Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MIND/BODY CHALLENGE Desolation peak double.

Desolation peak/ East side trail double July 11 and 12 2015

Quick story: I traveled the east bank trail along Ross lake climbing Desolation peak on out and back to the Canadian border in 31:45. This included a five hour break which I caught a little sleep. The trails are amazing to travel on. 

Longer story:

Gear with me, look at past posts for base gear. Things I added/substituted for this trip
Patagonia nine trails jacket, long underwear bottoms. 
Salomon gore tex rain jacket. 
Thin foam pad. 

Wild life. 
Lots of birds
Momma deer and baby. 
Lots of small furry things. 

My story

This outing is a little different than some of the others I have done. Ras put this forth

The Route is an out and back from the East Bank Trailhead off Highway 20 in the North Cascades to the north end of Ross Lake and back. Here's the catch: you must summit Desolation Peak twice, on both the out and the back. So the complete route is East Bank Trail to the Desolation Peak trail, summit Desolation (a hike, not a climb), then head up Lightning Creek all the way to the Hozomeen Campground, touch the monument at the Canadian Border, then reverse the route, including summiting Desolation a second time. The entire route adds up to 86+ miles. That's the Body part. 

Here's the Mind part: Jack Kerouac spent 63 days during the summer of 1956 as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak. He wrote about his experiences in the books Lonesome Traveler, The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels. To complete the UltraPedestrian Mind/Body Challenge you must read or listen to one or more of the works attributed to this period in Kerouac's career, and in your trip report tie in your experience on the trail to one of the books. This can be done in any way you see fit, through words, pictures, video, song, whatever expression you choose

I listened to the book "The Dharma Bums" before doing the trail part. I wanted to see what Jack had in mine when he wrote this book. I wanted to relate my experience to his book. As I traveled the route I thought of how does this experience relate to Jack's experience

I started the trip at 4:00am from my car at the parking lot off hwy 20 in the North Cascades. Headlamp on I was jogging down the trail. This is different for me, my night vision is poor so I am usually walking. It was a nice surprise to see one of the best maintained trails I have ever been on. I knew Jack would appreciate the quality of the trail but wonder why I started out so early and alone. 

The trail stay inland for while before peak a boo view of Ross lake. At Roland I get one foot wet on the ford crossing the creek. Little did I know later this would now matter. 

Rainbow had nice camping. I wonder if anyone is up to give me a little breakfast? I am sure those boats can carry enough to share a little. 

By now all the under brush is getting my feet soaked. The trail is great in many places. I loved how these sections offered great view of the lake. 

Amazing trail work was done here to make this section. 

One of the two suspension bridges. 

This is Lighting Bridge. This is a milestone goal. I now get to turn up to Desolation peak. It took me five hours to get here. The pictures below are area around Lighting bridge. 

Do not worry I was not thinking of jumping. 

The first right turn to the peak. 

Important left turn to out and back to the peak. 

Here we go, 4.7 miles up. It took me four hour to make the round trip to the summit. Jack would have started out below this point at the water. There is a dock there for the boaters to use. I have a two mile hike from the last sign post. 

The weather has been overcast so far. Things are about to change. I am about halfway up the peak and it starts to rain. Light at first then it get heavier. It is now that I am thinking about how Jack talks about how his first time up the peak he could not see anything. I feel the same way. I am making this accent and no views. I am needing a little movitan here. I put my rain coat on. Jack would make up poem with his friends while they hiked. I decided to give it a try here. Be warned, this is not that good. I let my mind wander and see what would happen. 


My feet swing forward, my feet step back. 
It is raining. 
My arm swings forward, my arm swings back. 
It is still raining. 
My pole comes forward, my pole drops back. 
It is still raining. 
I breath out, I breath in.
It is still raining.
I look up the trail, I look down to see where I am stepping. 
It is still raining. 
Ka ( on the ridge behind me to my right -- my left ) boom.
It is still raining. 
I move forward brushing the plants, the water runs down me. 
It is still raining hard. 

Ok, I plug into my ipod and finish the accent. There is some thunder during this time. I saw one lightning flash. I counted 14 sec before I heard the thunder. I could tell the storm was a ways off. I figured that with no more lighting I would be ok. It turned out that I got above the storm. It stopped raining once I near the summit. There is a false summit before the lookout. I kind of thought this looking at the map. Here is some first trip summit photos. 

I saw two groups of people on their way up while I was on my way down. Can you say wet brush. I was starting to love the tall trees. Ok, back to the sign to Hozomeen and on with this adventure. I head off up the Lighting creek trail to Deer Lick camp. There is a wonderful cabin there before crossing the creek. This was in the back of my mind as a place to spend the night. It worked out that I did spend the night there. More on that latter. 

