Hey Portland to Seattle area folks. My name is Isaac. I live in Olympia, WA. I have 7 years of raft guiding experience in Idaho on rivers class II-!V+ including the Lochsa, Middle Fork of the Salmon and many others. I have some class II-III kayak experience, and some class II-IV duckie (inflatable kayak) experience. I can read water very well, and have travelled many small technical, as well as large, high volume canyon rivers. I have lots of backpacking experience throughout parts of WA, ID, MT, AK, including 6+ day longer trips and non technical peak climbing. I have a Wilderness First Responder certification and skills, and a Whitewater Rescue Tech I certification. I have limited packrafting experience. I just recently got my raft this July, however at this point I feel very comfortable in class II, confident in much class III, and have a goal of working up to class IV in the packraft hopefully by this fall. I am getting a late start in the packraft this year because I have been working but my schedule is about to open up in a few weeks. I am interested in trips in WA, ID, MT, OR in August and September, and WA and OR in the fall.
I have a few seemingly great trips in mind...although I dont have all the beta for each one. Looking into them via guidebooks and ranger conversations. At the top of my list....(dates slightly negotiable)
(8/5 -- 8/9) North Cascades Glacier Peak Wilderness, WA. Start at North Fork Sauk river. Hike up to Bingley Gap and walk on 6000ft Lost Ridge trail (supposed to be spectacular with meadows and mts) to the Pacific Crest Trail junction. Bingley Gap to PCT is about 14 miles. Walk PCT around the West and North portions of Glacier Peak, and head north to meet the Suiattle River trail. PCT section approximately 15 miles. From the junction of PCT and Suiattle River trail, put in packrafts on the Suiattle River. Float 8 miles of roadless wilderness river to the closed Sulphur creek campground. From this point the Suiattle River road is present near the river, but is closed to traffic for 12 or so miles (although there may be some road construction at some point this summer.) Float until the road opens up to cars again. Here, either have a car shuttle waiting on Suiattle River rd or continue the float all the way to the Sauk river. From the Sauk it would be an easy short hitchhike to Darrington where I have a friend who would shuttle us back to our cars at the North Fork Sauk. River miles from PCT to Sauk river confluence is crudely estimated at 30 miles. Two day float all the way to the Sauk, one day float to a car shuttle.
*Anybody's personal experience information about this river or hike would be much appriciated*
I have been told by friends who are Sauk River outfitters that the Suiattle from Sulphur Creek campground (the very end of riverside road) to the Sauk is mellow, epicly beautiful class II, with some wood in river, but definetly boatable. From Sulphur creek to PCT i currently have no info, although I am thinking about a seperate 2 day 1 night pre trip scouting mission that bikes 12 miles to Sulphur Creek, Hikes 8 miles along river to PCT, and floats out. To check the river mostly before setting out on the 30 mile hike in. Or, skip the scout trip, float from PCT to Sulphur Creek sight unseen with the possibility (although I think unlikely) that the river is gnar with wood and we end up walking 8 miles to Sulphur Creek, then float out.
This is one Idea for us WA, OR based folks, or anyone else interested in exploring this beautiful area. I have other ideas if anyone is interested in linking up. How about a non-hike-in but self supported with some layover day-hiking Klickitat River trip this August? Talk here, or email me at HarmsonI@gmail.com. Thanks for reading, be well people.