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Home Forums TR Archive Washington Ross Lake (North Cascades) 8/16-8/18, 2008

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  • #570315
    jcocci
    Participant

    Been meaning to put this up, but just got around to it. For the wife’s birthday we decided to do a kayak trip to Ross Lake in the North Cascades. This is a trip I have wanted to do for quite a few years now and never had the opportunity. With a great weather forecast and an extra day off we decided this was a good time to do it. For those not familiar, Ross Lake is a large lake in the North Cascades National Park. You cannot access it via car unless you go up into Canada as the north part of the lake is actually in Canada, not many people access this way though. To get your kayak or canoe into the lake requires a portage from Diablo Lake via the folks at Ross Lake Resort (yes there is a “resort” on the lake). From the Diablo Dam its about a mile uphill to the Ross Lake. There are a ton of campsites in the lake, a bunch of which are on islands and are all well maintained. They are first come first serve but you need to get a permot for them from the ranger station. We spent Friday night tat he ranger station so we could be there as soon as the opened Saturday AM to get our spot. Glad we did as we got one of the last 2 or 3 available spots on the lake. Once we had our permit it was off to Diablo Lake to launch.

    Getting the boats and GPS ready.

    Views from Diablo
    Colonial Peak

    Colonial and Pyramid Peak

    We saw this group heading down from Ross Lake. This is the biggest canoe I have ever seen. There were 6 big guys in this thing with at least 4 large coolers (maybe more) in it. Photo is a bit blurry.

    The weather on Saturday was sunny and warm (think it got up to 100 that day, which is hot for the North Cascades). It took up about an hour to paddle from the launch on Diablo to the dam (which is about 4 miles) to catch our portage. There was a good sized group in front of us so we had to wait about an hour or so for the truck to come back so we just relaxed at the dock area.

    Waiting for our ride.

    Our portage up to Ross Lake.

    Once in Ross Lake we had about 12 miles to paddle to our campsite. We had all day to get there and had great views a long the way.

    .

    This is called Devil’s Creek. Its a creek that feeds Ross Lake and we were able to paddle back into it a few hundred yards.

    We got to our campsite around 3:30 in the afternoon

    Setting up camp.

    View from our campsite

    Good hammock spot

    Relaxing in said hammock.

    Sunset from camp

    The next day we decided to go for a hike. There is a hike up to Desolation Peak which has an old fire lookout and is where Jack Kerouac spent a summer in 1956 as a fire lookout. Its a pretty decent hike, about 4400 feet of elevation gain in about 4 miles. Unfortunately the lookout was locked when we got to the top, but the views from up there are great. Its was about a 3 mile paddle north from camp to the trail head.

    Desolation Lookout in the distance.

    Leann and I on top. Looking South.

    Leann relaxing at the top

    Looking West into the Picket Range

    Looking North

    On the way back to camp we paddled into Lighting Creek which is similar to Devils Creek.

    We got got back to camp and relaxed for the evening. That night we had one of the most intense thunder and lighting storms I can remember witnessing. The first thunder woke me from a dead sleep and I though the mountainside was crashing down is was so loud. The lighting was so bright even from inside the tent it was like someone was flashing a camera flash right in my eyes. It was pretty intense. No photos unfortunately as I didn’t want to get out of the tent. The next day (Monday) the weather wasn’t as good and it was time to pack up and paddle back to the dam.

    Waterfall

    Then we saw this guy. I have actually never seen a bald eagle in the mountains before. Have seen them many, many times in the islands, but never the mountains.

    We got rained on pretty hard just as we were finishing up the day. All in all a great trip.

    Back at he car, packed up and ready to head home.

    #607635
    bcrider
    Participant

    Wow! That looks awesome jcocci!

    Place looks amazing. Cool to see non splitboard stuff too. Thanks for sharing! :thatrocks:

    ps. happy belated b-day to the mrs. πŸ™‚

    #607636
    HikeforTurns
    Participant

    Nice! Thanks for posting up those pictures of the lookout. Great trip

    #607637
    bigdood
    Participant

    Whoa, sweet trip! I’ve been wanting to try kayaking, going to wait til I move before I even consider it though. Nice rig as well, I’ve got an 82.

    #607638
    wavy
    Participant

    @jcocci wrote:

    Leann relaxing at the top

    Very cool. I just re-read Desolation Angels a few months ago, funny, that’s EXACTLY how I pictured the look out, I must’ve seen a picture of it somewhere before or something. I want to go up Matterhorn in the Sierras eventually in large part because of Dharma Bums.
    Thanks for sharing, looks like an awesome trip!

    #607639
    Ecobrad
    Participant

    Very, very cool.

    #607640
    jcocci
    Participant

    @bcrider wrote:

    Wow! That looks awesome jcocci!

    Place looks amazing. Cool to see non splitboard stuff too. Thanks for sharing! :thatrocks:

    ps. happy belated b-day to the mrs. πŸ™‚

    Wasn’t sure on the non-splitboard stuff but had seen a few non splitboard so I figured I’d share. Thanks, I’ll pass along the happy birthday to the mrs. πŸ˜€

    #607634
    jcocci
    Participant

    @wavy wrote:

    Very cool. I just re-read Desolation Angels a few months ago, funny, that’s EXACTLY how I pictured the look out, I must’ve seen a picture of it somewhere before or something. I want to go up Matterhorn in the Sierras eventually in large part because of Dharma Bums.
    Thanks for sharing, looks like an awesome trip!

    Ironically when we were up there we able to see a fire across the lake on a ridge. Nothing too big, but we could definitely see flames. I think the rain that night during the lighting storm put it out.

    #607641
    jcocci
    Participant

    @bigdood wrote:

    Whoa, sweet trip! I’ve been wanting to try kayaking, going to wait til I move before I even consider it though. Nice rig as well, I’ve got an 82.

    Thanks. Mine’s a 90 Multivan (westfalia without the kitchen.)

    #607633
    bigdood
    Participant

    If I did it over again I’d probably go that route, no sink/stove/etc., but still the poptop for headroom.

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