Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The ultimate link-up.

Phew! After eight weeks of rigorous nose to the grindstone cramming I managed my first quarter of Summer school, completing Statistics and Cell Biology.  I'll admit, it was seriously heinous.  Instead of the normal 12 week quarter... we fit everything into 8 grueling weeks.  Summer school offers very little respite for the weary.  Towards the quarters end, I spent almost every waking hour studying, and gazing longingly out the library windows at blue skies and incessant sunshine.   When I wasn't awake, I was dreaming about Poisson's distributions and eukaryotic organelles.  Exciting stuff I know.  But, all good things must come to an end...And so, it was with much anticipated relief that Tiff and I headed for the Cascade mountains the day after I finished my last 3 hour cumulative biology exam. 

Our objective was simple: hike, lounge, swim, hike, scramble, and utterly loose ourselves in the  motions of simple wilderness living, Cascade style.  We chose to head back into two familiar alpine lake venues and link them with a classic day of peak bagging and talus hopping.  It was awesome.  Here is how it played out.  Day 1.

Here we are at the Foss Lakes trailhead after stashing Tiff's mountain bike at the
Necklace Valley trailhead.  Very stoked. 
One seriously huge tree.

The ferns are also huge.

An amazing metamorphic overhang just shy of Trout Lake. 

We made good time to Copper Lake by hiking in the cool shade of late evening.  

Bald Eagle Peak?
We finished up the remaining four miles to Copper Lake just shy of nightfall.  
Day 2 took us from Copper, past Little Heart,
Big Heart, Angeline, and finally to Chetwood lake.
Beautiful trout filled alpine lakes.  Love it.
Getting higher on a ridge up above Little Heart Lake and Copper Lake.   Views of Glacier peak and the Monte Cristo peaks really open up at this point.  
Looking down on Trout Lake with Glacier Peak
in the distance. 
Rocking out to Rachmoninoff's Vespers. 
An impressive sub alpine crag with the Monte Cristo peaks in the distance.
No photoshop used.  How did he do it?
Angeline Lake on day 2.   The following day found us scrambling the talus laden ridge
seen above.  Iron Cap Mountain is in the upper left corner.
Looking down on big bad Big Heart Lake.
Cruising the fisherman's trail between Big Heart and Chetwood Lakes.
More Big Heart Lake looking North towards the outlet.

On our way to Chetwood we finally found where all the mosquito's were hiding...  the sun
really pounded us during the last slog up from Big Heart.  But, it was all worth it once we sauntered
into the idyllic Chetwood lake basin.
Little Chetwood and Angeline on the far side.

Climbing up from Chetwood Lake day 3.  The peak on the right is unnamed, but looks like a great scramble.  At roughly 5300 ft, we traversed North around a ridge and into a small basin with a frozen lake at the base of Iron Cap Mountain.  
A nice alpine cirque below Iron Cap Mountain.
Tiffer working up the Iron Cap peak with Otter Lake down below.

The summit of Iron Cap Mountain has a commanding view of the Tank Lakes plateau, Chimney Rock, and lakes and mountains stretching in all directions.  It was real nice.  From here to Tank Lakes did require a bit of tricky route finding down off of Iron Cap.  

This was one of our longer days...  and most of the time we didn't have such prominent cairns to
guide our travel.  
Kinda looking like a dork, but still psyched. 

Tank Lake.

Tiff took a bit of a digger on our exit from Iron Cap Mountain.  A proud battle wound.

Moving down into Necklace Valley.  We were going to camp up near Tank Lakes, but the bugs were too obnoxious; so we settled on a nice site at the inlet to Jade Lake.
What did one frog say to the other?  "Times fun when you're having flies".   Yep, my Dad taught me that one.  Nice one paps!

A sweet cliff a few miles up canyon from the Necklace Valley trailhead.

Tiff so psyched that someone didn't steal her "specialized" mountain bike.  
Ben about to have a fiesta!

On our last day (#4), we spent the afternoon fishing down at Locket Lake and lounging in the sunshine.  
We were having such a magnificent time, that we nearly forgot about the considerable exit hike separating us from the trailhead.  By 5pm we were back at Jade packing up and motivating for the 7.5 miles and three thousand foot descent remaining.  It was a long grind.  But, we managed to hammer it out in time to make mexican in Goldbar.  The following day we packed up and drove to Squamish...but that's another story.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there! Was just looking at planning a trip to necklace valley, found this page online, noticed that i recognized Tiff from shoreline nursing school. Great pics, thanks. Just wanted to wish her the best, looks like you had a fun time. What are the chances i randomly look at a page and find pics of someone i know. Small world i guess...
    Nathan Leake RN