My friend Mike and I went up and over Cascade Pass last week, and hiked down into Pelton Basin. I typically head up to the spectacular Sahale Arm, but I've heard good things about this trail, which goes all the ways to Stehekin. Cascade Pass trailhead is one of the most popular ones in the North Cascades National Park complex, and for good reason.
Pelton Basin is about a half mile beyond Cascade Pass. It rained the whole way in. I haven't hiked so long in the rain in a while. This isn't really a complaint--I have good memories of many rain hikes, and this one will be included in that group now. It's just something different. Glad I bought the right jacket, and if I had to do it again, I'd have an extra poncho to go over it, just in case things got cooler.
We made steady time up to the pass, which is still snow free. The hope was that on the other side of the pass, which I consider eastern Washington, things would dry up. Eventually they did, after we went past Pelton Basin campground. We probably went another half mile beyond the Basin, for something like 10 or 11 miles on the day, with some healthy climbing to the 6pass.
There were much better views of hanging glaciers in the valley just a bit further down the trail. Unfortunately, my camera battery died, so all I have here is a few pictures here, reflecting the conditions. Pelton Basin itself is basically a somewhat tight valley with some beautiful North Cascades style flat land in the middle, with a creek running through it. We looked for bears and other big, live animals, but at best we saw perhaps spots on far hillsides that may or may not have been.
In the next couple years, I want to take the trail to Stehekin. From the trailhead, it is a bout 31 miles or so, i think, but a bus into town can be caught from High Bridge, which is at about 22 miles. I could see it being done in a day with an early start, though there are many options.
So glad Mike could get out and hike this trail in the rain with me. Mike, you are the best! He had to get up early--probably in the 4 AM hour, just to meet me in Mount Vernon at 6 AM. We also had the pleasure of picking up two Swedish environmental science students who were on holiday at the trailhead, and were returning from Sahale Arm. It was kind of funny---they asked us for a ride to Marblemount, and hit the hitchhiking jackpot, with a ride all the way to Seattle.