Day Seventyone

Chilkoot Trail-Sheep Camp to Chillkoot Trail-Happy Camp
August 4th, 2009

High Point of the Day....
Low Point of the Day......
Chilkoot Pass
Getting up at 4:00 AM
Miles Traveled Today
Total Miles Traveled
The Bus Playlist
7.5 on foot
Sunny, hazy from wildfires in the morning
Price of Gas 
(average per gallon)
Night's Lodging
Where this Page was Uploaded
Ptarmigan, big squirrels, something that was little and brown with black stripes
Our tent in Happy Camp
Anchorage, AK

Daily Didactic
Brian contends that alarm clocks in tents are a sign that something has gone terribly wrong with a backpacking trip. In spite of this contention we all crawled out of our respective tents at a little after 4:00, packed our gear, ate an extra ration of Power Bars and trail mix and hit the trail by 5:00. The elevation profile of the first three or four miles of today's hike looks like a ski jump. The first mile or so is a steady climb up out of the trees and then above tree line. It is ruggedly scenic, with hanging glaciers and huge boulder fields. The trail makes it's way along the edge of the boulder fields and crosses the headwaters of the Taiya River, now just a stream, just below "The Scales". The Scales were where the company's that built trams to haul prospectors goods over the pass weighed the loads. The guys in line in the photos couldn't afford the trams and were carrying their gear on their backs. The Scales is the last plateau before you head up the boulder chute that was beneath the snowy Golden Stairs. It's not a terribly technical climb, but it is steep and there is plenty of opportunity to kick loose a big rock or have one kicked free above you. We worked our way up the Golden Stairs in a long half hour or so, which then offers up two false summits just to let you know who's in charge. About an hour from the Scales we hit the summit and were greeted (as we have been every time we have crossed it) with an incredible sunny Canadian vista. The border crossing is at the summit, but the Canadians are pretty relaxed about this border. Presumably backpacking terrorists are not a huge national concern.

We stopped at the warming hut for a break, wandered over and checked out the view of Crater Lake, and then began working our way down the second half of the day's hike, the gradual descent to the aptly named Happy Camp. This is probably the prettiest part of the whole trail and wanders over snow fields, past crystal clear snow melt ponds, across alpine meadows and eventually comes to an end at the nicely located Happy Camp. We pitched tents, ate the best lunch ever, took various levels of a dip in the shallow river in front of the campground, and eventually read and napped on the island in the middle of the streamish river. We watched other hikers come in over the course of the day, all pretty exhausted and very pleased with the day's accomplishment.

After dinner we had another shot at Travel Yahtzee before calling it a long and impressive day.

Daily Pictures (Slide Show)

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Four in the morning, so early we forgot the morning shot The breakfast crowd hadn't quite formed yet
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Excellent... Theresa and Cori clearing bears for the boys
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The first boulder field of the day, there will be more Crossing the headwaters of Taiya River, close to the Scales
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A large glacier down valley from the Scales Artifacts. Those are horse bones, there are a lot of them
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Looking toward the pass from the Scales Looking down the valley from the Scales
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Shoes, there are a lot of them about The rock chute on the left is the start of the Golden Stairs. It's steeper than it looks
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This steep Todd and Cori navigating the start of the Golden Stairs
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Brian and Theresa, navigating their own way At the first false summit, some tram artifact
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Just past the second false summit The actual summit, we agree with Todd and Cori
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The summit warming house The summit outhouse
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Canada, it's mighty pretty. That's Crater Lake in front of us The trick is stopping before you hit the lake
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Flowery stove door A Ptarmigan mom, there were five chicks around
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A beautiful meadow stretch on the way to Happy Camp The top in no way toppled off right after this picture
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Clear snowmelt alpine pond One last snow patch
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The falls before Happy Camp An afternoon laying on the island below happy camp
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This water eventually ends up in the Yukon Travel Yahtzee. Brian is intrigued that Yahtzee turns out to be poker with dice

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