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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Mount Carrie & Seven Lakes Loop

A fairly easy scramble combined with a classic backpacking trip in this beautiful area makes for a great combo.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The High Divide Loop is a classic hike/backpack trip so all the trails were well maintained.  Even the Primitive Cat Basin Trail to the summit was in good shape.  Once off this trail, there was usually still a bootpath, faint bootpath or cairns to help lead the way.   When there wasn't, it was still easy because there was no obstructions.  There was a lot of side hilling, but the shale nubs were strong so good for foot placement.

Day 1:  Four women took the 5:35am Edmonds to Kingston ferry (30min crossing) and reached Port Angeles at about 7:40am.  Waited for the ranger station to open at 8am in order to pick up our reserved camping permit and bear canister.  We also met the 5th member of our party here.  From here we went to breakfast at First Street Haven, highly recommend.  Arrived at the Sol Duc TH around 11:00am after a hour detour due to road construction near Lake Crescent.  Started down the trail around 11:40am going clockwise.  It was going to be an easy 8 mile day with only about 2700' of elevation gain that came mostly at the end when we left the cool forest behind. The abundant blueberries were everywhere which slowed some of us down a bit, but we were at our Heart Lake Campsite #4 by 4pm or so.  A few bears were busy eating berries up the hill.  It was a peaceful evening and we all were in our tent or bivy by 8pm or earlier.

Day 2:  We departed camp at different times around 7am.  Met at the junction of the Sol Duc/High Divide/Primitive Cat Basin Trails by 7:15am and started down the Primitive Cat Basin Trail which is in great shape.  From its end (3 miles from the junction) a steep well worn bootpath climbs up about 200' to the ridge that is the start of the class 3 Catwalk.  The narrow Catwalk ridge runs about 1.5 miles and is fun scrambling with lots of solid rock and tree holds.  There is a bit of ducking or pushing aside of branches, but nothing that could really be considered bushwacking.  In the middle of the Catwalk is what is known as Boston Charlie's Camp.  A nice place to camp or take a break, but the pond of water here is not very inviting for filtering although in a pinch it would do.  Once at the end of the Catwalk, you follow the ridge up heading NE in open terrain.  There is heather and grass which eventually gives way to rock and then broken shale.  Faint bootpaths come and go and sometimes a cairn would mark the way. Lots of side hilling and would probably have to cross snow patches20170913_134109-2.jpg if earlier in the season.  We had our ice ax, but did not use.  We took turns leading and were on the summit in about 6 hours going at a fairly easy pace.  We spent about 45min on the summit enjoying the splendid views of Olympus and its many peaks and the Hoh River to the south, Straight of Juan de Fuca to the north, Cat Peak to the west and Carrie Glacier right below.  We were back on the Cat Basin Primitive Trail around 4:30pm.  Back to the campsite around 6:30pm with many stops to eat blueberries again.  And again, a black bear was near our campsite eating berries.  The wind had picked up by the time we returned so it was a little chilly during dinner time.  One person's GPS read 12 miles R/T with about 3800' gain.

Day 3:  We were all looking forward to a relaxing, leisurely morning, but the winds all night continued through the morning.  The gusts felt like 30mph.  Even our full backpacks were being moved by the gusts.  We broke camp carefully so things wouldn't fly off and left about 8am.  Four of us hiked up to the summit of Bogachiel Peak while 1 decided to just go around and meet us at Deer Lake.  Although windy, it was a clear day and the views were beautiful.  We met up at Deer Lake around 12:30pm and had lunch.  We reached Sol Duc Falls around 2:30pm and back at our cars around 3pm, a 10.5 mile day that was mostly all down hill and lots of berry eating again.  The detour was still in effect which again delayed us a hour.  Returned the bear canister and dinner at a good restaurant in Port Angeles, whose name I can't remember before taking the 8:20pm ferry back to Edmonds.  

 

 

 

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