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Badger Ridge Trail #257
1 Photoset

2019-06-25  
mini location map2019-06-25
15 by photographer avatarkeepmoving
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Badger Ridge Trail #257Volcano, WA
Volcano, WA
Backpack avatar Jun 25 2019
keepmoving
Backpack19.15 Miles 4,039 AEG
Backpack19.15 Miles2 Days         
4,039 ft AEG13.5 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
First overnight adventure into the Dark Divide Roadless Area. Made the 3 hour trip from Portland out to the remote Blue Lake Trailhead. Along the way I picked up 3 PCT thru-hikers as I passed through Bridge of the Gods and gave them a lift into Stevenson.
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I wasn't 100% sure the road to Blue Lake Trailhead would be open, but I made it in with no problems. It was pleasant temps in the 70s and partly cloudy as I headed through the forest towards the lake. There were intermittent snow patches and the meadows were super boggy from all the runoff, but I was pleased to find it mosquito free. Blue Lake itself is quite stunning and well deserving of its name. Unfortunately, being less than a mile hike in from the trailhead (despite feeling super remote) it obviously sees fairly regular use from people who do not seem to value Leave No Trace Ethics and are leaving their mark on the surrounding area.

Fortunately most people stop at Blue Lake. Pushing past it, the trail immediately begins to feel more rugged as it winds its way through a gorgeous meadow and up the ridgeline to a junction at the base of Craggy Peak. Since I had time to kill, I decided to make a brief detour and follow the trail down to Yellow Jacket Pass to take in the views and look for a small pond that was marked on the USFS maps. Unfortunately, the pond doesn't really exist, and the views are mostly blocked by the forest shortly after passing Craggy Peak.

Returning to the main junction, I followed Boundary Trail #1 along the ridgeline past Shark Rock to Badger Lake. I continued to encounter more snow drifts, some up to 6-7 feet deep, but nothing to cause any real navigational issues. In a couple of places I had to kick steps in the snow to navigate a couple of steep sections where microspikes would have been appreciated. Although the area appears to be prime habitat for Mountain Goats- I found tracks along the high points of the ridge and goat hair tangled in bushes, I was unable to spot any on this trip. But I did spot a black bear just below the trial as I approached Badger Lake, so that was nice.

After a brief snack and water refill at the lake, I headed up to the peak. Although its not even a mile away from the lake, I was pretty beat at this point and really starting to slow down. I took a nice long break at the top and enjoyed the views before heading back down to the lake and setting up camp in the only preexisting campsite I could locate.

I woke early the next day and took my time heading back. The forecast was showing thunderstorms in the later part of the afternoon, so I wanted to be extra careful and make sure I was off the ridgeline before the weather turned.

Base Weight: 13.5lbs
With Food/Water: 16.5lbs
Flora
Flora
Spreading Phlox
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Avalanche Lily, Indian Paintbrush, and multiple other flowers that I cannot name are sprining to life as the snow recedes.
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