Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pack Trip: Day Last

After a hearty breakfast of sausage and eggs, we began breaking camp. Today we were headed to Corral pass to meet up with other members of the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington for the annual Tr-Chapter work party.

I know that some will be quick to point out that the words "work" and "party" do not belong in the same sentence. For myself, coming from a Naval background, it is very natural to hear those words together. And this particular work party happens to be a great time. We do work hard, but we benefit from the work, both from the standpoint of well maintained trails, and our relationship with the United States Forest Service and the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

The camera never does justice to the view.

We had to work our way around this fallen tree. This tree would meet its match in a few days.

We turned west off the Pacific Crest Trail, onto the Arch Rock Trail headed for Echo Lake. This is actually the sign at the bottom of the trail. According to my Green Trails Map, their trail is 3 miles long, with a 2000ft elevation change. What the map fails to convey is that this trail is almost entirely devoid of switchbacks, and seems to go almost straight down at times. It was extremely slow going, as the horses and mules had to pick their way down the trail. At times it seemed as though it it would never end.

But it did end, and after what seemed an eternity, we found ourselves on the East side of Echo Lake.

This wood had been dropped by helicopter a few days prior, and would be used by our group to rebuild the bridge in the next photo.

The bridge had collapsed, and was shaped like a "W". Despite this, the animals had little difficulty negotiating it.

Echo Lake appears through the trees.

The Greenwater River runs from the North into Echo Lake.
We walked the animals through the river to allow them to drink, bypassing this bridge, which would become christened as a Water Park the next day. Stay tuned...

We were up there two hours ago...

This tree is rather large, probably a good 3+ feet in diameter. The trail is rerouted to the left around the root ball.

Castle Mountain

It was still another two hours ride to Corral Pass. We arrived mid-afternoon, and found that about half the folks had already made it. Corral Pass is not a horse camp, and the road up is a bit shaky for horse trailers. As a result, most of the people had parked their rigs at the Greenwater Lakes Trailhead, which is a 12 mile ride to the North.

To facilitate our work, the USFS had made the campground at Corral Pass available for our use. I'm sure that the presence of our group of ruffians with their horse and mules caught the Suburu and Birkenstock campers off guard. However, the more gregarious personalities in our party went to great lengths to invite said campers to our cook tent and campfire, for to establish goodwill, and make said campers aware of our purpose or being there.

Work assignments were handed out that evening, and I think camp was dead silent by 9pm.


Andy said...

Dave, I really appreciate you sharing this trip with us. I'm glad you chronicled it, so that I could kinda' live it with ya'.

I've never done anything like that, but after reading about your great adventure, I think I might like to one day.

Pal, the photos are just breathtaking. Man, I miss the West sometimes.

Thanks again, man!

Buck said...

Verrah nice, yet again.

"Subaru and Birkenstock campers." Heh. You know those Subaru camper/drivers have a parade after each weekend outing, right? I've seen it on teevee. Too many times, actually.

Laura said...

Absolutely beautiful. I am so jealous.

alison said...

Lovely. Im jealous too.