Mt McCausland & Lk Valhalla (Sep 21, 2019)

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mt_mccausland_coverConditions: day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Labyrinth Mountain
Area: Stevens Pass, WA
Reference: Day Hiking Central Cascades
Stats: 7.57mi, 2183' gain (round trip)

Looks like were are getting an early Fall this year. I thought Mt McCausland would be a great trip because I knew the color would be fantastic. Why? My friend Alan had been up there a few days ago and upon seeing his photos...I was all in. I've only ever been up Mt McCausland when there is snow. It never occurred to me to do this trip on dirt. I have no idea why. I was missing so much and I never knew it.

We arrived at the Smithbrook Trailhead around 10am and it was full. Yikes. Cars were parked along the road already. It was so strange to drive this road because I've been up it so many times but always walked it when there was snow. We found a wide spot to parked, geared up, and started walking. The trail does some easy switchbacks as it climbs up to the PCT (about 1.4mi from the car). From here the PCT is great...wide...easier...scenic. We reached the junction with the "trail" up to Mt McCausland at about 2.9mi. The trail is easy to follow (not sure it's an official trail) to the top. Some sections are on the steep side but nothing too bad.

Lots and lots of color out. Lots of people too...LOTS. Somehow though the hoards of people had a way of dispersing. At the top Steve headed over to the summit register (looks like that is actually placed beyond the highpoint but at a better viewpoint). I backtracked to a flat spot overlooking Lake Valhalla and Mt Lichtenberg and enjoyed the views. Wow...stunning. Steve joined me shortly after that and we had a nice long lunch before heading down.

On the way down we decided to head down to Lk Valhalla. We got sidetracked while Steve once again tried to find some salamanders before we headed back up to the saddle above the lake and then the hike back down to the car.

What a wonderful day. Fall is here. It won't be long before this area is once again under a blanket of snow.
 
Mt McCausland & Lk Valhalla Slideshow

mt_mccausland_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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