Day 1 Wednesday August 4th
Decided it was time for a backpack in the Cascades while I am home for the summer. Day hikes all month in June and July just wasn't quite cutting it.
Went for the Necklace Lakes and after a late start Wednesday August 4th, we headed for Jade Lake. We hiked the long 5 mile flat approach throguh the forest which got very old after awhile. When we came to the log bridge a quick thunderstorm came through and we waited for about 20 minutes under the trees before we started the climb.
The climb was long but not too bad. The worst part was the humidity which was why there was a storm that afternoon. After the grueling climb we arrived at Jade Lake and set up camp just as the sun set. Cought this photo of La Bohn Peak reflecting on Jade Lake at dusk.
La Bohn Peak from Jade Lake
Day 2 Thursday August 5th
Thursday morning I woke up and started heading further up Necklace Valley. I was headed for La Bohn Gap. I was surprised to see the trail ended only a half a mile above Jade. There were some beautiful meadows though.
Meadows in the Necklace Valley
After passing the lovely cabin and came into a beautiful hanging valley, I started the scramble up. Being strictly a scrambler I was only able to get about 70 percent up the gap before I would have been risking death on the near vertical snowfields or the cliffs that were no longer class 3. Despite missing the La Bohn Lakes (the whole reason I went to the area), the view was great. I will return here in the near future on my planned Snoqualmie/Stevens PCT trek that will incorporate many side trips and summits to get to La Bohn Gap and actually climb Hinman and Daniel.
View from the slopes of La Bohn Gap
I descended back to the high cirque and on my way back to Jade wouldn't you know it I slipped on a rock and slid down on my leg. Unfortunately my little point and shoot was in that pocket and I crushed the LCD. Luckily I had my SLR though which was still safe. The one thing I really screwed up on was I didn't bring much food. Actually, remembering back I only brought a few bars and a mountain house. I didn't have much evergy during the trip but I made the best of it.
I took a quick nap back at Jade I went lake-bagging for the rest of the afternoon. I went and saw Ilswoot, Emerald, Opal, Al, and Locket Lakes. The lighting was very bad at all the lakes not to mention the horrible amount of smog that covered all the mountains during that week. Locket Lake however had good lighting since I was looking north away from the sun.
I really liked Lake Ilswoot for its deep blue color but the lighting was so bad I didn't even bother with a photo. I want to see that lake from above when I climb Hinman.
So I returned back to Jade Lake and on my way back shot a photo of my favorite alpine flowers.
Heather flowers...my fav
Went back to camp and went to sleep. The lack of food really took a tole on me and I was slightly disappointed I didn't have the energy to explore as much as I wanted.
That night I slept a long time waking up only once to stargaze. The smog made things interesting however I did notice very faint aurora and the International Space Station fly overhead in the early hours of the morning.
Day 3 Friday August 6th
I woke up early to head up to Tank Lakes. I wasn't going to miss heading up there. The scramble up the rocks was enjoyable and the good nights sleep gave me enough energy to go at my usual fast pace despite not eating anything for breakfast. The sunrise was very colorful on the Feldspar rich granite rocks that completely surrounded me. The sky was perfectly clear but the air was still filled with smog. I blame China!
Anyway, the stream that drains Tank Lakes made for a great long exposure photo just as the sun rose.
Here's another photo showing the view as I ascended.
View on the route up to Tank Lakes
There was still some small snowfields to walk over even at this time of year and one of them provided a great melt water tarn photo.
Melt water tarn
Upon arriving at Tank Lakes I was very impressed at their beauty. I saw one group of three people who had camped there the previous couple nights and they told me about their trip up Hinman. They fueled my fire to climb Hinman soon! The morning at the Tank Lakes was gorgeous.
Tank Lakes morning panorama
I couldn't stay and explore long since the person I was with already headed back down the trail as he didn't want to head up to the lakes. I only stuck around for about an hour before I had to play catch-up.
I did get a very nice close-up photo of the flowers. I'm not usually oone to do any macro photography but I like this one.
Macro photo of the heather flowers
As I descended back down the granite talus, a very loud noise that I thought could have been the entire mountains around me breaking loose scared the crap out of me. To my amazement I see one of the Blue Angels buzz right over La Bohn Gap and fly over the Necklace Valley and buzz over the next gap in a matter of a couple seconds. Amazing what those planes can do. I estimated the pilot was maybe 50-100 feet above Upper La Bohn Lake.
Upon returning to Jade Lake I packed up my gear and began running down the trail. I made incredible time and made it to the bottom of the climb in 25 minutes! The guy I was with said he'd only been waiting about 15 minutes.
By now it was 1:00 and we had 5 easy trail miles to go. We saw more and more people as we headed back that provided for some nice conversations with people like me. I knew the weather was going to be bad over the weekend which is why we returned Friday.
The drive back to Renton was the worst part as we hit Friday afternoon traffic! Oh well...overall a great trip despite the hardships.