Off down the trail I go, a man on a mission to get to the border. I stopped by this bridge near Nightmare camp to refill water. 

8.7 miles to go to the lake. I am smelling the barn. I know I am not quite halfway and I am getting excited. It is hard to convey the feeling that I am close to the turn around point. The trail is so good I am running a lot of this trail. I walk the uphill portions, but the rest, lets move. When I was by the bridge getting water I thought I saw two hiker pass by me. While I was going down the trail I thought for sure I would have caught them. It took a long time but I caught them confirming that I did actually see them. I was not hallucinating yet. 

I am there, just a little road to the turn around. 

This cabin is at the campground. 

I bet they have better food than I have. It is after 6 pm. I bet there might be a little leftovers somewhere. It was surreal to see this after traveling for so long in the woods. 

Ranger cabin. 

Some reading material at the ranger cabin. I declined to take any with me. 

I am at the turn around. I made it to Canada!

Here is a poor photo of the border marker Ras described. I was not going to walk up that hill without a trail. 

Me on the road from the campground that goes into Canada. 

It is 6:30pm when I make it to the border. 14.5 hours to make it one way. It is time to get down to business of getting back. It feels good to be on the countdown park of the run. I found a water supply at the vehicle camping area. I fill up water, get food out, get ready for night running. I am a bit tired so I am walking a lot more. I want to be careful not to get hurt. It is 10 mile back to the cabin. I figure I can be there by midnight. As I move along, at each waymarker on the map I recalculate my pace and time to cabin. Three things are happening now, my feet are hurting, I am slowing down on the climbing and running poorly on the descents and I am tired. Willow lake, I will be at the cabin by 11pm, Nightmare camp, 2.5 miles to go, I will be at the cabin my 10:30. 10:30 I am at the cabin. First thing is to get warm clothes on. Now I see about my feet. They are not to happy. Two weeks ago I did the UPWC in the Olympics. I trashed my feet there. They were wet for most that trip. Two weeks was great for healing, but now quite enough for 20.5 hours of traveling in wet feet. I put my dry socks on in this great dry cabin. I can sleep without my shoes on tonight! I hop into my bivy sack and go to bed. I woke up a couple of times to change positions. I am sleeping on the floor on a thin foam pad. 3:30 I wake up, time to go. It took a little to get myself out of there. It was warm out, but the brush was still wet. I plug into my ipod and move on. There is some great downhill sections to run on the way to Lightning creek campground. That rest did the job. I was able to run flats and downhills. My feet were better. Before to long it was light and a little while later I was at the bottom of the hill for Desolation peak. I think the time was 6am. I headed up for the second time. It was cloudy and dry. My round trip time was four hours and ten min. 

Getting ready for the second time up. 

On top for the second time

Poor views

Poor views. 

On this second accent, I walk around the lookout and took in the area. I did not see much as I was in a cloud. It a beautiful place up here. I would love to see on a clear day sometime. I watched the clouds move slowly through the surrounding mountains. It was a hypnotic thing to witness. It was also windy and I did not have a cup of tea to enjoy as Jack would have in his lookout. It was time to me to go down. Here is a shot I took of where I am headed next. 

My car is at the end of that somewhere. 

These next two photos are one of the two interesting thing that were unusual for this trip. I was running down the trail and I look up and see a deer close in front of me. I think we both startled each other. I was wondering why she was just standing there. I started talking to her. Then it dawned on me that there was probably a baby around. I started walking and talking to her. She moved off the trail and there a little ways ahead, a doe. I did the same with the doe and it moved out a little bit quicker. 

The rest of the the trip out was uneventful except for one thing. I saw hikers that I said "Hi" to. People camping at different camp sites. People fishing in boats. The unusual thing was  group of two women and many girls. I had to ask who they were. I have never seen this out playing in the mountains. I thought it was great to get these girls (12 and 13yo) out in the mountains. (I raised my daughter as a  single parent from the age of 11 on) After chatting briefly I was off. I stopped for a water fill up break at the next stream. Soon one of the women and a girl came back to fill up their water bottles. I was chatting with them and found out that the girls dad ran Cascade Crest 100. 

Once my water bottle was filled up I was off running to my car. I arrived at 3:45, 31 hours and 45 mins after I left. I rested for five hours of this time. My altimeter showed 21,000 feet of gain. The distance is what Ras says 86+ miles. I have no way of confirming this. I really do not care. I was out there for the enjoyment of being in mountains in a place I have never explored. 

I want to thank Ras for putting this route up  there to challenge me. Nick for returning my altimeter after finding it on the Olympics run. Jessica for chatting with me about her run from Hozomeen to the south end of the lake. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow Jeff--I really enjoyed this. This is a favorite area of mine. Congratulations on such an accomplishment! You really got this all done fast, and traveled some terrific trail. Pretty amazing stuff.