<Home (to hike page)>,  <to trips Slideshow>

 

“Last trip without snow for Mr H or so different from last week…””

Little Bulger (5111', p631')

Via Dingford Creek trail (FST 1005) and Myrtle Lake

Nov 8, 2012

Carla Schauble, Gabriel Deal, Jack and Franklin Bradshaw

Weather: partial sun, below freeze in morn. Snow level at c3100, 2" on summit

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-183-pant

 

Prequel

Forecasts are predicting snow on Friday and big snow dump Sunday.  Maybe this will be the last hike before the winter snow hits and remains.  Not to be confused with fall snow that comes and goes to falsely have you thinking time to pull out the skis.  Several options were floating around.  Carla saved the idea of Blanca for Matt and the weekend.  Out of all the options Little Bulger was the day’s winner.  Little Bulger appeared to be a shorter trip.  I was contemplating doing it before the Bulger Party, but became distracted.   

 

Will we get past Cascade Pass

Early enough to have no traffic, we met and loaded into one car.  Driving up the Snoqualmie Middle Fork in the dark, I missed some of the familiar landmarks.  After the Mailbox trail parking lot the road degraded to ever increasing potholes.  The going became much slower, though no less entertaining.  A brief stop to the Middle Fork Campground and onward to the road in better condition.  At Dingford creek the road is gated.  Last time I was this far the road went all the way to the Dutch Miller Gap trailhead now 7.1 miles further up road.

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-001   Description: Description: 12_1108-003

 

It was cold and I wasn’t sure about the day.  I had about everything but the kitchen sink (and my lunch) in the pack as I would for the next several trips.  After warm temperatures and very light overnight packs, it was time to get back in condition for heavier winter packs.  After checking out the posts at the trailhead (7:25a, c1420’) we headed up the wet rock and rooty Dingford Creek trail.  Up and up switchbacks to a leveling trail  at c2400’.  No water finding issues this time of year as creeks crossed or were the trail. 

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-006   Description: Description: 12_1108-013

 

A waterfall flowing over a slab (Pumpkinseed Creek), more crossings, past Goat Creek and the climbers path to Sorcery (1.8m, c2600’, 1hr).  In 2.7 large timbered miles the fork in the trail (1h25m, c2920’).   Right to Hester lake and Mt Price and our route left to Myrtle Lake and Little Bulger.  The trail was easy, not too steep, not too flat, but at times slippery all the way to flattening at Myrtle Lake.

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-018   Description: Description: 12_1108-019

 

 Jack had been taunting us by stopping ahead of us and howling… we hear you Jack…  Now in the snow he was trying to be one with it.

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-023

 

Crossing the creek was easy enough in my freshly greased boots.  A slippery log and a few slippery rocks with water running over their tops.  Another inch of water would have spiced it up (2h28m, 4.7m, c3790’)

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-037   Description: Description: 12_1108-034

 

Myrtle Lake was the formal start of severe shutter delay.  Three of us were struck hard by it.  Jack didn’t come to our rescue.  Totally oblivious to our trek stopping plight, Jack found a flip flop and proceeded to have a great time making it his favorite toy.  The lake was glassy smooth, grasses growing out them bent back to return to their roots.  Frozen patches and surrounded by white snow covered trees. Above and NW vertical rock, treed ridge and two fang spires on Little Bulger’s ridge. 

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-030-pan   Description: Description: 12_1108-028

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-033   Description: Description: 12_1108-036

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-045   Description: Description: 12_1108-039

 

We tried and tried to continue, but the full effects of shutter delay had us even to our knees.  One by one we pulled away, then up the trail struck again.

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-049   Description: Description: 12_1108-053

 

Finally, we extracted ourselves back to the darkness viewless woods.  Wheh!  Some logs, a webbed field of exposed cedar roots, and best a trail.  Looking for a place to head up to the ridge we stayed on the trail as it rose on the west side of the creek. 

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-055   Description: Description: 12_1108-057

 

Now a few inches of snow on the trail making for slippery footing. A sunny dry patch for a nice place to take a food break.  The several shutter delay attack had taken a toll on us.   Up a few switchbacks and past a scenic waterfall the trail flattened more and to our left looked like a perfect spot to leave the trail and head to the ridge (5.4m, c4200’, 3h30m).  The going up was simple cascade brushwhacking.  Followed a creek to avoid the brush, then worked up weaknesses. 

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-059   Description: Description: 12_1108-061

 

Rock features to our south to avoid, then a short patch of brush led us to a long sloping slab with an inch or two of snow (c4550’).  Yikes, we walked gingerly hoping for traction.  There’d be no stopping if we started sliding. 

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-071   Description: Description: 12_1108-066

 

Rising like a Mayan ruin from the trees two spires were impressive, very impressive.

