High Divide, Pk 5930, Excelsior Pk (Aug 23, 2020)

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high_divide_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Bearpaw Mountain
Area: Mt Baker
Reference: Day Hiking North Cascades
Stats: 9.04mi, 2575' gain (round trip)

The road to Damfino Lakes was impassible last year. I heard it was repaired...that's being kind. That road sux. Lots of big potholes. Brush encroaching from the side will scrape your car. With the difficulties, the 4Runner did just fine. I forgot how long a drive that is up to the trailhead, it seemed longer with all the giant holes in the road. Please people...slow down on one way roads. Make not of where the last pullout was. If you are heading uphill and encounter a vehicle coming downhill...it's much easier for YOU to backup downhill than it is for me to do that uphill.

I heard the bugs (biting black flies) were bad. They weren't today. Some mozies and some flies but nothing bad enough to necessitate getting the bug dope out.

The trailhead (4258') isn't the that big so I got there early. It was nearly full when I arrived, cars spilled down the road when I got back to my car later in the day.

Trail is a short walk to Damfino Lakes (0.88mi, 4463'). From there it is a slow climb up to Excelsior Pass. There is a junction for the High Divide trail right at the pass. I followed this instead of heading up to Excelsior Pk. The High Divide trail is a gorgeous ridge top and ridge side meandering trail.  I reached the far side of Excelsior Pk (3.09mi, 5445') and did some side wandering before returning to the spot and continuing along the High Divide trail.

My goal today was a new bump along the ridge (Pk 5930). I reached the top and dropped my pack to catch a quick lunch and was promptly stung by a bee. Ugh. Lots of flowers still out but this time of year it is mainly lupine and valerian. After lunch I returned to the junction at the far side of Excelsior Pk and only seeing two people at the top figured I might head up there. By the time I hit the top there were 8-10 people milling about and not everyone was wearing a mask. So I quickly just walked over the top and continued down the other side.

Back at Excelsior Pass I took a short break and then continued back down to the car.

I can't say it enough...the road to the Damfino Lks trailhead is rough. Don't try it in a low clearance car. Be prepared to go slow and get your car scratched.
High Divide Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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