North Cascades Wild Recon 2010

Summer is officially here, despite the gloomu weather’s persistence otherwise, and North Cascades Wild is near.  With training and packing behind us, this summer’s crew leaders embarked upon our recon trip giving us a taste of what adventures the future holds.

We set out Monday with the help of the Cascade Climate Challenge folks and a few happy NCI employees. Loaded down, we paddled all the gear and food – enough to feed one person for two years – to the base of Ross Dam.  After walking our canoes up the emerging replacement road we settled down for a snack while waiting for our friends at Ross Lake Resort to portage and taxi us up to Ross Lake.  Once our food was stored and tucked away we headed off in the direction of Big Beaver campground.  With help from the wind we made excellent time and arrived at camp for Gallo Pinto – a traditional Costa Rican meal – and our evening meeting before dusk.

Day two was a traveling day.  We broke down camp and explored before our day’s journey began.  Our destination was McMillan campground across the lake. With a few planned detours we bumped our way down the east side of Ross.  May Creek – named after prospector-settler John McMillan’s little girl – provided us with a respite and moment of peace.  The next stop was Spencer Island – whose namesake was only just recently discovered – where we ate lunch and played games.   We made camp just after lunch and promptly began to learn and practice knots on our tarp shelter. Our night ended with a cozy campfire discussion of Wilderness and all its implications.

Our last full day out in the field was a relaxing and enjoyable one.  Early in the day Carmen Welch – a graduate student working for the park – stopped by to chat with us about the Red Sided Shiner population flux and how NC Wild students can help park monitoring this summer.  Later in the day we set to off explore the area and found ourselves a sunny knoll where we had a heated debate about Wilderness.  Some of the questions included whether the park should build bridges across streams along popular trails in Wilderness and whether we would bring cell phones out into the Wilderness for emergency use if we knew we would have coverage?  The evening concluded with Kevin annihilating us at not one but two games of Farkle and Pigs.

We had an early start the next morning in order to make it to an interesting and educational seminar held by North Cascades National Park at the Visitors Center in Newhalem that afternoon.  The headwind was strong that morning but we battled it diligently and made good time arriving at the VC half an hour early.  With the recon over and a few details to sort out we all headed home with a stronger knowledge base and a growing sense of anticipation as we approach our first North Cascades Wild trip.

Stay tuned for further posts about North Cascades Wild!

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