79 – Low Pass/High Pass – Setting Up Camp (Day 1 – High Pass Backpacking Trip)

With no snow in the high country – yet – and the rare weekend off, we packed up and headed to the mountains.

Packed up and ready to go

More often than not, the days we are available for hiking and backpacking trips are during the week when there are fewer people out and about, so it often feels like we have the entire wilderness practically all to ourselves. For this particular backpacking trip, because of the condition of the last couple of miles of an old logging road that must be traveled in order to reach the trailhead for High Pass, there was a big advantage to being out there on a weekend. Only high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles dare make that drive, so for those of us who drive an older model Volvo station wagon, we must park below, near the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead (we’ve been that far before – see Hike #68 – Yellow Aster Butte) and hike along the road for another 2-1/2 miles as it continues to gain in elevation to Twin Lakes, and the trailhead for High Pass. So that’s what we did, we parked the car, loaded our heavy packs on our backs and took off on foot – with our thumbs out. This is why being there on a weekend worked to our advantage, because in no time, we were climbing into the back of someone elses pickup truck for the bumpy ride to the lakes.

Hitch hiking up the logging road

We were dropped off at the parking lot for Twin Lakes, and in no time had registered for overnight camping.

Registering for overnight camping

It was a great day to be out hiking – not too hot, not too cold.

(pic by Kent) Along the trail

There were clouds in the valley below us and overcast skies above. With plenty of stunning mountain peaks at which to gaze as the trail made its steep climb from Twin Lakes to Low Pass, we had a great time as we hiked.

Along the High Pass Trail

Having packed in slices of homemade pizza left over from the evening before, we stopped for lunch near Low Pass. Seems like such a treat to me to get to enjoy such gourmet treats – especially with a view like this!

Pizza for lunch . . . near Low Pass

We continued our climb along the trail, and in no time had reached High Pass where we set up camp.

At High Pass . . . setting up camp

As the full moon rose over the distant mountains, the clouds above began to clear.

Full moon coming up over High Pass

It gets cold quickly in the higher elevations once the sun sets, and darkness settles in early this time of year, but we were prepared with plenty of warm layers to wear. He’s cooking us a dinner of Annie’s Mac-n-Cheese with tuna, a very tasty treat on a cold evening.

Camp cook . . . Annie’s Mac-n-Cheese for dinner

High Pass is located in the Mount Baker Wilderness area of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Directions and trail conditions can be found here – High Pass Trail #676 – US Forest Service.

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