Devil's Park - East Crater Mountain
Day 2

We arose at 6:10 am for an early start. This day was forecast to be near 90 degrees at the trailhead in the afternoon. It was 47 degrees when we got up. It was short sleeves and shorts for me when we started hiking at about 7:40 am. We had zero condensation on our tents. Gary went with a bivy sack. It would be a dry day. The first part of the day would be easy. Descend 1000' to Nickol Creek then ascend just 350' to the trail junction over about 4 miles. The descent was pretty nice. Clear views of East Crater and Jack Mountain with the morning sun. We had nice clear views from camp too. I managed to lose my small mp3 player somewhere on the trip. We decided to stop at our earlier lunch spot at McMillan Park. We found the exact spot and no mp3 player. Time for a new one. While we were off the trail we saw one more hiker go by. That brought the count up to eight.

At the Crater Mountains junction we stopped to pump water. We also lightened the loads. My pack was the heaviest and I brought a light day pack for the evening before scramble and for East Crater Mountain. I added needed items and stashed my big pack. The others just removed overnight gear and stashed that. From the junction to the top of East Crater is 2.75 miles with 1800' of elevation gain. Pretty easy unless you already gained 6000' on the trip and the heat was rapidly rising. Still, it was only 9:51 am. The route begins with a long .75 mile traverse, mostly in forest. There were a few spots in the open where we stopped to take photos. The traverse ends at the unsigned junction with the East Crater Trail. Going left quickly brings you to small Crater Lake. We waited for the return to check it out.

The trail is in reasonably good shape. It is narrow in a lot of spots. There are some down trees to get over. Trees and brush are growing at the edge of the trail requiring some fancy footwork to get around. Not to dissimilar to parts of the Lost Creek Ridge trail we hiked a few weeks earlier. The trail switches back and forth as it gains altitude. Trees are left behind and the views keep getting better and better. It was getting really hot as the summit was not yet in sight. One last switchback and we reached a saddle. Jack Mountain was right in front of us. To the left is a slightly higher point. The summit of West Crater Mountain was another 1000' above us. Walking over to the edge of the ridge we could look down on a very green lake. Since this was not our original destination I did not research it beforehand. The lake was quite a surprise.

On our right was a slightly higher point and we headed over there.  There were a few trees on the summit and they provided some much needed shade. We arrived on top at 11:32 am. Time for lunch. While sitting down I saw a ptarmigan walk right behind Gary. The first of many on the summit. John was especially able to get some good photos. As we walked along the ridge it became clear that rather than a sharp summit the ridge just kept on going as it descended gently. West Crater blocks one angle and Jack another. Otherwise the views from 7054' summit are outstanding. We enjoyed our time on top. From the summit ridge we could look to the Jerry Glacier on West Crater and across the valley of the Green Lake to the Jerry Lakes. In sight but still not close enough to visit this day.

We were about 5200' above the trailhead. That is a lot of elevation to lose. Especially when the temperature is heading for 90 degrees. As we sat on the summit it became clear that smoke was heading towards us. At the ranger station the day before we learned than some trails south of Highway 20 have been closed due to smoke and fires farther south. Saturday the sky was clear. It was now rapidly getting smoky. Fortunately we took photos on the way up. They would not have been good on the way down.

We left the summit at 12:30 pm. Our downhill pace was much quicker. We dropped two miles to the Crater Lake junction in just 43 minutes. The trip over to the lake was very short. Crater Lake is not very impressive but the setting with the two Crater Mountains and a shear rock wall above is. Time to pump water, enough to get us down the mountain. We were back at the main trail junction at just before 2:00 pm. We repacked our packs and got ready to head down the last four miles.

Just then we heard voices above. Two climbers dropped down to the junction. First there is a back story. Two weeks earlier I met Janet at the 65th St Park & Ridge in Seattle. Another group was meeting nearby. It was lead by Brett Dyson. I knew almost all the folks there. One week ago I met Gwen at a park and ride in Bellevue. As i was waiting a car drove over and a window opened. It was Brett. I had not seen him in a year or so and now twice in different cities two weeks in a row. What are the odds. It turns out those odds are a whole lot better than meeting him a third week in a row on a low usage trail in the North Cascades. Brett and his partner were returning from a climb of Jack Mountain. Three weeks in a row at exact times in far flung places. Now that is amazing!

Brett took off and we never saw them again. We began the long slog losing another 3400' back to the car. As we descended the temperature climbed. To this point we had seen only ten people all weekend. The rest of the way we say six more coming up. Sixteen is still not a crowd. We took advantage of one creek to dunk our shirts. That helped. The last few miles were not much fun. When we crossed the last bridge and reached the parking lot Gary's thermometer read 92 degrees. Not my kine of conditions.

This was a great trip. Probably better than even Ruby would have been. We had Devil's Park to ourselves. The evening scramble up to Point 7111 was a lot of fun. East Crater and the views out and down to that bright green glacier fed lake were terrific. In just two days we packed in 24 miles hiked with 8000'of elevation gain. Big milkshakes back in Arlington were much appreciated. My last two backpacking trips to Lost Creek Ridge and this one were a whole lot of fun.
Sunrise In Camp
Sunlight On Peaks
Gary Packing Up
Long Shadow
Western Anemone
Fall Colors
Back On Trail
Insie Of Shelter
Crater Summits
Zoomed in Peaks
Jack Mountain Again
Red Flower
Indian Paintbrush
Back To McMillan Park
Jackita Ridge Again
Getty Smokier
Summit Far Above
Peaks To The South
Trail To Summit
Summit Getting Closer
Green Lake
Closer Look
Heading To Higher Point
Big Waterfalls
A Jerry Lake
Jack & Jerry
Devil's Park Below
Jackita Ridge Summits
West Peak & Green Lake
John On Trail
Crater Lake
Really Smoky Now
Final Descent
Trailhead Board
Canyon Creek Bridge
Wenachee Wilderness?
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

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Devil's Park - Crater Mt. Report

Trips - 2017