I hit the nicely-graded switchbacks through pleasant forest, resting for appropriate lengths are appropriate intervals, and drinking the electrolite-replacing lemonade that the guy had given me at Tapto. After a tiring slog up to Whatcom Pass we found the 'trail' to Tapto Lakes. Join us for five days of backpacking in North Cascades, a vast and rugged wilderness in northwest Washington State. Indeed, I had almost complately made up my mind to do this when I ran into a pair of young couples at Whatcom Pass. With the long day ahead and a resolve to set a reasonable pace, I got an early start on Day Four. Remote, high in the subalpine, and surrounded by rugged snowcapped peaks, the lakes have all the features of a classic backpacking destination. The next couple miles to Twin Rocks camp were fairly easy, and I stopped at that campsite (also empty) to ""drop some weight."" Seattle, WA 98104. Buoy Lake. Tapto Lakes in the clouds. The only differences between NCNP and a wilderness area are backcountry permits and park rangers instead of forest rangers. All will now tremble before me. At the ridge, five teal-blue pools and meadows await those who are brave enough to bear skin. Tapto Lakes is a massive area - much larger than I thought it would be. On the plus side, there were views over the brush to the head of the valley, Challenger and Whatcom, and waterfalls waterfalls everyhwere. The worst part of the ford was that the cold water softened up the skin on my feet, so that the climb made my heels raw by the end of the day. As they say, be careful what you wish for. This was a great hike featuring all the northwest has to offer: high ridges with great views, deep river valleys, alpine meadows and lakes, and old growth forest. There was a buggy camp just below the pass where I spent the next night. So much easier, so long as you have sufficient fuel. The rock slopes up the arm are very stable and snow fields are easy to navigate around. Come to think of it, it's surprising they made a national park there rather than a wilderness area. They told me that they never made it to the upper section of the Little Beaver trail this year, which explained the difficulties of the previous day. I also got stung a few more times by stinging nettles. I quickly reached the Chilliwack ford thatI had been told (and re-assured me) about. As I was warned, no water right there. DAY FIVE: 8.2 miles, 1000 ft gain Above the pass, Tapto Lakes offer better views and backcountry camping, but access is via a steep and scratchy climber’s trail. I wasn't sure if I could do this trip, or what would happen, but I had done it, and it was amazing. The lakes are only about 600 feet higher than the pass, but the trail climbs about 900 to get up and over a ridge and then drops down to the lakes, which were as gorgeous as promised. They said the trail up to Copper Ridge from Indian Creek really wasn't so bad, nothing like the Little Beaver, and that the entire length of the ridge should be hiked and not missed. Exploring Tapto Lakes Basin. Tapto Lakes sit in a basin about 800′ above Whatcom Pass. I wolfed down dinner and watched the sun set over Shuksan, Baker, Icy, Mineral, Whatcom, Challenger, bla bla bla... The ranger at the lookout was very friendly and had great stories to tell. Washington Trails Association Although it was a bright, sunny day, I could not keep my shades on, because then I couldn't see the ground well enough under the brush to see where I was going. The Tapto Lakes Basin is absolutely sublime. There were some small, lazy mosquitos at the campsite, but I ate and relaxed by the creek where the bugs were totally absent. There was a HUGE wall of brush, which appeared (although it was hard to tell) to be clinging to a rather steep bank. The lakes are a great spot to meander around. Tapto Lakes is one of those locations that many hikers dream about visiting. I looked out of the vented wall of my tent over a sea of fog that filled the Chilliwack valley, with peaks rising above it. I crossed part of the river, fought through some brush, and crossed the other half on one of the many giant trees fallen across and around the river. Tapto lakes is a must see, must do and allow several hours to enjoy! But that bridge was washed out (in 2003? The always lovely and ever more expensive boat taxi ride took me to the Little