I need to check posted links.  This album has some bad shots of Baker covered in smoke from a fire that year, and some of Hannegan trail, Lake Ann, and the trail to Heliotrope Ridge.  All of the folks in the pics were part of our group.  We saw no others that day.  BTW, Lake Ann is cold.  I took a quick swim, and I do mean quick.  :)  

I find it amazing when people take my picture, and I have no idea what it was I was doing at the time. I think I was preparing to throw a rock at Zack, but cannot be sure.  What dorks!  He was always envisioning the photo before he ever took out his camera.  :D  Never made it out onto the ice to check out those blue water pools.  Bet they were cold! 




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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 04 2012, 1:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've always been more partial to Mt Baker than Rainier, so I'd also vote for Heliotrope Ridge. However, if you haven't been to Cascade Pass before, that is an absolute must. Views of Mt Johannesburg with its hanging glaciers that release mini-avalanches every hour or so are awesome, right from the trailhead and only get better the higher you climb. Cascade Pass is stunning and the climb up Sahale Arm even more so.


Cascade Pass

In the photo above, take a left to go up Sahale Arm, or continue into Pelton Basin for a 3.5 miles, then take a left for another 1.5mi to access Horseshoe Basin:



One final suggestion, would be to consider the Mount Daniel area in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Here's a teaser photo:



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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 05 2012, 4:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Congratulations Mike.  

I did the ACL thing many years ago - the recovery was long and tough, but so worth it for not having to wear a huge brace (as I had done for 4 years).  Tell her to hang in there.

An overnight to Sahale Arm followed by a Mt. Baker excursion would fit together rather nicely.  The view from the Arm will give you the feel of being at a higher elevation - you look across at a wonderful series of jagged peaks.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 07 2012, 12:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks y'all, I appreciate it.  And I am still reading the thread. :)

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 07 2012, 2:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Congragulations Mike.

As others have mentioned, I highly recommend the Mount baker area. More specifically the border
area between Mount Baker Wilderness and North Cascades NP. Hannegan Peak is a short hike from
the trailhead and offers great views of the northeast side of mount shuksan



or to the north towards Canada


Another one is Lake Ann which is a short hike  and you take the trail further up towards the
lower slopes of mount shuksan and get close up views of a hanging glacier off the slopes of
mount shuksan (I believe this was lower curtis glacier)




another cool pic of the lower curtis glacier



here is a cool pic of a valley looking down from the lower slopes of mount shuksan



have other cool pics of Mount Baker and mount shuksan around. See if I can't find them.

This probably was the most scenic area I've ever seen although the Minarets, Glacier NP
and part the eastern Sierra Nevada(particular around the palisades) come really close


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 07 2012, 2:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh and one other thing you should be aware of in Washington is that, unlike Colorado, Washington
has a very deep snowpack. In fact the Snow Water Equivalent is way way above normal. Easily comparable
with last year(even more so).

In fact check this out and take note of the olympics where its over 400% of normal

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/ftpref....ate.pdf

insane. So the 188% of normal would correspond to the Mount Baker area so who knows how
much of the snowpack wil remain in July. Hannegan peak is a little over 6000 feet and
so the way the snowpack is now, the snow conditions could still be a problem in July


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 07 2012, 2:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the heads-up, DTM.  I've spent plenty of time in WA and know the general snowpack well there, but I didn't realize it was well-above normal this year.  Good to know, thanks again.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 07 2012, 5:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Dennis The Menace @ Jun. 07 2012, 2:12 pm)
QUOTE
Congragulations Mike...

Troll!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 08 2012, 9:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/ftpref....ate.pdf


Damn!! Now its 489% of normal for the olympics,217% of normal for the Glacier peak area(actually
slighly south and to the west) & 210% of normal for the Mount Baker area.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 08 2012, 11:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Dennis The Menace @ Jun. 08 2012, 7:51 pm)
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Damn!! Now its 489% of normal for the olympics,217% of normal for the Glacier peak area(actually
slighly south and to the west) & 210% of normal for the Mount Baker area.

Enjoy !!

Here in CO, we're so dry most of our sites show 0% of normal.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 18 2012, 11:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/gis/images/wa_swepctnormal_update.png

Damn.

2336% above normal(SWE again) for the olympics.

Everything else in Washington(by region) ranges from 180%(in the southeast part of the state)
to 301% above normal in the northeast part of Washington. North Cascades/Mount Baker area
is 288% above normal.

Obviously there is very little no snowmelt going on which is just like last year except
that it appears that there is probably even less snowmelt compared to this time last year.


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