Skagit River Trail in May
Well, we just finished the Skagit River Trail. Jim and I
left Langley at around noon yesterday, and after driving to Hope, we got on the
43 Km of gravel road that leads to the trailhead and the Ross Lake Reservoir.
What we saw of the road was in really good shape and there were tons of people
off to the side in various places, enjoying the weather, fishing, etc.
About 2Km before the trailhead, we were stopped by a
conservation officer - asking what our intentions were. We mentioned that we
were planning to hike to Delacey campground and camp there for the night and
then head out in the morning. He told us that we were SOL because the trail had
washed out between Km 8 & Km 9. We could hike in to the washout, then back out
to the trailhead and drive down to Ross Lake to camp for the night, if we wanted
to. We thanked him and off we went. We got to the trailhead at three o'clock.
The trail was pretty uneventful for the most part, and we
saw a lot less of the Skagit River than we expected to. Along the way to the
washout we were scouting out possible spots to camp for the night, just in case
we ran out of steam or daylight - or both. There were a couple really nice
areas right along the river with fairly smooth, sandy areas that we thought
would do nicely. After setting waypoints on the GPS, we continued on down the
After we crossed Twentyeight Mile Creek (shouldn't that be
Fortyfive Kilometre creek? LOL), we ran into the washed out area (directly
across from Marmotte Creek). The slide didn't look all that bad, really, and
over half of it has already been repaired / shored up. I made a judgment call
and decided to continue on, across the slide a ways and see if it looked
stable. It was actually quite dry, and it looked as though some others before
us had already kicked some foothold in. If the trail had been wet, or looked
any worse than it did, I would have turned around, but it looked ok, so we
continued on. It may have been foolish to continue over the slide, but we made
it in one piece, and without plunging down the slope the 50 or so feet into the
Once we made the other side, we headed off to the
campground for the night. The next bridge was Twentysix Mile Creek, and the map
we got from the conservation guy looked as though it was just beyond the creek.
After hiking almost to the Silverdaisy Creek, we decided to turn around and
pitch camp at a beauty little area I saw on the way by. By this time it was
eight o'clock, and the sun had long disappeared behind the mountains. The chill
of the mountain air started to kick in a little bit by then.
After we finished with the camp, we got a bit of grub
together, hung the food and stuff out of bear reach and sat by the edge of the
river doing a bit of star gazing. While we only had a sliver of sky to work
with, being in the valley, it was spectacular none the less, and we even spotted
a few shooting stars.
About eleven-thirty, it was time to hit the sack. We were
up at around five-thirty, and after wandering the area a bit more, having
breakfast, and tearing down / packing up, we hit the trail at about eight. It
was a slightly overcast morning, and the sun hadn’t yet hit the tops of the
hills – even though it was light enough to just barely see by four. The trek back to the trailhead took us just under four
hours – arriving back at the car just before noon.
All in all, it was a great trip, but I must admit that
carrying fifty-five odd pounds on my back made it a lot more work than I’m used
to. I figure we logged close to 30 K, all tolled, and we were both really glad
to see the end of the trail. The McHale packs carried the weight very
comfortably – I’m totally happy with mine, and I’m sure Jim is happy with his
too. I had everything except my sleeping pad inside my pack (tent, sleeping bag
(not in a compression bag), food, etc.), and I still had close to 2-feet of
space left at the top. Ultra-light is fantastic, but if you want a few more of
the comforts of home-away-from-home, these big packs are wonderful - tres easy
As for snow on the trail, there really wasn’t much, to
speak of; only a couple of small patches in shady areas. They did become more
frequent the further we went, but still only just a handful. It did get cold
overnight though – I fully expected to see frost when I got up in the morning.
We had the trail all to ourselves, which is quite nice.
The only other hikers we saw were just finishing up the trail as we were getting