Sunday, March 01, 2015

A pristine day in the Cascades - March 1, 2015

We decided to head out past Detroit Lake and up into the Breitenbush area.  In all over our adventures over the years we had yet to explore any of the roads out here.  We really had no agenda, so we just picked the first road we came upon, which turned out to be the road to Elk Lake (NF-4697).  While what we saw out here was worth the drive...I wouldn't recommend it if you don't have a 4WD with good tires.  A good majority of the "road" feels a lot like a stream bed.

Here's our trek:  KMZ file

We stopped for lunch on the east side of Elk Lake.  
The headwall of the glacial valley we are in is behind me.
Photo by Gary Miller, Jr.

Wiley enjoying the sun while we ate lunch.  
Each trip gets harder and harder for his back legs, but he loves it every time we head out.  
Photo by Gary Miller, Jr.

Of all our Danes he's been the most enthusiastic of our adventures, 
even though he's the"handicapped" one.


Gorgeous view and day!  If you check out the map with Google Maps in terrain view it's easy to see that Elk Lake sits in a glacial valley.  In this panorama you can see the headwall.  
Elk Lake in the foreground.  
Photo by Gary Miller, Jr.

It's interesting to note that the surrounding valleys display a lot more fluvial erosion.  My initial thought as to why is that the water is mainly moving underground except during high rain events.  There was a lot of evidence of springs and seeps along the drive.  The rocks, fractured volcanics, which are overlain by glacial drift in the valley itself.
Photo by Gary Miller, Jr.

After lunch we drove to the west side of Elk Lake and explored the campsites.  
There is a nice big horse camp out there, though it was empty at this time of year.


On the way back out we stopped at Dunlap Lake, and the weather was so pleasant (~40F) that we decided to hike around it.  There isn't actually a trail but the amount of "bushwhacking" is minimal.  There must be enough snow here normally to keep the vegetation fairly sparse.  The lake is smaller than it looks, so it didn't take us too long to traverse it's perimeter.
Photo by Gary Miller, Jr.

There are primitive campsites here and we decided this would be 
the time of year to camp out here.  

It was truly pristine...the geology...the water...the air...the day.