July 10th, 2010 – Stuck right in between a good snow thing and Summer trail hiking thing I thought a “Purgatory Walkabout” in the Central Cascades on July 10th, 2010 was in order. Our version of escaping the heat and being green in doing so. Me and Trooper dog left the Hyak Parking lot headed up the old defunked F.S. road towards the Clear Cut. Once on the backside of the Clear Cut climbed up a couple hundred feet to connect w/ the Pacific Crest Trail. Once on the PCT made our way for the Silver Creek overlook just behind lookers’ left (from I-90) Kendall Peak where we hit our first steep snow patch traverse. About 6 or so nice wide patches of snow later we crossed the Kendall Catwalk wich was free of snow. Just past the Catwalk it was skins on and made our way towards Peak 5,851 for our first ski down to Ridge Lake where we would camp.
Day two was hoping to climb up above Gravel Lake to ski down on Edds Lake. I was a week late for that one, so chose to spend the day skiing off Peak 5,851. On my last ski of the day at 7PM I spotted a really nice coulior just below the peak that was good to go down towards Goat Creek Below Red and Lundin. Thought I would hit it the next morning. I started my ski down to Gravel lake and did the short skin back up to camp. Just when I was thinking time for supper and the fact it was just me and Trooper again up here by our by our selves these two guys just popped over the ridge from completing a summit of Mt. Thompson and ask if the lake below our camp was Gravel Lake. They chatted for a minute then started their 3 to 4 hour blaze back down to Goldmyer Hot Springs. I say blaze because they had never traveled that bush whacking route from Gravel Lake to Goldmyer and only having a little over two hours of sunlight left the last hour or so would be w/ lamps.
Was hoping by early morning the sun would win over again but wasn’t looking good. Headed back for Hyak w/ Mr. Drizzle and his girlfriend Sideways Windy joining us the entire walk home to the Yak.
Attention PCT Thru hikers from Mexico to Canada not even close in our zone yet, unless you are traveling w/ an ice axe and crampons. That would surely put your packs over 20 lbs.
Live to Ski Another Day!