We got a later than anticipated start on our long day (12+ miles) from Egg Lake to the Indian Creek Camp just off the Chilliwack River, 4000 vertical feet below the Copper Ridge Lookout. We were still on the trail before anyone else, so we took a bit of time to snap some photos.
We hiked past Copper Lake, a beautiful bright blue alpine lake on the ridge. We wanted to spend a night there, but due to a party of 10, the lake was tied up until a Friday, which didn't fit our plans at all. But we did stop by and fill up on water before the next 7.5 (dry) miles and a ton of vertical feet to go down!
That hike was among the longest 7+ miles I've ever done - Royal Lake included. The ridgeline hike was spectacular - though the best views were between Egg Lake and Copper Lookout. We snacked on huckleberries all along the way which were tart, sweet, and fabulous.
We eventually made it down off the ridge into the Chilliwack Valley. The change from sub-alpine scenery to dense lowland forest was pretty abrupt, and made for a stark contrast. Within a half mile of entering the valley proper, Jeff and I had to ford the Chilliwack River, since there is no bridge across it at that point. Ranger Abby had told us that the river was knee deep and that the salmon were running.
We took one look at the Chilliwack and its puny salmon, and were not (terribly) impressed. We didn't want to get our shoes wet, so we decided to ford the icy river in our bare feet. Not smart. We didn't fall (it wouldn't have mattered much in that 4 inches of water!), but our feet sure were owwwy.
We knew there was another river to cross, which took maybe 30 seconds to walk there. THAT was the knee-deep "river" (Indian Creek) with some monster salmon just hanging around.
That was a seriously cool thing to see! I think Jeff and I probably could have caught one in our bare hands (Bear Gryll's-style baby!), but we both didn't want to smell like fish with a bunch of bears lurking in the woods. So we took off on the final leg of our epic day, and eventually made it to camp.
The next day we headed upstream towards our final campsite for this trip at Copper Creek Camps. We first had to cross Indian Creek - no more salmon that far upstream - over a very cool suspension bridge. Jeff's first steps he expected something a bit more firm...
...which of course didn't go too well!
I had to stop and grab some photos of the both of us.
Further up the trail we had the option to ford the river or cross on the cable car. The cable car is really for when the river is not fordable, but how could we not use the cable car to get across?
After that, it really was primarily an uphill walk to get back to Hannegan Pass, and then down to get back to our car. The weather, as you may recall, was a bit rainy on day one as we crossed over Hannegan Pass. The intervening days were all sunny and beautiful. We had some blue sky on the hike out, but as we neared the pass, the weather started to get cloudy and foggy. Literally steps from the car, it started to rain on us. So all in all, we couldn't have been luckier as far as the weather goes.
I know I had a great time! We got to hike one of (if not THE) premiere ridge hikes in all of Washington. It was rugged, it was remote; all in all just brilliant. Cheers,