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6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Printable Version

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6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Perry - 10-02-2018

Below is a hike trip report which I posted to the Washington Trails Association web site. It describes a 6 day pack drip I finished a few days ago with Adam, Grant and Albert.  

These guys are 3 years old.  I got them last fall. I’ve had them out on around 15-20 day hikes and 3-4 overnight or multi-day hikes.  We averaged about 8 miles per day on this trip.  They did well.  Getting pictures of them while hiking was hard because they were almost always right next to me…too close for a good picture.

I've put in a couple pictures, but then ran into some sort of size error, so I'll add more photos in subsequent posts.

Andrews creek – Peepsight lake – Upper Cathedral lake

Starting Monday 9/24/18 I did a 6 day goat packing trip starting from the Andrews creek trailhead north of Winthrop.   I had Adam, Grant and Albert (white Lamancha) with me.  They were each carrying about 25#.

The Chewuch road is paved to the trailhead.  The main trailhead parking is on the right side of the road, with a stock camp on the left; and likely other camping in the area. 

The trail starts up immediately, gaining about 400 ft in the first 0.7 miles.  The trail soon enters the area burned in a 2003 fire.  The willows and pines are revegetating the area.

While the Andrews Creek Trail heads up the Andrews Creek Valley, it is rarely near the stream.  The trail is regularly used by horse riders and is typically logged out.  I encountered only 2 logs across the trail between the trailhead and the Boundary Trail junction, a distance of 15 ½ miles.  One log was about 1 ¼ miles in and about 18” in diameter. 
 
Except for the first bit of trail near the trailhead, the whole length of the trail has been burned by the 2003 fire, or north of Andrews pass, by last year’s Diamond Creek Fire.

In some areas many of the dead trees have fallen. In other areas, there  are a lot of dead trees still standing, particularly above the Peepsight creek trail junction.
 
The trail is quite rocky in many areas, particularly from the Peepsight Creek Trail junction to Andrews Pass.

This time of year the willows and also patches of small Aspen trees on the west facing rock slide areas provide quite a bit of color starting about 1 mile from the trailhead and continuing in varying degrees for 5 or 6 miles.

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At about 4.4 miles from the trailhead the trail tops what appears to be an old terminal moraine with a view up the valley.  The trail gains little elevation for the next 3 miles or so.

At 4.9 miles there is a small stream.  Between there and the Coleman Ridge Trail #505 junction, there are 2-3 small dry camp sites with few dead trees nearby (less risk of a dead tree coming down if it’s windy).

Coleman Ridge trail #505 junction is 5.8 miles from the trailhead.  There is a small forest service temporary sign on a tree with the trail name.

At 7.9 miles from the trailhead is a camp site near Andrews Creek.  There are a mix of live and dead trees in this area.   I camped here the first night.

At 8.4 miles from the trailhead is the signed junction for the lower end of the Peepsight Trail.    The Peepsight Trail #525 makes a semicircle: heading up Peepsight Creek, going over Crazy Man Pass, past Rock Lake, and ending at Andrews Pass.

The Peepsight Trail has been relocated from where a lot of somewhat older maps show it.  The Backcountry Horsemen logged out and opened up the Peepsight Trail going up Peepsight Creek earlier this summer.

The Peepsight trail first heads down to a crossing of Andrews creek.  This time of year, it’s easy to cross by stepping on rocks.   There’s a short climb up the creek bank.  The trail branches here with the left branch going a short distance to an old cabin.  The area around the cabin has been used as a horse camp.

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After crossing Andrews creek, the right branching trail is the Peepsight Trail.  It’s gentle at first, but soon starts climbing out of the Andrews Creek Valley.

The first 3 miles or so of the trail are easy to follow due to both human and horse traffic.  Around 3 miles the trail gets into more open rock country and it takes a bit more alertness to follow the trail.  At about 3.5 miles the trail crosses tiny Peepsight Creek and swings around, heading in a more southwesterly direction.  At 3.9 miles the trail appears to disappear in a meadow at about 6,900 ft elevation.  Up to the right a hundred yards or so is a hunting camp.

