Pasayten Wilderness, part 1 - Middle Fork of the Pasayten River

This was a six day backpacking trip in the Pasayten Wilderness, in north-central Washington state, east of North Cascades National Park. The trailhead was Slate Pass at 6900 feet - nearly the highest altitude of the trip, within a few hundred feet. The weather was chilly for July/August not getting much above 60 on the sunniest times, which were few. But I suppose that saved me from the bugs. It rained for two evenings and nights (first and third).

From the trailhead at 4:30PM, I descended to the middle fork in occasional drizzle mixed with a few sun breaks. Here is the view south from the trailhead, from where I had driven up.

The section of trail below the pass was in full bloom.

Not far into the hike, I chanced upon a local near the trail.

It was in the mid-thirties the next morning with some near-frozen rain. Here is the middle fork.

After about 5 miles of flat hiking, I headed up a solid hill for 1500 feet of gain to Fred's Lake.

From there, it was 700 feet more of steep hiking up and over a small ridge . . .

. . . to Doris Lake.

Osceolla Peak and others rises above Doris Lake.

Camp was less than 100 yards from the lake on a ridge.

With a commanding view of the valley leading to Shellrock Pass.

Ass well as Blackcap Peak and Monument Mountain

Hiking up a ridge above Doris Lake gave a great view of Fred's Lake below.

I had a nice sunny afternoon at Doris Lake. I wouldn't see too much more sun till the last day.

The next day started sunny at dawn, but clouds gathered and stayed for most of the day. I hiked back down to the middle fork and headed six more miles north and downstream to a right turn towards Tatoosh Buttes. Soon after, I passed from green forest into a burn zone. The climb up towards Tatoosh Buttes was on a good trail. At places, it was just blackened trees and ash.

At other places, new growth had started growing since the 2006 fire.

But it was a gray day. That's the north end of Buckskin Ridge.

One of the most common post-fire plants was the appropriately-named fireweed.

I hiked quite a ways up towards the buttes, making it to a place called Lone Buck Camp. There was no camp there, just black and ash, so I just turned around and headed back to the bottom and camped at Lease Creek.

Go to part two: Buckskin Ridge