Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Big Craggy Peak 6/7/2009

Recent nice weather really made me want to go explore. Originally the idea was to climb Mt. Adams but with the trailhead still few feet under snow we could not complete the climb in 1 day as was planned so we decided to postpone the Adams trip. We all were in a mood for an exciting adventure somewhere further away though. New location was quickly established and we set up for our journey to the Craggies on Saturday morning.

The trip turned out pretty good. We all enjoyed the drive. Even though little bit longer, it led us through the beautiful scenery of North Cascades as we followed Hwy 20 to Winthrop where we stopped to refuel our cars and tummies.

From there it was just several miles up very nice mostly paved road to Honeymoon Campground which is the closest one to the trailhead and sits in a forest with a creek bubbling in a background. We set up our camp and spent the evening by fire, sharing stories and enormous amount of snacks and beer everybody brought.

We planned for an early start on Sunday morning but in the end we did not hit the trail until 8:00 a.m. The forecast was for mostly sunny day and the sun was trying to break from the clouds as we proceeded up the trail.

The first obstacle we encountered was a remnant of an old bridge, its wreckage tilted across swiftly going creek. It was a slippery crossing but we all managed to get over dry. We followed the trail for a while longer, passing around a cool mine and crossing a meadow full of spring flowers with a very nice view of surrounding peaks. Soon after that we left the trail behind and made our way through the forest towards Big Craggy Peak. We expected to be dealing with lots more snow but ended up climbing only one snow field on the way up, approximately 250 vertical feet. Rest was on talus and scree.

Few more clouds appeared on the sky. By the time we reached the summit, the sky was partially covered by thick layer of dark clouds with more rolling in. It was a very nice thing to watch, giving the area really mysterious feel, so nicely matching the rugged peaks around us, yet the nature did not let us enjoy this show for a long.

Shortly after we finished our lunch a loud roar disturbed the peaceful silence. It was a very alarming sound or approaching lightening storm. We were packed and headed down the mountain in seconds. Even though our descend was followed by few more thunders, the storm fortunately never broke loose.

It started raining however. Few drops first soon turning into a steady rain fall. At least the timing was good. Even though bushwhacking for considerable amount of time in the rain was not much fun, it was easier than dealing with steep slope full of wet slippery rocks.

The rain subsided before we reached the trailhead and first sun rays peaked from between the clouds just as we arrived back to the camp. Classic!

Despite the fact the nature chased us down before we could even attempt neighboring West Craggy Peak, with one summit in, it was a successful and fun trip and I’m already looking forward to coming back next year.

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