Sunday, September 26, 2010

Icicle Ridge, Day 4: The Sun Also Rises

That night, I suddenly awoke -- having recovered from my shivering -- at Carter Lake (above). My tent seemed to be illuminated, and no longer flapping violently in the breeze. "It couldn't be morning already," I thought, glancing at my iPhone. It was 3 a.m.

Curious, I stumbled out of my tent and saw the reason why: the storm had vanished and a bright full moon drenched the entire basin around Carter Lake with light. This was very good news indeed; it meant summer would return at daybreak.

We had now abandoned the idea of making it to Leavenworth; it was too far for the amount of time we had left. Kelly had to catch a flight to Anchorage in a couple of days. Me? I was "smellin' the barn" -- and looking forward to arriving at Owl Farm.

That morning, we enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee thanks to my French press and basked in the increasingly warm sun, mitigating the cold from the night before.

We dallied a bit while breaking down our camp because the solar gain felt so good on our cold, shivering yet stiff bodies. Then -- once we found the trail, which took a little while -- we sauntered down Painter Creek toward U.S. Highway 2.

Climbing the pass between Painter Creek and Hatchery Creek, we witnessed stunning views of Big Jim (below), the high point along the Icicle Ridge. Big Jim was named for James J. Hill, the railroad magnate who built the Burlington Northern Railroad from Minneapolis to Seattle back in the late 19th century. Hill -- known as "The Empire Builder" -- was synonymus with the other big dogs of that era: Rockefeller, Carnegie and Vanderbilt.

Our only problem now was transportation. My vehicle was parked at Stevens Pass; Kelly's truck was in Leavenworth, our original destination. Thank God for cell phones. I called my buddy Roger Wallace and he agreed to meet us at the trailhead. More good news: we encountered another hiker by the name of Julia who would be heading toward Stevens Pass on her way back to Seattle.

At the trailhead Roger had both Coke and beer ready for the weary hikers. Now, I like beer just as much as the next person (maybe more), but I asked for the Coke. From there, Roger drove Kelly down to Leavenworth and Julia transported me to Stevens Pass.

Owl Farm was beckoning, and I would heed its call.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


What a wonderful blog. Too bad it didn't make me feel as if I was there! It made me happy that you had the experience and totally enjoyed yourself.