Jackita Ridge Trail, Devil’s Dome and the Three Fools Trail

One of the most fabulous backpacking loops I have ever done was in the Pasayten Wilderness.

We began at Canyon Creek trailhead, along Highway 20, hiked up the Jackita Ridge Trail, visited Devils Dome, then connected with the Pacific Crest Trail at Holman Pass and headed north. At Castle Pass we took the Three Fools Trail west, to Ross Lake, where we got the water taxi to Ross Dam and hitchhiked back home.

Here are a few pics from the trip.

Sunset atop Devils Dome, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades

Sunset atop Devils Dome, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades

This first one is a sunset from atop Devils Dome. We spent the night there, (08/08/08) and were observers of a spectacle of lightning storms that swept through that night, starting innumerable fires throughout the park. Like three fools we stayed there, atop the Devils Dome, mouths agape, as the night sky erupted and just watched.

 

Jack Mountain from Devils Dome, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades

Jack Mountain from Devils Dome, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades

This is Jack Mountain, from Devils Dome.  Hiking in the Pasayten Wilderness is wonderful, lots of views and flowers.

Cascade Crest from Jackita Ridge Trail, Pasayten Wilderness

Cascade Crest from Jackita Ridge Trail, Pasayten Wilderness

This was taken from the Jackita Ridge Trail, looking west – southwest. That long green meadow inviting you is Devils Garden.

Here is another view from the trail.

Jack Mountain, Pasayten Wilderness

Jack Mountain, Pasayten Wilderness

After Devils Dome we made our way to Holman Pass where we intersected the PCT and turned north. The image on the right is from a glorious meadow (with a spring) just before Rock Pass. And the Double Rainbows is at Rock Pass looking north. That’s Lakeview Ridge stretching to the distance.

The wildflowers are all over (assuming you’re there at the right time!)

The Three Fools Trail was a struggle. It hadn’t been maintained in more that a decade, there were more than 200 down trees between Elbow Basin and Three Fools Creek…it was brutal!

The sunsets, however, were magnificent. This is from Elbow Basin.

The Three Fools Trail lived up to its hype: Stunning scenery, no one to be seen anywhere and you’d have to be a fool to try!

 

Big Face Mountain from the Three Fools Trail, Pasayten Wilderness

Big Face Mountain from the Three Fools Trail, Pasayten Wilderness

Here is Big Face Mountain from the trail.

 

Ross Lake from the Lightning Creek Trail, North Cascades National Park

Ross Lake from the Lightning Creek Trail, North Cascades National Park

and lastly, Ross Lake, from the Lightning Creek Trail.

That was my first visit to the section of the PCT from Holman Pass, north to the border with Canada. I have revisited several times, access is not bad, at Slate Peak. You can park at a junction with the PCT, at 7,000 ft elevation to start your hike!

The views along Lakeview Ridge are to die for…that will be the subject of the next post!

Oh, the hitchhiking home part: When we debarked the water taxi and hiked up to Highway 20 we were more than a bit surprised to see hordes of cops. Not just regular ones, Border Patrol, guys in kevlar with nasty weapons, the place was swarming with them!

Eventually one of the cops came over to ID us sketchy looking hitchhikers and being polite and all the cop arranged a ride for us home. It turned out that a Park Employee had stumbled upon a huge marijuana farm, right there, near Ross Lake! So they came up with the swat team and got boats and went to raid the pot farm, but by the time they got there, the farmers had fled to parts unknown…

Morning Sun burst

We hiked up to the summit of Devils Dome on Aug. 8th, the night of the Olympics opening ceremonies. The weather was perfect, we enjoyed a magnificent sunset and went to sleep under starry skies. About 3am I awoke to a the sound of distant thunder. I could see lightening all around our peak, and it was starting to rain. We donned our rain suits, got the rain fly on the tent, got all of our gear inside and lay on the grass watching the thunder storms sweep past us. We must have seen more than 100 lightning strikes on the peaks all around us and one could see the glow from fires started in the forest nearby. The fireworks we experienced definitely outdid the Bejing display!!
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Slowly the skies started to clear and the sun started to stab through the clouds. That’s when I took this picture. Morning Sun Burst