Personal Website for TED HENRY

Expedition 2023, Day 1

I had no idea this day was going to be so, um, interesting.

On the way through NCNP I stopped at the visitors center to pick up the latest news on road closures and found a mess of disappointed, angry, irritated, and demanding tourists facing down two rangers doing their best to deal with the mob. C’mon people, show some courtesy and understanding. There were two large white boards set up with the latest information indicating there were active fires on both sides of the highway at Diablo Lake and the highly popular Blue Lake trail head. Between those two points stopping on the highway was not allowed, all trail access was closed, and fire crews and their trucks had clogged up everything anyway. Only one campsite area was open but had no vacancies of course. As I drove through I could see active fires and numerous fire crew on the hillsides doing suppression work on those extremely steep hillsides. Continuing east the first place one could pull off was the fantastic Washington Pass Overlook. Boy was I lucky as that was where I wanted to place a rock and some ashes.

Washington Pass Overlook

Highway 20 is in the chasm to the left of the Holly rock, so don’t let the wind blow you off the ledge. (48.52647, -120.64702, 5,517 feet)

Holly Rock at Washingtoin Pass

Some of Holly’s ashes were set free into the air currents of the abyss.

Holly Rock at Washingtoin Pass

On to Harts Pass

Partway up the gnarly, mostly one lane road full of sharp rock chunks I was taken aback to find a traffic jam of cars right in that section where the road clings precariously to the side of the cliff. I got out and walked forward to find 12 Porsche Cayenne’s out on a club drive and one of them had a flat. Well duh! Those street tire don’t cut the mustard on this road, and worse, he had no spare. Well yes, those vehicle don’t have room for a full size spare. What a mess. No traffic could pass in either direction. Eventually someone from up the hill came along to save the day with a wheel that would bolt on. I understand the allure of a car club outing but the idea of choking on each others dust for miles on end eludes me.

Pulling into the campground I was relieved to find 4 of the six sites were empty. Cool. But looking uphill at the switchbacks heading to Slate Peak I was shocked to see a crowd of 4x4’s parked in every conceivable road shoulder. Ah, it was opening day of the high-hunt and with so many access points shut off by the fires, Slate Peak was crammed. Sheesh. It suddenly felt crowded in a place where I was expecting solitude. It wasn’t really a problem though if one ignored the vehicles. The occupants were already gone backpacking into the wilderness areas. That is once the Porsches had conquered the summit and vacated for whatever they do after a hard day on the trail.

After an early dinner I drove up to the Slate Peak trail head to hike up and watch the sunset, maybe place a rock, and send some ashes flying.

The hike is nice but the top of Slate Peak was unceremoniously squared off for an Air Force radar site that was never built.

Holly Rock at Washingtoin Pass

Holly Rock at Washingtoin Pass

Mt. Baker is behind and left of the smoke plume

Holly Rock at Washingtoin Pass

Standing on Slate Peak feels like being on top of the world. The burned forest sections show up as white patches. The Holly rock I placed a year ago during a blizzard is on the highest point of the ridge behind the parked vehicles.

Holly Rock at Washingtoin Pass

On to Day 2