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-064   Description: Description: 12_1108-074

 

 We’d gone north of the peak and gained the ridge half way between the fang towers and the summit (5.8m, c4995’).   The view was stunning.  The north side of the ridge was a cliff with impressive and tall vertical cliffed ridge running north.  

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-097   Description: Description: 12_1108-087

 

A boulder field needed to be negotiated to get to the final slabs leading to the summit. 

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-081   Description: Description: 12_1108-085

 

Little Bulger summit is a broad round rock slab with a cliff on its NW side, a few small trees and views in all directions  (5.9m, 5111’, 12:00, 4h35m).

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-078   Description: Description: 12_1108-069

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-098-pan   Description: Description: 12_1108-086

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-105   Description: Description: 12_1108-116

 

A couple inches of snow and no sign of a cairn or summit register.  I found a few stones and made a small cairn for a register tube under a little tree on the high point.

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-124   Description: Description: 12_1108-138

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-101   Description: Description: 12_1108-131

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-128   Description: Description: 12_1108-130

 

After some checking out the general area and enjoying the warm sunshine, we ventured northward around the east side of the two ridge towers.  Looked like it’d be fun climbing. 

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-137   Description: Description: 12_1108-112

 

A slippery navigation brought us back to the ridge on the north end of the spires.  I started up the ridge, a dead end, then another route option.  The others had not followed, so I returned saving these for another adventure. 

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-142   Description: Description: 12_1108-140

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-154   Description: Description: 12_1108-149

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-168-pan

 

Carla told us it was 3:00.  YIKES! How’d it get so late.  We had so little time before dark.  Time to get a move on.  Down, intersecting our up trail.  Then the Myrtle Lake trail.  Down a few swtichbacks and the waterfall.

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-176  Description: Description: 12_1108-178

 

Careful across the exposed cedar roots and a creek.  Crawling over a log I looked at my watch to see it was only 2:35.  LOL, Carla had not reset her watch to Standard Time.  Whew!  About 6 miles out  thinking, thinking… yeah, we would be out right about dark.

 

Shutter delay was still afflicting Carla, like an addiction she wanted a view spot across the lake.  We all had a shutter delay relapse, luckily we only needed a taste to satisfy.

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-183-pan   Description: Description: 12_1108-187

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-189   Description: Description: 12_1108-193

 

 Jack again made use of the flip flop having more fun than I’ve seen him have all day.

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-191   Description: Description: 12_1108-192

 

Passing the lake view we resisted succumbing once again to the sirens call.  Carla, Jack and I were able to pull away.  As we left, it looked like Gabriel was trapped and was not being released (just his shutter was released…).  The trail down seemed twice as long.  It was warmer as we dropped below snow level (c3100’).  Still wet and slippery, creeks to cross, slippery roots and a break at the cutoff to Hester Lake (9.5m, c2900’, 2h53 from leaving summit). 

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-200   Description: Description: 12_1108-174   Description: Description: 12_1108-043

 

Three miles to go.  Wet, dank, rich greens.  The feel of deep woods.  The taste of it to the senses different from the bright summers.  As long as I’m dry and wet, I enjoy the feel of the different seasons.  Soon the wetness, browns and green underbrush would morph to a covering of white.  This year autumn has been a different experience.  Warm and colorful, then cold and wet.  

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-206   Description: Description: 12_1108-198

 

I was waiting for the switchbacks to indicate the final drop to the road.  Mile markers hints help to break up sections.  The path to Sorcery, Goat creek, Pumpkinseed creek and the switchbacks. 

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-211   Description: Description: 12_1108-212

 

The woods were getting dark and no sign of the trailhead.  The trail just starting to get hard to see, when ahead the trailhead board could be seen, then the opening of the road.  Perfect timing, not another minute of “daylight”.  We’d filled the whole day.  It’s all about timing, right?

 

Little Bulger was a wonderful surprise.  Sometimes  the lower peaks are treed and just a brushwhack up, sometimes there are gems like this one that present a variety of easy hiking and brush, easy navigation and stunning views to mountain features I didn’t know were there.  I’ll be going back with rope and pro.

 

Thanks Carla and Gabriel (and Jack too) for getting me out on a work day.  Nicer walking in the woods and enjoying the sun from a summit than thinking about it from an office.

 

Thanks for reading, and happy trails,

Franklin

 

Stats:

Ascent:  5.9m, +3720', 4h35m

Descent: 6.3m, +180/-3900', 4h9m

Total:   12.2m, +/-3900', 9h31m

 

Gear:    Gators, warm gloves and hat

 

Description: Description: 12_1108-002

 

Description: Description: Little Bulger 12_1108

 

Copyright 2012, FWB, all rights reserved