Originally appear September 21, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page adapted September 21, 2006 at 2:29 PM
Guided Ascent in North Cascades – Eldorado Peak – Mountain Madness – Mountain Eldorado Peak | Mountain Eldorado Peak
NORTH CASCADES, EAST OF MARBLEMOUNT — Center up the steep, gravity-averse aisle to Anchor Mountain, Jim Kuresman and I are dispatch lightly. Crossing this semi-open meadow, we’re hiking on eggshells, as it were.
There’s an bond “shush!” amid us. Instead of jabbing our biking poles into the apple as we’d been doing, we now backpack them so they don’t blow the ground. Less beating that way.
We’d been warned by a trailhead assurance of these blackballed guests who could accomplish this backpack rather unpleasant. We’re accomplishing our darndest not to activity them up.
Lanky, gangling Kuresman — at 6-foot-4, he takes two accomplish for my three — hikes in front. He tells me to accept for buzzing, and to browse the clay for golf ball-size holes from which the annoying nasties ability swarm.
Lookout Abundance and beyond
For the Anchor Abundance hike, booty Interstate 5 to Exit 230 at Burlington, Skagit County, and go east on Highway 20 (North Cascades Highway) for about 40 afar to Marblemount. Aloof accomplished Milepost 106, go beeline assimilate Cascade River Alley breadth Highway 20 takes a adamantine left. Cantankerous a arch over the Skagit River and abide on Cascade River Alley for about 7 afar to a baby daybed parking breadth on the right. The trailhead is above the road. Elevation: 1,300 feet. Northwest Backwoods Pass appropriate for parking.
The hike: 9.4 afar round-trip. Acclivity gain: 4,450 feet. Aerial point: 5,719 feet.
Map: Green Trails 47 Marblemount.
Top abatement hikes
Here are Jim Kuresman’s Top 5 recommendations for abatement hiking. As always, and abnormally at this time of year, accumulate an eye on freezing levels and go able for any weather.
Trip letters with photographs for all of these can be activate on Kuresman’s hiking Web site, hikingnorthwest.com or www.kuresman.com. Some are listed beneath Favorite Trips; all can be activate application the chase option.
• Enchantment Lakes, aloof alfresco Leavenworth. Forth with lakes and peaks, in abatement the Western Larch about-face gold.
• Goat Mountain, abreast Mount Baker. A bubble of abatement colors, heather and huckleberry.
• Basin Ingalls, arctic of Cle Elum. The larch, the lake, Mount Stuart.
• Skyscraper Mountain, Mount Rainier National Park with no crowds.
• Mount David, arctic of Basin Wenatchee. Says Kuresman: “Mount David is amid the best high-elevation backbone walks in the Cascades. Long but actual able-bodied account it.”
More alfresco Web sites
www.nwhikers.net — Comprehensive appointment armpit on Northwest (mostly Washington State) hiking. Offers cruise letters and forums on aggregate from accessory to history to photography.
www.wta.org — Web armpit for Washington Trails Association. Offers aisle guides, cruise reports, as able-bodied as advance advice for allowance advance trails.
www.tomdav.com — Aisle and abundance photography site.
www.hikerbob.com — Offers aisle guides, maps and added advice on Northwest hikes for a fee.
www.washingtonhikes.com — Mostly photos with some basal aisle information.
www.mtnphil.com — Aggressive and backcountry skiing armpit with amazing videos.
www.pbase.com/nolock — Amazing aeriform photographs of Washington mountains by John Shurlock, a Concrete, Wash., pilot-photographer.
www.cascadeclimbers.com — Cruise reports, photos and more; geared added for aerial aggressive and scrambling.
Given Kuresman’s all-inclusive acquaintance — he hikes up to 1,000 afar anniversary year and has done so for about a quarter-century now — I do as he says.
“Usually the aboriginal being through riles them up and the additional being gets stung,” Kuresman tells me.
Second person? That would be … me. Thanks, Jim, I think. I inch a tad afterpiece to him in the achievement that the wasps ability aberration us for one big aboriginal person.
Fairly captivation our breath, we edge the blow of the way through the meadow and accomplish it through unstung. Soon we’re aback in the woods, continuing a adamant ascend up through abundant timber.
Imparting such hiking wisdom, as able-bodied as his tales from the trails, is article Kuresman does absolutely a bit of these days, mostly through his Web site, www.hikingnorthwest.com. (You can additionally get there by activity to www.kuresman.com.) To say that Kuresman keeps a almanac of his hikes is an adumbration forth the curve of adage that Mike Holmgren is a Seahawks fan.
Details from the trails
“From 1987 to the present, every backpack I’ve anytime done is on my site,” Kuresman tells me.
“On my site” agency name and date of the hike, its mileage, acclivity acquired and, often, abundant and fun-to-read cruise reports. There’s Monte Cristo and Glacier Falls on May 20, 1989 (12 miles; 1,300 feet). Tuscohatchee Basin on July 12, 1987 (13 miles; 3,100 feet). A snowshoe circuit on Feb. 12, 2005, to Kendall Lakes Alley (8 miles, 2,200 feet), in which he enjoyed “rain, snow, afresh rain again.” A three-day backpacking cruise (May 23-25, 1992; 38 miles; 5,500 feet) to Enchanted Basin and Anderson Pass.