Beaver trailhead, where some folks were canoeing on the lake. Trail stats: 3 days hiking and one rest day for Copper Ridge loop and side trip to Whatcom Pass. Watch your step. To cap off the difficulties of the day, a mouse pestered me while I was eating, and a moth, attracted by the headlamp, flew literally INTO my eye. Then, things got VERY intersting. Contributions to WTA are tax deductible, and we are committed to making the best use of every donation to our mission. : not sure 8-10 ft Will the antenna be installed outside above the roof line, in the attic, etc...? Tapto Lakes sit in a … Each year I thought to myself that this was the year I’d make a go of it but never did. They had hiked all the way from Egg Lake to Whatcom Camp the previous day, and highly encouraged me to stick with the original plan. At this point, I was really looking forward to my car, and I wanted to save my feet for future trips. After an extremely damp and cold night in my single-wall tent (the downside of lightweight, a topic for the Gear section), I awoke just as the sun was rising. 705 2nd Ave, Suite 300 I still had not seen a soul, and the Bear Talk given to me by the Park Ranger echoed in my mind. She astutely observed the obvious reason -- access. When my boot got completely sucked in at one point, I said forget that idea. After the trail finally dropped off the ridge crest, the flies got bad, and would only get worse after topping Hannegan Pass. The mosquitos were pretty bad at the Taptos. John Mason in Utah . Finally, I heaved a big sigh and began the final stretch of my trip, first begrudgingly trudging down to Egg Lake to filter some water. Whatcom arm is easily ""doable"" to the average hiker and can be followed to within several hundred feet of the summit by adventerous old goats (about a mile and 1000+ feet) But the views are somewhat minimal (only the very peaks of prominent mountains are seen) due to the massive size of Challenger and Easy Ridge. It all started Sunday, when I drove to the Hannegan Pass trailhead, and then a (now) dear friend transported me all the way from there to the Ross Dam parking lot. She said a smattering, but not many. Copper lake was beautiful, but very dusty. Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking events, news, gear reviews and more. Tapto Lakes, above Whatcom Pass Icy early morning snow made leaving Tapto Lakes a bit of an adventure. I seriously considered cheating and camping at Copper Creek that night, leaving a shorter hike and climb to Silesia on Day 4 and perhaps a packless day-hike to the lookout on Day 5. The river has two beautiful fords and begins a long, easy ramble through old growth forests up to the junction with brush creek trail. If I had fallen off that log and broken my back, I was would have been completely and utterly screwed. I was very surprised (and rather disappointed) to find that almost the entire Hannegan Pass trail is in the open in brush fields. Our tax identification number is EIN 91-0900134. They were the first humans I'd seen since starting the hike. North Cascades National Park. Hannegan Pass itself is not spectacular, and I did not bother with Hannegan Peak. I chatted with them, and turns out they and a couple other buddies were camping at Tapto lakes as well. Why not camp at North Cascades National Park - Goodell Creek Camp Ground since you're here at Tapto Lakes, and Indian Mountain is easy to spot from Tapto Lakes. Contributions to WTA are tax deductible, and we are committed to making the best use of every donation to our mission. This 'trail' was easy to find but … The only way to find the trail was to look straight down. I recrossed the river, coming dangerously close to taking a very bad fall. From here, either follow the SE ridge up to the East (and highest) summit, or the SW ridge up to an equally stunning summit but slightly lower. You simply open the image from your own gallery. Typical of any good backpacking trip, we were treated to horrendous biting black flies and many miles of tremendously overgrown trails. DAY TWO: ~9 miles, 3600 ft gain They are joined by a group of Mountaineers, including Inis Easton, and hike up Red Face Mountain for more views. I stopped there for a while, filtering and snacking. I poked around, took photos, and read a book. This trip was a quick four dayer for me, and the schedule