Once again, we took evasive action and were just north of you. Spent Sat night on Pt. 6562, the summit that separates N Fk Skykomish from N Fk Sauk. Hiked in Pilot Ridge Trail from N Fork Sauk (Mountain Loop), which can be brutally hot and dry, but we had Saturday's clouds and just enough sun to be welcome. Climbed Mt. Johnson, then the Blue Lake High Rte. to 6562. Made camp in zero visibility, awoke at 10 PM to clear sky, full moon, Sirius bright enough to disturb sleep. Benchmark is visible from this summit.
Sunday, perfect Indian summer, 16 miles. Long stroll above timberline to White Pass. Climbed Kodak Peak. We met the Mystery Corgi of Buck Creek Pass, who is actually a Swedish Vallhund named Sumo, who has been to our house (Sumo suffers from the heat also, his owner Anne was asking about the Chillybuddy cooling vest). 5 PM at White Pass with 9 miles to go... hiking out by headlamp among trees 3-4' in diameter. Eating a 9 yo corgi's dust all the way. Enthralling.
Had you taken the N Fork Skykomish trail (same trailhead) and gone 9 mi to Dishpan Gap, that's where we were about 10 AM Sunday.
Wow, glad it cleared for you! The view from Benchmark is stunning, isn't it? There is a nice campsite near the summit, but it's likely popular, and no water. Gwynnie and I camped on Benchmark summit one early summer when there was too much snow to continue. That may be the key to that trip -- do it on snowshoes, camp on the snow.
West Cady closed for construction?????
I love that aerial view of the dogs from -- Heybrook Lookout?
Middle Fork will be really crowded. I was surprised how many people I saw on Taylor R. I'd save Middle Fork for early spring or winter, in iffy weather when you just want a long lowland cruise. The Pratt Connector will be very popular once it's done. It has an unmarked trail up rainy Creek (immediately past the brand new bridge at about 1/2 mile). We almost climbed Preacher Mt. that way last week. Sneaked paast the "blasting" signs.
I just filed a trip report for Snoqualmie Lake (Taylor R Rd) on wta.org. Snow-free to the lake, trail in great shape. I hope they never pave that road. That's a good snowshoe/ski with the dogs, good for early season in marginal weather.
The Discover Pass is no good for the Middle Fork Snoqualmie; Forest Pass required (and mine was slightly expired). But that area is great for adventure dogwalking: Middle Fork, Pratt Connector (pictured; it's still under construction), and Taylor R. Road. Long, gentle grades. Rainy Creek trail, not, but it's still decent.
At 11:54pm on September 19, 2011, John Wolff said…
You can follow Gwynn & Al's adventures at wta.org trip reports, author search "liberation" (Cascade Liberation Organization). Do you do day trips only, or overnight backpacks too?
One fun trip with dogs is simply going into Monte Cristo (esp. if you read Monte Cristo, Woodhouse, I found it quite interesting). I have a cranky, garage-sale El Cheapo mountain bike that's handy for places like that with washed-out roads. Doggo gets to run along. It can get a bit complicated at really popular places like Monte Cristo where we might reasonably be expected to keep dogs on-leash.
But if you can get up to Glacier Basin, it's a lovely place.
I have a phobia about my dog falling off one of those scary log crossings and drowning. I have a chest harness (which won't work on high logs; dog can fall out of it), and a leash with carabiners strong enough to hold the dog in a fall. The dog may be safer without the encumbrance, and indeed Al once broke his stay when I had my back turned on the other side of the river, getting out the belay gear for my return trip across the high log to get the dog. Al lost his patience and blithely crossed while I wasn't looking.
There is a log crossing on the Monte Cristo road, level, low, 3' diameter.
In wintertime/spring, for a break from the rain, we sometimes go out to Vantage or Ancient Lakes. Good open rambling country, but a long drive.
I like the Granite Mt. trail just before I-90 turns L (north) to the Snoqualmie hairpin. Very dangerous in spring, an avalanche chute. But Granite Mt. or Pratt Mt. are straightforward (I've posted several pics here). The Middle Fork Snoqualmie is an OK winter lowland hike.
Check out the West Fork Foss River trail. New bridge. I've posted many pics here of the Foss Lakes High Route, which I start on that trail. Parts are rocky, but it's generally well-maintained. Lovely lakes.
Definitely do Dickerman on a CLEAR day.
Mt. Pilchuck is definitely worth doing. Next Saturday's s'pozed to be good. Popular, might have to keep dogs leashed. I'm gonna get busted someday.
Wintertime, just to get out, Ebey's Landing is handy to you. The Tiger Mt/Issaquah Alps area is a good place to stretch legs in rainy weather.
wta.org and nwhikers.net are useful for trip reports and current conditions.
You might like the West Cady Ridge Trail to Benchmark Mt. (Beckler R Rd). 8 mi. to the summit, but you're above treeline in 4 mi with wonderful views 360 degrees. You can do a loop using the Pass Creek Trail, but there's no bridge over the N Fork Skykomish, so you'd have to be able to ford with the dogs.
A Cascade Corgi Mystery: Al and I trekked from Little Giant Pass into the Napeequa valley, ocross the Louis Creek High Route, to Buck Creek Pass. This is a really strenuous off-trail, semitechnical route.
Near Buck Pass, I heard tell of 2 women there, about to do the same route in the opposite direction, reportedly with a tricolored corgi(!). I should have passed them, but heard from another passerby that one of the fell ill and they had to abort the trip (so sad, perfect conditions, wildflowers peaking).
If this is true, there is yet another very serious corgi around here. Any ideas?
For Hallowe'en, I've always wanted to make a Seattle Mountain Search & Rescue costume for Al & Gwynn. Instead of the customary St. Bernard brandy flask around he neck, they'll have a little Starbuck's thermos.