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What should have been a Glacier Peak trip report


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Rick, at Leavenworth Ranger station, was right - getting into Glacier Peak was difficult, which is why we didn't get there over the 4th of July weekend. . .


While the first several miles of the route we chose, the Little Wenatchee River trail, were fairly straight forward, the last 3 or so were super slow going, at least for us, with heavy packs, since we really did think that we could go to Glacier Peak over what were 4 days for us. . . In the first several miles we had only about 2 river crossings of any note (and those could easily be walked through if you have waterproof boots), and one mess of a downed tree that needed to walked around, and what looked like several snow avalanche debris fields to walk over, and yes, a bit of route-finding in the woods, and some route-finding in the last low meadow, where if you happened to notice where the trail went, instead of hugging the river, then you'd be on your way up to the Meandering Meadow, with only minimal delays, crossing snow fields (for which we took out our ice axes). We were able to cross the little Wenatchee at its source, near what I think is called Sauk Pass, at the western base of Kodak Peak.


In the following picture, we were on the eastern edge of Meandering Meadow, headed directly at Sauk Pass (wide arrow) at the western base of Kodak Peak (narrow arrow):


When we arrived at Sauk Pass, we'd travelled the 7.2 miles in about 7 hours, which we thought was incredibly slow, and knowing that we still had another 7 miles to get to what we considered the first camp, we decided to call it a day, take in the views, and do a light exploratory trip to the first camp the next day, Sunday.


First up on the views was Glacier peak in the center in the distance:



And Kodak Peak:


And in the southerly direction, Mt. Stuart, rightmost of the big mountains (appears between 2 clumps of trees - hard to see in this low res version of the picture, actually - but I think that you can get the drift that our camp had stunning views):


Sunday started with some light rain, and Kodak Peak became completely invisible, as did everything else - so much for a day of easy routefinding and exploring (yes, we could have done it, but it wouldn't have been as fun). We took our sweet time getting up, and when we finally "climbed" Kodak, the clouds started to lift high enough where we could get a full panoramic of the surrounding area. By the time we reached the top of Kodak, the clouds were at about 7,000ft, so no Glacier Peak view.


Here's a view of camp after I'd gotten about 100 ft up, looking back at Jason, almost topping out at the first hill, and Rita just leaving the tent area (behind our tent was about a 1000ft drop off):



And here's as we were about 100ft from the top. It got nice and steep (consolation prize for not climbing Glacier. . .):



Here's a view from atop Kodak Peak of the Little Wenatchee River valley curving off to the right (the valley that we came in through):



Alas, in spite of the new views, rather than do our route-finding at that point, we decided to head back out. For some reason, it took about 5.5 hours to return. Thinking about the hour and a quarter that it takes us to run a similar distance (at a slow pace), those 7 miles seemed incredibly long. . .


On Saturday, we saw one backpacker and her dog, with plans to do a loop backpack. She'd split by the time we returned to the car. We did see (because of their footprints) that others had gone out via the Little Wenatchee Trail, but didn't see where those tracks started, and we'd seen no sign of other footprints in that Meandering Meadow on the way in.


Speaking of meadows, the lower meadows were absolutely filled with Glacier Lilies (also known as Yellow Avalanche Lilies), and Mountain or Tall Bluebells, while the woods had many Trillium in bloom. Simply stunning. We'll have to return.




Edited by leora
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