Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Foiled by fire

So yesterday was a day I had myself all primed to stomp many miles in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I had Spectacle Lake in my eyesight, a long hike north of Snoqualmie Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) or a slightly shorter 19-20 mile hike from the east side via Pete Lake to reach the PCT. Dog gone it if I arrived at the trailhead to find a sign that the PCT had a three mile stretch or so that was closed effectively 3 days before my outing due to a forest fire flare up!
Sigh...a month long smoldering fire in the Lemah Meadows are of the PCT west of Pete Lake had suddenly blown up a bit on 8/27 and they closed the area down. Good thing just as well, as it was so smokey in that area as I approached it I wouldn't have had any fun sucking up all that smoke not to mention the potential dangers!

So I cut my day short...I only hiked 16.25 miles :) I enjoyed a long stroll on the PCT northward and after reaching the famed Kendall Katwalk area, continued on to Ridge, Gravel Lakes, and a bit further, enjoying views down upon Alaska Lake and then calling Alaska Mountain my turn-around point. An EarthCorp group was stationed at Ridge Lake doing a camp and trail work party there - bravo to them! I saw numerous groups of backpackers heading in or out, many fathers with sons enjoying a trek. And I noted a few gloomy faced PCT through hikers realizing they had quite a detour ahead of them to get around the short section of closed PCT ahead. The detour out by Park Lakes, down Mineral Creek, back up a road to Cooper Lake, then up toward Pete Lake, over Watpus Pass, down to Watpus Lake, and rejoin the PCT there? Not what they were looking forward to! I feel sorry for them after 2000+ miles to have this detour when there could be a chance rains this weekend really slow down the fire season. We'll see!

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