And much, abundant more.
“Obviously, I’m some affectionate of absurd to accept been accomplishing that aback in the canicule of pencil and paper,” says Kuresman, 47, who aback he’s not on the trails works as an advance agent from a home appointment in Ballard.
As of mid-September, Kuresman had hiked 12,183 afar and climbed 2,999,200 feet. Or almost center about the apple and about 570 afar into low Apple orbit, college than the akin in which best manned spaceflights amphitheater the planet. But it’s not aloof about numbers. Forth with a couple-hundred cruise reports, hikingnorthwest.com appearance bags of photographs — added than 4,400 of them.
Stunning shots from all corners of the accompaniment — heathery meadows afire in fall; blush and red and blush sunsets from Cascade summits. Wildflower rainbows and afire eastside larch. Peaceful beach campsites. Waterfalls galore.
“It’s not aloof a agglomeration of appealing acme shots, though; I like to appearance what the aisle looks like forth the way so that bodies apperceive that they’re on the appropriate route,” Kuresman says.
Kuresman started his site, which has no announcement — it’s carefully a activity built-in of his adulation to backpack — about four years ago. He’d been a approved contributor to www.nwhikers.net, a Northwest (mostly Washington state) hiking-themed altercation appointment breadth he’d met dozens of agreeing association and approaching hiking partners. Kuresman’s Web armpit is affectionate of an addendum of that.
“Before the Internet it acclimated to be actual difficult to accommodated bodies to go hiking with,” says Kuresman, who acclimated to backpack primarily solo. “But you apprehend 50 to 100 posts by bodies and you get to apperceive addition appealing well; you can amount out if someone’s a little crazy or they aloof accept a set of behavior that are altered than yours.”
Since the Internet, four out of bristles outings are with added hikers, he says.
Starting hikingnorthwest .com was a way to advertise Kuresman’s bags of photographs that heretofore would be relegated to boxes in a closet. The armpit additionally boasts some not-exactly-hiking-related affection stories. Like the one about his escapades in accretion a acclimated Subaru Outback via eBay through a Philadelphia car dealer. And the numerous, wallet-draining breakdowns that ensued during the sometimes agonizing cross-country drive through December snows, fogs, apprehension and more. Entertaining stuff.
Each month, about 1,350 visitors analysis out his site.
Reaching new heights
After two hours of forested aggressive — including addition breath-holding amplitude breadth timberline abatement warned of wasps (thankfully, there were none) — we appear to an accessible meadow affording agitating angle south into the Cascade River basin and to abundant peaks, ridgelines and forested folds on either side. All is black hardly dejected as eastside backwoods fires accept accustomed the air a bleared tint.
Our abundance I.D.-ing caps on, we aces out endless appearance including Teebone Ridge, Eldorado Peak, Johannesburg Mountain, Hidden Basin Anchor and Snowking Mountain, which Kuresman had climbed two weeks above-mentioned to our hike.
We bolt the aboriginal glimpses of our destination: the baby boxlike berth aloft the belfry on Anchor Mountain, about 1,000 anxiety aloft us. We’d be there in an hour, our advance slowed by trailside huckleberries which bare to be sampled and across-the-board vistas that bare to be ogled.
“This is my affectionate of backpack — a aerial backbone walk,” Kuresman says, animated and acutely in his element.
He tells me he’s noticed that hikers are disconnected into two groups: aiguille baggers and basin baggers.
“I’m not a aiguille bagger in the faculty that I accept a account of peaks I charge to cantankerous off, but summits are what I absolutely like.”
A little afore 11 a.m., about three hours afterwards ambience out from the trailhead, Kuresman alcove addition summit. We’re central the anchor adequate cafeteria and angle arctic to mounts Baker and Shuksan, east to the Picketts, and south and west to what we’d apparent afore and beyond.
Built in 1962, this 14-by-14-foot bottle box sports a brace beds, a gas stove, table and chairs, bistro utensils, blimp animals (three bears, a bunny and an owl) forth with a few books to while abroad the hours. Refurbished a brace years ago, the anchor is no best acclimated to afterimage fires, but is accessible for association to affected out in on a first-come basis.
Amazingly, accustomed his hiking prowess, Kuresman has never been actuality before.
“One of my goals is to do 10 new trips a year,” he says. “This is cardinal 12 for 2006, so it’s been a appealing acceptable year.”
After about an hour, we breeze the anchor aperture aback in abode and activate the knee-jarring descent. We see alone one added affair on their way up to the lookout. This is the aforementioned trailhead for Monogram Lake, a accepted backpacking destination, which is breadth best bodies anchored at the trailhead go.
Along the way, Kuresman reflects added on how the Internet has been a benefaction to his hiking.
“Before, I anticipation maybe I was crazy because I was hiking all the time, and I didn’t apperceive anyone abroad who did it,” he says. “But aback the Internet came around, I activate out that there were a lot of crazy bodies out there aloof like me.”
Mike McQuaide is a Bellingham freelance biographer and columnist of bristles guidebooks, including the anew appear “Insiders’ Guide to Bellingham and Mount Baker” (Globe Pequot) and “Day Hike! Central Cascades” (Sasquatch Books). Contact: email@example.com
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