Friday, September 9, 2016

Backpacking Park Butte

Pano of Park Butte Lookout with Mt Baker in the back

Start of the trail, bridge 
 Caitlin and Sarina on the trail
The views weren't too bad
Cody, Loki, and I with Mt Baker behind us (Thanks for capturing this Caitlin!)
Horses helping carry out WTA volunteer tools
 Man and his best friend
How much stuff can we backpack out?
 Our only water source
Almost to the lookout!
Park Butte Lookout
Me trying to get a better shot of the lookout
We tried something new for dinner, made tortellini with marinara sauce
Cooking at the lookout
Turned out pretty good! With a wine pairing of course;)
The gang with Baker behind us
No filter

Date backpacked: August 20-21, 2016
Trail & Location: Park Butte Trail up in North Cascades National Park area
Mileage: 8 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 2200 ft
Difficulty: not too strenuous, difficult due to heat though

After taking a weekend + a few days off to road trip with my best friend, I was back on board to do another over nighter, this time to Park Butte Fire Lookout in the North Cascades. There are 3 National Parks in the state of Washington, and North Cascades National Park was the only one I hadn't visited yet, glad I finally got to check that off my list!

There were 5 of us this time, Sarina, Cody, Alex, Caitlin, and me, plus Loki:) Cody and I headed out in a separate car, all of us agreeing to meet at trail head around 9:30-10 AM that Saturday. The trail head was packed when we got there! We found parking on the side of the road and waited for the girls to arrive. Cody and I ended up waiting over an hour because the girls got lost lol.

We hit the trail around 11 AM. WTA was out on the trails this weekend doing trail maintenance, so we were warned that we might not be able to go into the lookout. That didn't dampen our spirits though, we were ready to hit the trail! The trail was easy to navigate, but the heat got to us. It was in the high 80's, we were all guzzling water, and sweating our butts off. All of us were thinking a dip in an alpine lake would be amazing. Too bad there weren't any big shimmering alpine lakes to jump into on this trail! We ended up shedding weight, and setting up camp at the 1st camping spot we came across, Cathedral Camp. There were quite a few others camped here already, I think the group of us ended up taking the last spots here that night. We ate lunch, tried to nap in the heat, and then decided to hike further to filter water, and catch sunset at the lookout. About 20 minutes up from our campsite, we came across a small mucky lake. We all had drank so much water, we ended up filtering here for 30 minutes, resupplying our stash. (If you wonder what water filter I use, right now I prefer the mini Sawyer) We then hiked on to the fire lookout.

Park Butte Fire Lookout is one that you can actually sleep in! It's a first come basis. By the time we reached it, there was a man and his parents staying in it for the night. We still got to enjoy the lookout though. We made dinner, chatted with others that were there, and caught the sunset sitting on the porch of the lookout. After sunset, we hiked back at dusk, hung out a bit, and called it a night. No fires permitted sadly.

Following morning, we rose early, made breakfast, packed up camp, and hit the trail back to our cars. Overall, another successful weekend in the wilderness!

Here is Sarina's write up on this trip!

Until next time North Cascades!

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