MT. BAKER-SNOQUALMIE NATIONAL FOREST, WA ::
The trail statistics for Gothic Basin are very deceiving. According to the Forest Service website
, the trail climbs 2700' over the course of 3.3 miles. It doesn't tell you nearly 2000 of those feet are gained in just one mile. It's a torturing and seemingly endless stretch of trail that you and your knees won't soon forget.
At least the death march was in the shade. A relief on this sweltering, record-breaking day when the temperature came close to 100 degrees.
It's a tough trail, but it levels out soon enough and breaks free from the forest, traversing the side of Del Campo to reach Gothic Basin. Several impressive waterfalls spill across the narrow, boulder-strewn path. Across the deep Weden Creek valley, beautiful Silvertip Peak dominates the view.
The effort is finally rewarded as you cross over the lip of the basin and enter a world of miniature lakes and strange geology. Smooth hills of rock resemble waves on the ocean. Other rocks, such as Sheep Gap Mountain, look like shark teeth on the horizon. The ridges around the basin and Foggy Pass were tempting areas to explore, but I was too tired. I'm sure a return trip next autumn would be worthwhile.
Jayson and Jessica were supposed to join me today, but they had to postpone their hike until Sunday. Since they're diehard fans of "The Amazing Race," I thought it would be fun to leave a surprise cache for them to find. Without the assistance of GPS, it's somewhat challenging to find a spot that no one else will explore, but at the same time be distinct enough for your friends to find. I also didn't want to litter the area, so I had to choose something that was made of natural materials and would eventually bio-degrade. The prize was a crochet finger puppet, hidden in a crack in a prominent rock along the shore of Foggy Lake. Kristie and I were thrilled when we got word it was successfully found the next day!
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