DAY 1: We needed a boat taxi to ferry us to the trailhead or the end of trail, depending on which way we hiked. After much deliberation, we decided to arrange the taxi for the end of the hike, so we would travel counter-clockwise. This way, the campsites and the views would just get better and better as we hiked, then we would end up at a lovely lake for a refreshing swim at the end.
This was the group, 10 altogether: From the left, Karlyn, Kim, Krista, Kami, Noah, Jeff, Kelli, Scott, Todd, and Dad is kneeling.
Jeff precariously attached some special treats to the outside of his pack to enjoy at camp.
It was a steep climb the first day, but short: around 4km with 1100m elevation gain. We crowded our 6 tents into the small site that had a nice creek, and was supposed to be less buggy than a little further up the trail at Mcmillan Park.
DAY 2: Overnight, it clouded over and started raining, so when we woke up, everything was wet and breakfast was spent huddled under a rather pathetically erected shelter. Since the hike to the next campsite at Devil's Park was only another 5km, we decided to make a morning side-trip to summit the nearby Crater Mountain, before packing up.
We got pretty soaked even before we got to Crater Lake, but the lake itself was worth it.
We ended up spreading out as we hiked, so most people had turned back after deciding they were just too darn freezing cold to climb up a mountain for a view of clouds. Well, that didn't stop Jeff, Scott and I. The summit was at 2378m (7800ft), and I'm sure the views would have been amazing, if you could see anything.
The rest of the day was just trudging through the on and off rain, making it to the shelter at Devil's Park. There were a few guys there already, but we found some decent sites to spread out our big group. The rain didn't let up while we set up, so we had to choose between standing in the rain next to a warm fire, or shivering under the dry tarp. Tough call.
DAY 3: The rain stopped by the time we had to pack up the next morning, and Todd liked to use any opportunity to dry his clothes over the fire.
The day started out in the clouds, but as the afternoon progressed, we started to see some of the views would to be enjoying for the rest of the trip. It was a day of some up, then down down down, then up and up to our next site at Devil's Pass.
The water source here was pretty far and pretty sad, but enough. There was another group of hikers going the same route as us, but we only ran into them a couple times.
DAY 4: Waking up on Day 4 was very pleasant, with sunshine and views. (Our campsite nestled in the pass):
A super great day of hiking to arrive at the summit of Devil's Dome. Lots of views of Jack mountain as we hiked up the ridge.
Before the hike, Dad was feeling pretty confident about his health and abilities, so we were all happy that he seemed in great shape. Apparently, getting heart bypass surgery is like putting in new batteries :-)
Once atop Devil's Dome and set up camp, everyone (but me) soaked in the views, rested, played some cards and maybe napped a bit. No one felt like joining me, so I went on my own to climb the unnamed mountain next to us.
(That's the unnamed mountain behind sleeping Dad):
In this pic, I took from the unnamed peak, you can see big Jack Mtn. to the right, and our campsite looks like a little yellow dot on the top of a ridge just to the left of the grassy area that has snow on it.
We fooled around a bit while waiting for the sunset (as it got colder and colder and the bugs got more and more annoying), in order to take some cool photos. I guess it was worth it:
DAY 5: Our last day of hiking was just over 10km of downhill, ending up at Ross Lake for an awesome swim! We were all glad that we decided to hike counterclockwise, since we would have had the cloudy, rainy days while up at Devil's dome, therefore missing out on the views, and missing out on the perfect dip in the lake.