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Grant trying to decide about how to cross a small stream

The trail actually swings across the meadow heading northwest.  There was a red flag on a tree about 100 ft. beyond where the trail turned to the northwest…and no sign of a trail around the flag.

From the meadow the trail is much fainter, with no visible sign of horse traffic.  It took some care, but between faint tread, cut logs and cairns I was able to follow the trail as it traversed up in a west-northwest direction.   In 0.2 miles is a signed junction.  The sign pointing right says Rock Lake 2, the sign pointing ahead say Peepsight Lake 1.  

I continued in the direction of Peepsight lake on Trail 525A.  Shortly beyond the sign is a nice unburned bench at about 7,100 ft. elevation, with open mixed larch, fir and pine woods; and a meadow area.  The trail up to this point had been in the old burn.  Cairns indicate where the trail heads west across the meadow.  The trail then starts climbing northwest toward Peepsight Pass.  From the pass it heads steeply down in a northwest direction to Peepsight Lake…a nice area.  Nice stands of golden larch around Peepsight Lake. I found a nice place to camp in the area north of the lake.

Wednesday, I headed back up over Peepsight Pass and down to the signed junction.  I headed toward Rock Lake.

This trail was quite faint.  Using a combination of faint tread, cairns, cut logs and flagging I was able to follow it north on the bench, it then traversed down to the northeast a little way.  It then started traversing up.  I did not see any more flagging, but the cairns continued heading continuing northeasterly toward point 7557, east of Crazy Man Pass.

The distance from the ‘Rock Lake 2’ sign to the low point is about 0.4 miles, and is pretty much south east of Peepsight Mountain.   The terrain from this point up to Crazy Man Pass is gently to moderately sloping up.  It’s unburned, open woods with a lot of larch.  A nice area to roam.

I followed the cairns toward point 7557, east of Crazy Man Pass, they crossed an open area, then appeared to stop.  Actually, they turned and headed toward Crazy Man Pass.  The cairns were on the slope a bit above the open meadow area…likely because that’s where the rocks were available.

From Crazy Man Pass there is a pretty well-defined trail traversing down to the north.  The upper part was unburned, but the Diamond Creek Fire burned the lower part.  Once into the burn, cairns and bit of tread generally indicate where the trail goes. The trail loses about 300 feet of elevation going to a small V shaped notch/mini valley.  The trail goes up the V shaped mini valley a little way, then climbs the side heading northeast toward Rock Lake.  The trail goes around the north shore of Rock Lake which has one unburned area.

From just past Rock Lake the trail heads down and to the east, at one point making a swing to the south.  It’s 2 miles from Rock Lake to Andrews Pass.  This section of trail is a little more defined, with tread showing more often, but cut logs and cairns are often needed to point the way.  The last ½ mile or so to Andrews Pass showed evidence of horse traffic and was more well defined.

There was one point about ½ mile from Andrews Pass where it took a bit of looking to find a way around a group of larger downed trees for the goats, other than that, travel was relatively easy.  It just took time, because I did not want to lose the trail.

From Andrews Pass I headed north on the well-used Andrews Creek Trail.  This area was also part of the 2003 fire.

About ½ mile north of the pass the trail crosses the headwaters of Spanish Creek.  There are a few patches of meadow in this section which were unburned.

The Diamond Creek Fire burned up to within about a mile of Andrews Pass, so except for a few small patches, everything was black.  I found a place to camp in a meadow just past the newly signed Spanish Creek Trail junction.  There was also a new “trail unmaintained” sign about 100 ft down where the Spanish Creek Trail headed.

Thursday, I headed up Andrews creek trail to the junction with the Boundary Trail, and nearby Spanish Cabin.  The cabin and area right around it, were unburned.

I headed east on the Boundary Trail. The 1.8 miles up to the Lesamiz Trail # 565 junction was a patchwork of burned and unburned forest and meadow.  From the Lesamiz Trail # 565 junction the Boundary Trail skirts the Amphitheater Mountain meadows which have a few scattered pine and larch.

Quite a bit of the country immediately north of the Lower Cathedral Lake Trail junction looked like it had been burned by the Diamond Creek Fire…but it was a patchwork with some unburned areas.
When I got to Upper Cathedral Lake I could see that fingers of the fire had gotten right up to the edges of the Upper Cathedral Lake basin.  And that the fire had burned about to the shore of Lower Cathedral Lake in one area.

