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Chinook & Crystal Peaks

May 1, 2014: We did this as a one-way trip with a car shuttle. We left one car at the Crystal Lake trailhead and took two cars to Chinook Pass. We hiked north on the Pacific Crest trail toward Sheep Lake. About half a mile before Sheep lake, the trail takes a left turn into a bowl, and then a right turn out of it. We left the trail at the right turn and continued up the bowl to the head of the bowl on the south ridge of Chinook. We followed the south ridge to the summit, encountering 3 mountain goats along the way. We spent half an hour on the summit admiring the view and shared the summit with a pair of Clark's Nutcrackers. Descending, we dropped to about 6500 feet and skirted around point 6706 and then followed the ridge to Crystal. We spent an hour on the summit admiring the view and shared the summit with a pair of Canada Jays. We descended westerly and caught the trail at 5400, just as the snow gave out. On the way home, we tried out the Europa restaurant in Enumclaw, a German-Polish restaurant across the street from the excellent Bangkok Thai. The food was hit or miss. Generally, the meat was good (if you like meat overcooked to the point of dryness), and the potato salad was excellent (if you like it vinegary) as was the cucumber salad, but the potato dumplings and the spaetzle were terrible. The fresh potato pancakes were suburb, if you like them fresh, crunchy-brown on the outsides, and swimming in oil, served with applesauce and sour cream. All in all, another great day in the mountains. If you are looking for a 2-2-2 scramble (2 summits, 2 on the strenuous scale, and 2 on the technical scale) this is it!


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