Chiwaukum Creek (Jun 3, 2012)

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chiwaukum_creek_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Winton
Area: Wenatchee
Reference: 100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes
Stats: 10mi, 1760' gain (round trip)

Chiwaukum Creek...I've had this trip on my mind for a while. Last time (only other time) I hiked this trail was June of 2009 with Kirsten James and we were both pretty hobbled. This go around we met early and got up and over the pass with little traffic. Pulling off at Chiwaukum Creek Rd and into the TH lot we found a few cars...maybe 6. The it was a decision about how much to wear, the weather was clear but unseasonably cool. We figured to go light.

The first 1.25 is a walk of a gate road just to get to the TH. Sure, it's a pain but the blooming balsam root and lewisia tweedii make it worthwhile. After the TH it's nice. Nice soft trail (compared to the hardpacked road) and lots of flowers out. Both Kirsten and I were continually dumbstruck by the sheer number of calypso orchids blooming. Not a few, not dozen, not hundreds...but thousands. Singles, twins, clusters, cluster flocks...

The trail is nice and gradual. We hiked in about 5 miles, about 1/2 mile shy of where the trail drops and crosses Chiwaukum Creek. It was clouding over, getting a bit chilly and after a short lunch break, we called it a day and hiked back out.

The creek was roaring. Unbelievable how fast the water was moving and how much water there was IN the creek.

I always wonder about trails like this. It feels lost or forgotten. We say 10-12 people over the course of the day but for such a nice hike, it should be visited more. Maybe the road walk puts people off?

Several (many) logs/trees down across the trail. Only one was a pain to scoot under. Most were easy to walk around or step over. No snow on the trail on the part we hiked.
Chiwaukum Creek Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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