Sunday, September 14, 2014

An Overnight Adventure with My Hubby at Park Butte

He said yes!!!!
My husband has always been an outdoors-man. He grew up in the mountains; hiking and fishing and hunting and climbing (serious climbing in his day) was just a normal part of everyday life. But those were CALIFORNIA mountains...and he's been a little prejudice against mossy old Washington ever since he was forced to move here as a senior in high school. 
Not that he didn't continue to do those things a midst the rain and fungus of our dear state. But there had to be a damn good reason to spend the night outdoors this side of the mountains; and backpacking for the sake of backpacking was not one of them.
Park Butte is a popular place--people don't come from all over the world to hike in the North Cascade Mountains for no reason. We are incredibly blessed! It takes less than 2 hours for us to drive to dozens of drop dead gorgeous hikes; therefore for us it's not a necessity to stay the night outdoors...except that it's fun.
Unless there's a ton of bugs...and rain...and dew that makes everything damp and gets right into your bones. This is why Ken has always said no when I've asked him to come with me. (Yes, he did Spider Meadows...east of the mountains is a whole nother animal) I'm not completely sure why he said yes this time, except it was 2 days of 80 degree weather in September; and he felt guilty for always saying no.
What's the hurry?

We arrived on a Thursday to a pretty full parking lot. I had my sights set on staying at the lookout; which meant we should have gotten there by 9 am. I hate to admit that we were late because I had an appointment to get my hair done; but there you have it. I told my hairdresser it was the first time I was getting my hair done to go hiking; but at least I would look good in the pictures. (A first!) We ran into a group of four guys in the parking lot..."Are you planning on spending the night at the look out?" I asked. Of course they were. Oh well; at least we could take our time. We enjoyed a picnic lunch before we set out.
"Take a picture while my
hair still looks good"

Now that I knew we couldn't stay at the lookout, I had a hard time deciding where exactly to camp. I put down "High Camp" in the register, (shoot for the stars!) though the truth is I didn't have a clue. We set off with a very free spirit attitude; we would just figure it out along the way. (okay...that was more Ken's attitude than mine, but I was going with it) 

I will try my best to explain the situation. The trailhead to Park Butte leads to several hikes; in just 500 feet you can venture right to the Scott Paul loop, (saving that for another day) then in two and a half miles you come to the Railroad Grade turn off. (this is where High Camp is located; much higher up, of course) Ken told me he vaguely remembered hiking Railroad Grade 30 years ago...and that he wasn't too thrilled to do it again. It seemed logical to press on to the lookout on a Thursday (hopefully less busy) and consider adding the Railroad Grade the next day if we felt up to it...surely there were campsites to be found closer to Park Butte.
At the Railroad Grade turn off
The first area for camping we came to was shut down. (?!?!) area looked promising...except it was full. On a Thursday?!?...what the heck? Checking everywhere, we at last found a spot. Yes, there was already a one man tent on it; but he wasn't even on the designated "pad". Certainly this was an invitation to share, which we readily accepted.
Sharing is caring

Do you see the lookout in the distance?
Onward and upward; we had to get to the lookout. Once we arrived it wasn't the "beehive" that Mount Pilchuck was...but it was busy nonetheless. We introduced ourselves to the couple that had claimed it for the night, (they arrived at 10:30 am-we didn't have a chance!) with the four hikers we met in the parking lot nowhere to be seen. 
We made it!

What a view!

Chatting with the lookout "hosts"
On the way down we ran into some friends and invited them to come crash our party on their way out. We had yet to meet the camper we had already infringed upon...I'll let you know about that next time.
(part 2:
I thought "What a great back drop"...
then I realized he was peeing

Wish they could have stayed...
maybe next time.

1 comment:

  1. Looks beautiful! Glad you got to check out the lookout ... almost as good as sleeping there! Oh, and your hair looks super cute!!