Right after work on Friday, Crazy J the German wireghaired pointer bird dog and I hightailed it to the foothills of the North Cascades for some ruffed grouse hunting on state DNR and private timber company land. Ruffed grouse in the Pacific Northwest seem to like young second growth forests near riparian areas with red alder, maple, cottonwood, snowberry, and other soft mast. Grouse only come out in mornings and evenings and only when itís not that wet. Hunting grouse in the rain or during the afternoon is a waste of time. I like to walk down bermed & trenched old logging roads (edge habitat) with Crazy J at my side. He starts going bonkers on grouse scent, then the safety comes off and I get ready. Hopefully, a ruff then flushes up. No fool hens here. Just a brown whir of wings that only provide a second or two for a wingshot. 1 grouse ended up as a ďchickenĒ burrito for todayís lunch.
After a short evening in the timberlands, we camped at an old Forest Service gravel pit near Glacier, WA on the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The old gravel pit that now apparently occasionally serves as a shooting range, party site and dump for household rubbish. Tree spacing wasnít very good. The forest stand around the gravel pit was younger old-growth that has thinned a little bit. One understory Western hemlock in particular was in the right location but inadequate for hanging since itís root system was soft and rotten and felt like it would rip up out of the soft layer of moss and duff that forms the forest floor if a hammock were tied to it. I was able to find a sizable Douglas-fir that a stock Hennessy tree hugger was able to fit around. The other tree was a small, but solid, understory Western hemlock. However, a large healthy old-growth Douglas-fir blocked one of the 8x10 sil-nylon tarp edges.
A soft, rotting stick served as a prop for one of the tarp guylines with a stick for one stake. The stake penetrated the mossy forest floor of this almost-temperate rainforest quite well and held firm.
I put the Hennessy Super Shelter (HH SS) undercover and underquilt on the ENO Doublenest. It did not fit on as well as it did last time. The ENO is pretty long and with enough sag, lays pretty flat. However, the HH SS shortens the ENO but itís not noticeable.
One end of the HH did not fit over the ENO end so I just tied the elastic cord around the ENO. The cord held over the night. But, still; I did not like this rigging.
The big Doug-fir blocked part of the tarp so one rope end of the ENO didnít get coverage.
Crazy J slept with me in the hammoc
Thanks for that report, HJ. Love those Cascades. I have only tent or snow cave camped there, no hammocks yet. All on Mt.Baker. But, last year I did hammock for a week in the Olympics, on the Hoh River drainage up towards Blue Glacier and High Divide. Maybe I'll get to do the Cascades with a hammock, someday. I think they are pretty much in the number one spot for overall beauty for mountains in the lower 48, and are a close match for the Canadian Rockies. There are a couple of other spots that might match them, but none that beat them IMO, speaking only of how spectacular they are. Of course, that is strictly personal opinion, and there are many spectacular ranges. Including those Wind Rivers in Wyoming!
Awesome report and great pics. Thanks for posting them.
Whoa, what happened?:confused: Must've miskeyed and accidentally deleted a big chunk of this TR upon an edit? continued below from memory:
...Crazy J slept with me in the hammoc...
k but he got down after a few hours. His 70lbs messes up a flat diagonal lay so I don't like him in the hammock anyway.
In the morning it was foggy and sprinkled. I had apple cobbler baked in a Bakepacker for breakfast.
It cleared up a bit later on in the morning so drove up to Twin Lakes. The road becomes very rough, steep and narrow beyond Yellow Aster Butte trailhead. Luckily, nobody was coming down when I was heading up to Twin Lakes. A few groups parked at Yellow Aster Butte trailhead and hiked the 2.5 miles to Twin Lakes. Twin Lakes sits in a subalpine basin ringed by peaks such as Winchester Lookout. There were atleast 16 cars parked here. My Subaru Forester made it up the road but barely.
Crazy J and I did not hike to Winchester Mtn since that's more crowded. We took the path less followed to Low Pass then High Pass. There were a few other hikers but not crowded. Huckleberries were tasty. Crazy J cooled off on a lingering snowbank. This was a dayhike and we did not hang. There are good hanging campsites in clumps of subalpine forest near Low Pass. There's also a high subalpine basin northwest of Low Pass with hanging campsites.
The trail to High Pass follows a ridge, becomes faint, then switchbacks steeply to a high alpine ridge with views deep into the northern Pickett range in North Cascades National Park and of course, Mt Shuksan.
This was the at the end of September, a beautiful perfect Indian Summer day. Autumn rain, clouds and snow would soon begin. We will not be able to return to this high country until the spring corn snow season. This area is too dangerous with avalanches in winter. So long, North Cascades high country. Can't wait to return.