The weekend of August 2-3 my dog and I hiked north from the North Cascades Highway to Devils Park and the southwest side of Jackita Ridge in the Pasayten Wilderness. The mosquitoes were terrible in McMillan Park which is a relatively flat subalpine plateau pocked by streams, bogs and riparian areas.
It was about 60 degrees and partly cloudy at Devil's Park. Winds kept most of the mosquitoes away. It would've been nice to hang the Hennessy Backpacker A-sym at Devil's Park then dayhike out but I was worried the bugs would eat my hiking buddy Crazy J the German wirehaired pointer alive. So we pushed on higher toward Jackita Ridge to find a camp semi-exposed to the wind to keep the bugs away. The subalpine wildflowers were amazing!
We topped out at an alpine ridge. No more mosquitoes but the winds were gusty at times. It was getting a little chilly too. We had to find a place to camp with trees to hang the hammock but it looked pretty thin up here.
We pushed on but ended up at an even higher pass but the trail switchbacked steeply down into a basin with a huge avalance chute, a creek and subalpine forest with larch trees that looked like they could handle a hammock.
We bushwhacked down into the avalanche chute, watered-up then found a place to pitch the hammock. It was about 50 degrees with breezes as the sun dropped. Camp was at about 6000 feet.
After the sun dropped down over the mountains to the west on the east boundary of North Cascades National Park the temperature dropped quickly. Crazy J doesn't like cold and started to act like a shivering wuss. I don't have an underquilt for the HH. From past experience, it seems the HH isn't warm enough below 40 degrees. There was still a breeze. So, I conceded defeat to the elements, found a small, relatively flat area and pitched the stock HH sil-nylon tarp about 2 feet from the ground and used the hammock itself as a groundsheet.
I had to be really careful using the hammock as a groundsheet, fearing a stick or rock would tear the netting. Crazy J cozied up to me and we feel asleep...kinda'. Sleeping on the ground after hammocking most of the time for the last 2 summers was kind of lame. It would've been better if the Big Agnes REM Air Core mattress did not gradually lose air. The stock HH sil-nylon tarp began to sag with dew dripping down on my unprotected down bag. I had to get up in the middle of the night and find a stick to prop up one corner of the tarp. It helped but did not solve the sag and dew drip. Oh well. On one hand I wished I would've stayed in the HH. On the other hand, I hate the thought of Crazy J shivering all night below me in the HH even though he has a RidgeRest, a fleece blanket and a wool sweater.
The sun came up early at 5:30 am and we awoke to this awesome view with fog in the deep wilderness valley.
It was chilly during breakfast with Crazy J still acting like a wimp.
About 1/2 mile up from our camp was a small snowfield on the west side of Pk 7248. When I stepped on it it was a little crunchy and icy so the temps must've dropped down to or near freezing. It was a little too chilly for the HH after all. I have to look into an underquilt.
On the way out we cross country hiked on a faint game trail to the top of Pk 7248. Wow!!
The hike out was great. The bugs weren't as bad on the way out as on the way in. We hiked about 18 miles round trip with about a 5000 foot elevation gain/loss each way. (Man, am I getting sick of doing 4000+ foot gain/losses on every hike. But that's the North Cascades for ya'). There's a more detailed trip report with more photos at http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewt...hlight=jackita