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  1. #1
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    Pilot Ridge, PCT (Section K) North Fork Sauk loop. Lots of PICS!!

    This is a trip I've been waiting for the right weather condition's to form for a while now. It's been aborted 5 times in the past. And so on July 30th, my journey finally began, at the NF Sauk trail. With in a few hundred yards of the trail head Glacier Peak Wilderness is entered. This trail winds it's way through a grove of enormous old growth Cedar, with little elevation gain for five miles to the historical Makinaw shelter....nothing more than a glorified lean to. Then climbs steeply to gain the PCT and White Pass. But my journey would not pass this point...just yet. At two miles there is the intersection of the NF Sauk, and Pilot ridge. A simple natural log crossing is used to cross the NF Sauk river. From the log crossing the Pilot ridge trail does not screw around gaining the ridge, climbing 3000 feet in 2.5 miles. Still..it's not done climbing. It simply follows the crest of the ridge, with no switch backs, with lots and lots of up and back down. Sometimes in forest, sometimes in high alpine meadows. My destination to camp for the night...Blue Lake ten miles in.












    At some point...this guy with an enormous back pack, with a folding lawn chair, passed me like i was standing still....i doubt that was even an aluminum framed chair. If he can handle the weight...

    i guess more power to him.













    Unfortunately it was a really hot day. The few snow remaining snow patches along the trail were dirty, as they melted in the sun, the dry soil as fast as it could melt. 20/20 hind sight says i should have melted and filtered snow. Ironic how a ridge top in a temperate rain forest can be so in dry. When reached the lake shore i was dehydrated, and heat stressed. I drew some water for filtering, (gravity filter) and set my sights on the first appropriate trees to hang my hammock in the shade. I was only half aware it was just 10 feet from Law chair guy. I vaguely remember him asking..."your not going to camp there?!!" I mumbled something...then he asked "are you ok?" Again..i don't remember what i mumbled..but he left me be as my water filtered.
    Noticing i was drifting off to sleep, in this guy camp site...i gathered my remaining energy and found some where else to set up camp.
    Once set up...i took more than the recommended dose of ibuprofen, and some tums to kill the head ache and nausea and lots of water. Grabbed a bag of nuts....but i dozed off before opening the bag. I woke up two hours later..feeling better. It was no 6pm. I ate dinner. Then went back to sleep serenaded by Pikas, Marmots, and Crickets.....

    Continued..........

  2. #2
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    Day 2

    Day 2


    By 2:30 am...i was awake again...moon was out, crickets till chirping. Had to answer mother nature from all that water i drank. Was able to walk around via moon light. Crawled back in the hammock, gazed at the stars. After a while, some wispy clouds went racing my the moon...then filtered the moon light. A few flashes of light, reflected off the high cloud layer. There was a thunder storm some where to the east. Out of ear shot. Then quickly the moon was obscured by clouds, then my view of the lake vanished in fog...I decided to set up my tarp...just in case it rained. Just before sunrise i ate breakfast. I broke camp as the sky began to brighten....pumped and ready to go.
    There are two routes out of Blue lake that link to the PCT. A shorter high route...and a lower much longer low route. As it turned out, the high route, is an semi exposed, glorified mountian goat path. I climbed out as the sun rose. The color of the sun rise still obscured my the cloud layer. But there were patches of clearing.
    That cloud layer was really just a low marine layer pushing in from the coast and backing up on the cascade crest...then spilling over and dissipating....sort of.
















    Compared to the Pilot Ridge trail..the PCT was like waling on a city side walk. Maintained for stock, it had fewer roots and rocks to step over, it traversed below most ridge tops, switch backs were mild...as a result i made good time traveling...Plus there was a cool most breeze...However trouble was brewing. That moist cool marine layer was slowly feeding moisture to a building thunder cell to the east. As it built strength, it expanded west toward me. Occasionally a low cloud would pass, and i could watch as it got sucked into the up draft to the east. Realizing i might get caught in a thunder cell on top of an high open ridge top...i fast tracked my hike...taking photos on the way.
























    And here is my exit. When i reached the Makinaw shelter at the river valley bottom, i was greeted with a sprinkle of rain, and a clap of thunder directly over head. With just 5 more miles to go....rather than sack out at the shelter....whats two or three more hours of walking...This made day two...a 21 plus mile hike! With 31.7 miles traveled in two days.

    And the final photo...this one if my Fav....



    Hope you enjoyed the eye candy.

  3. #3
    beep's Avatar
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    RE: last big scenic photo at end of "Day 2" post...

    WOW!!
    "The more I carry the happier I am in camp; the less I carry the happier I am getting there" - Sgt. Rock

  4. #4
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Beautiful! I wish we could get some of those crystal clear skies out this way.

    Salty

  5. #5
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    Sweet scenery!
    Passed by a lawn chair....(chuckling)...

  6. #6
    Senior Member Poppabear's Avatar
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    That sure is some pretty country. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Terry

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hangin' Burrito's Avatar
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    Excellent trip report.

    Great pics, that sure is some big country. Did you see any wildlife?
    "Is this the best you've got?!!" (Shortoff Mtn., Linville Gorge 2010)

    "Life is tough.....it's even tougher if you're stupid!".....(John Wayne)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cookie's Avatar
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    WOW! is right! Thanks for the pics!!
    "Sometimes only nature felt real, while all human monuments and actions seemed to be the settings and the plots of dreams"

    "So many people live in the past or the future and betray the present."

  9. #9
    Senior Member lazy river road's Avatar
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    All I can say is those pictures were very inspireing. So beatiful man, my breath was taken away by some of them. Thanks for shareing. Looking forward too future trip reports.
    Sometimes I like to hike and think, And sometimes I just like to hike.

    Hiking is'ent about waiting for the storm to pass its about learning to hike in the rain.

  10. #10
    pgibson's Avatar
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    Great report Hulk, lots of great pictures. Love that last one too.
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