Monday, August 16, 2010

Mac Potholes 8.16.10

I had hoped to get an early start to both avoid the heat and also enable a summit of Mac Peak. I had to be back early due to family plans. I wasn't able to get out the door as fast as I might have liked putting the day's goal in jeporady. I was happy to turn on the much improved Tonga Ridge Road making for some quick driving. I was becoming very sleepy and I had to pull over and take a power nap. I still am not sure how long I slept but I did feel much better. I parked at the Deception Creek cutoff and packed up. I descended quickly to the crossing of Fisher Creek. There are some nice campsites that are located at the Fisher/Deception confluence. The trail winds for a short ways before it crosses Deception Creek. Then it meanders through some wonderful old growth making for a most pleasant walk. Soon I reached the junction with the spur that connects with the PCT above. After reaching the junction with the PCT I merely stepped over the trail and continued East. The going is open and I shortly reached a boulder filled area that I followed for a short ways before crossing and climbing the subtle ridge above. The short steep section was rewarded with easy going. I saw a small pothole below me so I dropped to it to give the thirsty dogs some water. The

pothole was mostly dry but held enough water to quench the dogs. From the pothole I was faced with some cliffbands which I found an easy route through but I wasn't sure the dogs could make a couple of the steps so I traversed a short ways to the South and found easier going. Once atop the cliff bands I found a very distinct bootpath that climbed from the North and started East. I gladly followed this path to another pothole that had very little water remaining. Again the dogs drank their fill. I was growing concerned with the beagle overheating. Watching him submerge himself in the water was humorous but the fact that he didn't look like he wanted to continue was unsettling. The route now was right in front of me. All I needed to do was to climb the mellow heather to a boulderfield that would allow easy access to Mac Peak's SW ridge. From there it looked to be clear sailing. With the morning filled with delays I had used up my allotted time. While the bugs had been a nuisance the entire morning they were even worse hastening my retreat. Every time I have been to the Deception Lakes area I have been treated with horrific bugs. I followed the boot track back and continued North to reach the isthmus between the lower and middle lakes. I easily made it back to the PCT and put into cruise control. The climb back from the valley floor to the car while was dreaded went quickly. While the day's goal went unmet I had another great day out.

Approx 9 miles 3200' of climb 5:20 car to car

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