Sun 29 Jul 12

I took little Park-man on his first mountain adventure yesterday. So get ready, here come a million dog pictures!

I initially planned to hoof it into McCall Basin and the Goat Rocks Wilderness via the Scatter Creek Trailhead off of North Fork Tieton Road 1207 (a hike I’d done before), but was stymied well-short of the trailhead by a “Road Closed” sign (due to bridge out) and concrete jersey barriers across the road. So with no map and only a hazy memory of a Pacific Crest Trail access point near White Pass, I spun the Corolla around and zipped the extra nine miles up Highway 12.

White Pass is a little less than an hour from our house and the trailhead lot was well-signed. My car was the second in the lot yesterday morning, though I didn’t run into anyone else on the PCT until the afternoon return trip. After napping in the car on the drive up Parko was bouncy and excited as we hopped onto the trail and we ran up the first half-dozen sets of switchbacks until startling several elk in the underbrush.

I kept Parko on leash while on trail in the woods, but eventually we pushed through the tree line and off trail, with good sight lines and and ample snow fields and I popped the latch and let him romp. Below right is Parko trying to stretch to reach a floating snow ball in a deep pool of snowmelt. So close.

Mt Rainier is the peak pictured prominently in the photos below.

Without a particular destination in mind, I just wanted to get to a high location with scenic 360 views. We followed the snowfields and then the ridge line to an unnamed peak (as far as I can tell) above Shoe Lake. Gorgeous views of several small lakes below, the Goat Rocks Wilderness and Mt Adams to the south, Rimrock Lake to the north, and or course Mt Rainier to the west.

We ate a well-earned lunch on the ridge: California rolls and granola bars for me and dog food in a frisbee for Parko. Peaceful and sun-soaked. I always love hiking in the Goat Rocks Wilderness because as soon as I leave the trail I always have the mountains to myself.

Top left below, Goat Rocks peaks with Mt Adams behind. Other, Parko romping on the snow fields. He was a little skittery at first on the steep slopes as we headed down and back toward the car, but eventually just launched himself at it, showering me in wet snow shrapnel as he sprinted by.

Lots of lupine and lily in bloom, along with some Indian paintbrush and other mystery flowers. Next time I’ll need to remember to bring my plant books.

It’s a a rare treat to see little Park-Mo so cashed out. I guess it just takes 6 hours of hiking and a few thousand feet of elevation. Here he is snoring on the ride home.

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