would only be recommended to the very fit and those going lightweight. Those were the last people I would see for quite some time. This whole idea was incredibly stupid, especially considering I was hiking solo and NO ONE was around for miles. Finally some sun (which disappeared 5 minutes later) The climb up from Indian Camp to Copper Lake takes forever. They hike to Tapto Lakes for views of Whatcom Peak and the glaciers above the pass. 705 2nd Ave, Suite 300 If you've ever been at a high campsite on such a morning, you know how amazing this is. The climb up to Tapto Lakes from Whatcom Pass is even steeper, as it's really just a rough boot path. Exploring Tapto Lakes Basin Backcountry camp, Eiley-Wiley Ridge seen in the distance. Whatcom Pass,Tapto Lakes,Chilliwack River,Copper Ridge. Recommended direction: clockwise, to avoid the long and cumbersome trip up from the Chilliwack (7.5 miles of mostly forested switchbacks) to Copper Lake. Washington Trails Association August 17-26, 2014. The contest judges had an amazing (and difficult) time going through all 8,000 photos entered in the contest to narrow it down to 16 winners (made all the more challenging by doing it by video call) but narrow it down they did. Monogram Lake Pierce Mountain Sahale Glacier Sourdough Thornton Lakes Thunder Basin Trapper Inlet The following cross-country zones require canisters for all or portions of the zones, from June 1—November 15 every year: Boston Basin (portions*) Hidden Lake (all) Tapto Lakes (all) Eldorado (portions*) Sulphide Glacier (portions*) It draws very few visitors per year, and the odds of seeing another human on your adventure are very low. They were right, that section was fine, and I quickly reached my campsite for the night at Indian Creek after crossing an awesome suspension bridge. Whatcom Pass and Tapto Lakes. Tapto Lakes is one of the lakes here in the Northern Cascade Range. In the heart of the park, Whatcom Pass is quintessential North Cascades wilderness. I am a new member, cant figure out how to edit/add text after I have already submitted the photo. Several areas are very brushy (at least 5 feet tall). DAY FOUR: 11.5 miles, ~4800 ft gain Tapto lakes is a must see, must do and allow several hours to enjoy! And I had no idea how far the trail was. To my surprise, there was no water at all before Perry Creek Camp, 5.8 miles in. Learn the fundamentals of wilderness living while enjoying some of the most inspiring alpine scenery in … UN-fortunately, although the sun shone brightly on Whatcom Peak across the valley the entire time, clouds kept the Taptos in shade most of the time, so my tent was still damp when I packed it up at around 11:00. There are not many options for camping--either a few rocks suitable to small tents or one campsite where the poor flowers and heather have been tramped to death. I hit the hay (hay = Thermarest), thankful that I brought my ipod to calm my nerves. Mt. Top Adventures in Tapto Lakes Hike to Terror Basin and Climb West McMillan Spire The Picket Range is a remote and rugged subrange of Washington's North Cascades. Tapto Lakes is one of those locations that many hikers dream about visiting. Next, I tried dropping straight to the river from the campsite. Brush creek trail is flat to Graybeal, where it climbs 3 miles to Whatcom Camp/Pass. Dinner was cooked and eaten by headlamp. I lingered late into the morning, snapping photos and again drying my stuff. All the outdoors entertaining stuff in the Northern Cascade Range will keep you coming back time and again. A few camps are found on the arm just above the pass, though no better than at Whatcom camp. Tapto Lakes are snow free, with some ice floating in the largest lake still. The trail is relatively flat and brushed to Copper Creek Camp, where it picks up the last few thousand feet to the junction with Copper Ridge Trail. Day 1: Hannagen trailhead to Copper Lake (11.5 miles, 4500'). A visit to Tapto Lakes and Whatcom Pass in North Cascades National Park has been on my wish list for a number of years. On one of the brushy sections, I got nailed badly by a what I later found out to be a stinging nettle bush. I ended up making it to Stilwell at about 8:15. According to my itinerary, it would involve 11.5 miles and -- gulp -- at least 4600 feet of gain. 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