9.3 mi rt
gpx track, use at your own risk: Windy to Tamarack
This was another plan B, they happen.
My intent was to swing by the ranger station in Marblemount Friday morning and get a permit to spend the night out on the Sahale Arm Saturday night. I was going to hike in to Cutthroat Pass and spend the night Friday night then hike the 5 mi out and drive over and hike into Sahale for Saturday. It was the weekend of the 4th. I got laughed at, those permits were long gone. So, plan B.
I haven’t been over to the Hart’s Pass area for a few years so I decided heck, why not. Hart’s Pass is outside of Mazama on the east side of Hwy 20. The drive up to Hart’s pass is notorious for being a scary road to drive on. It is also said to be the highest maintained road one can drive to on Washington State. And they have been working on it! so it is not quite so life threatening but it still even made my hard of stone go pitter patter in a spot or two. Just remember, always hug the hillside.
I didn’t really have a set plan but I knew that the PCT crosses the road here and since I have the Halfmile and Guthook apps that I could find somewhere to go and would know where the water was along the trail. I stopped by Goat’s Beard, the outdoor store in Mazama, and got the green maps for this area. I may have also picked up a new ultralight (just 2 lbs!) 38 L Osprey pack there…just saying. I LOVE me some Osprey. After leaving Mazama, I drove up the road I went first to a campground and got a spot for the night then headed over to the upper trail access to the PCT heading out to Windy Pass and Tamarack Peak.
The trail is pretty tame, it gradually loses elevation which of course going to have to be earned back on the way out. The wild flowers were incredible as were the views! Just outstanding! I had been out on this hike last in 2008! Too long ago. The trail was pretty dry, there was a water source a little less than one mile from the pass so if hiking out to spend the night make sure to get water there. When I reached the pass I could see my destination, Tamarack Peak.
There is no trail up this 7220 peak, you just have to make your way up gaining about 1000 ft in about 0.6 miles. This is where it really shows how much 5 months of being sedentary impacts my endurance. But, in the famous words of a friend, you just put your head down and get it done. I stopped and put my head up to admire the views and catch my breath often. There was another group of four up there. Three were resting below the summit waiting for the guy on top who was working on reaching others on his Ham Radio for this thing called Summits on the Air. Sounds pretty cool, I will have to read more about it.
I spent some time on top taking lots of pictures and drinking my summit IPA (Basecamp again). It was quite warm on top but I had my sunbrella so I was doing just fine. There were SO many butterflies all day but on top was like a butterfly party. The skippers and checkerspots kept getting in groups of around 20 and flying as a unit sometimes coming so close to my head I could hear the sounds the wings were making as they flew. It was amazing.
The hike out was beautiful and I got back to the truck at about 8:15. At the parking area there was a nice guy with a cool dog that had gotten a flat tire. He had just got new tires and his lug wrench didn’t fit, mine didn’t either. I drove down and got the ranger who drove up to help him.
I headed back to the Meadows Campground and had dinner then crawled into bed ( I have a bed that I built in my canopy). I slept with the canopy open so that I could watch the stars but it ends up that it was the full moon that I watched mostly, it was so bright it kept waking me up all night.