Lost Creek Ridge & discovering Darrington has a brewery

For the BC Day August long weekend we once again headed south to the Cascades. The destination Glacier Peak Wilderness via Lost Creek Ridge.

We left Vancouver at 6:30 and sailed through the border (Nexus ?). It was about 3 1/4 h from home to the trailhead with the only slow progress when hitting the potholed gravel road (mountain loop highway) from Darrington to the trailhead.

We planned to spend two nights up at Camp Lake, 16 km from the trailhead. While typically written up as a one night trip, we thought we could explore the area around Camp and Byrne Lakes on an easy rest day.

As we drove towards Darrington we could see the weather changing – it was very still and wildfire haze was developing. By the time we reached the trailhead we could smell smoke – the first bad air day of the year for us – which is amazing. Later we learned it was from a fire at Sourdough Mountain that we climbed two weeks ago, plus other fires to the south.

The trail up to the ridge was as expected – nice forest and 6km of switchbacks – about 1000 m elevation gain. We knew the ridge was undulating, but it’s quite a beast of a trail. It was great, but definitely challenging. Good views of Sloan Peak and Glacier Peak despite the haze. We passed only one other couple heading to Camp/Byrne Lake and they did not make it! We had the lake to ourselves, apart from the mosquitoes and black fly that were waiting for us.

We haven’t backpacked for almost two years, and here an amateur error emerged. Our gravity water filter was not working. We didn’t have our usual backup purification tabs. This meant lots of boiling water and definitely not enough fuel for two nights. With the mosquitoes and haze we reconciled it was fine to make this a one night trip and to stay our second night at the campground in Darrington.

On Sunday morning we made breakfast and more water before a quick jaunt over to Byrne Lake. It was much clearer with great views of Glacier Peak. On the return rollercoaster along the ridge, we could now see Mount Baker to the north and much further east and west. We saw a bear as we skirted Hardtack Lake – it ran off into the trees.

We dropped down easily on the smooth switchbacks. When we came into Darrington we checked out the brewery we’d seen on the way to the trailhead. River Time Brewing – a really great low key place with good beer and food (especially after hiking). We headed over to the Squire Creek campground in Darrington with a growler of IPA.

Good weekend! Check out our photos of Lost Creek Ridge!

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