sahale peak over doubtful lake
taken from my stopping point for lunch on the sahale arm trail, part of this weekend's backpacking adventures in the north cascades...truly one of the most gorgeous places on earth.
the journey started from the cascade pass trailhead, winding through old growth forest, moss, and mushrooms, arriving at alpine meadows and climbing through breathtaking mountain vistas in every direction. the colors were ridiculous. everywhere. this is now easily in my top 3 favorite hikes ever.
normally this route is overloaded with people, but on this day i saw no one on the way up, only 5 people on the way down. awesome!! what was not awesome was the reason: the access road here is closed 3 miles before the trailhead. i knew this beforehand, but failed to ask about the altitude gain for that little set back. mile 1 gains about two feet (i was still in ignorant bliss here), miles 2-3 gain about 1800 hateful, paved, view-less feet more. ugh. the good news was that this pretty much eliminated all of humanity from the area.
to take the edge off, i opted to spend the night at the trailhead campground, then started the bigger climb in the morning. to anyone planning this, i'd strongly suggest you do the same. totally worth it, and you'll never see this trail so empty again.