The area immediately around Upper Cathedral Lake was unburned.  The golden larch were gorgeous!  It was mostly cloudy Thursday, but there were a few patches of sun.

Friday, I hiked back west on the Boundary Trail, then south on Andrews Creek Trail, again staying at the camp 8 miles from the trailhead.

Hiking out Saturday, it was cloudy with a few light rain showers.   The Aspen had a lot more reddish-orange and yellow color than 6 days earlier, and the willows were showing lot more yellow-gold color; which made the hike out quite enjoyable.

This was a great fall larch trip, with really nice stands of color around Peepsight Lake, the area south of Crazy Man Pass and of course Upper Cathedral Lake.


RE: 6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Perry - 10-02-2018

Here are some more photos:

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Left to right: Adam, Grant, Albert


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Peepsight lake

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On the Peepsight Lake Trail


RE: 6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Perry - 10-02-2018

More photos:

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Break time

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Rock Lake

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Spanish Cabin

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Another break


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Tarn and Amphitheater Mountain

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Albert looking at Upper Cathedral Lake


RE: 6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Nanno - 10-02-2018

Very, very cool! Thanks for sharing! Looks like a beautiful time of year to hike there because of the aspens and willows.


RE: 6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Perry - 10-02-2018

More photos - Upper Cathedral Lake area.  Trailhead was at 3,100 ft. elevation, Upper Cathedral late is at 7,400 ft. 

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Grant and Albert wearing their hunter oranges vests

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RE: 6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Charlie Horse - 10-02-2018

I hope you had time to put some of your pictures in the calendar contest!

Those are some interesting trees. Trees with needles that turn yellow? I saw something like that in Mongolia.

I've never done more than 2 nights. I feel like I need to improve my camping skills when I read stuff like this. You did this solo-- I like solo hikes and bike rides because you really get time for that inner monologue for once. I only have room for 2 goats with my current vehicle situation, unfortunately, but 3 goats is a great crew size. Plus, here in the desert, I have to carry water, so a 6 day would be a tough one unless in the spring or a wet season-- Water is heavy. Its one serious advantage to mountain hiking. I have a freeze-drier so I could make my own light weight food, but if I have to carry in water, whats the point, heh.

Those goats look great. What a loyal team, for sure. So I take it you never met any other hikers on the trail? Sounds like you were pretty remote, though 6,000ft is where my house is. Seems so much higher in your pictures.

Hiking this time of year you have to deal with cold rain. Did you encounter any? And whats your camping setup like... For forests I like a camping hammock. Very compact and quick to set up. Good for rain, but not great if its going to be super cold since its rather exposed though.


RE: 6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Mike - 10-02-2018

Solid work man!!!  Awesome work and great pics!!  


You have to love a Silky saw!!!!  I picked up a Katanaboy 650 this spring and I love it.  I have yours I use for tree work, great saw!


RE: 6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Perry - 10-02-2018

Hi Charlie Horse,

Yes the larch are unusual.  They have needles, but are deciduous, the needles turn a golden yellow in the fall, then drop off.  The larch color season lasts for a week or two. 

I've packed water for a 'dry camp' for one night, but multiple days of water would add up fast.

I did meet other people on the trail, one or two people on several days, but some days I  saw no one.

We can get rain or snow in our mountains this time of year.  Weather on this trip was good, first 3 days mostly sunny, a few high clouds; the next two days were cloudy with a few sun breaks.  Saturday on the hike out it was cloudy with a few light rain showers.  I usually don't go unless the weather forecast is fairly good  Smile


RE: 6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Perry - 10-02-2018

more pictures of Upper Cathedral Lake area:

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RE: 6 day pack trip - Andrews Creek area Pasayten WA - Perry - 10-02-2018

more pictures:
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Heading out - Amphitheater basin, Remmel Mountain and Andrews Mountain in the background.

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Pictures below are mostly Aspen, some Willow in the lower Andrews Creek Valley.  Colors were a lot brighter that when I hiked in 6 days before.
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