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Top of Little Harrison Trail #217 Hike #418

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Top of Little Harrison Trail #217 Hike #418


Labor Day 

Sep 5, 2011…Harrison Lake trail to top of Little Harrison…Tr #217…hike # 418           

For so many, Labor Day weekend is the end of hiking season…what is wrong with these people anyway? Temps were supposed to be high but we were headed for cooler high elevations, choosing to go to Little Harrison Lake via the Harrison Lake trail. Six rigs were at the trailhead and we met so many coming down as we hiked up, after overnighting at one of our favorite lakes. We chatted briefly with each of the parties. We wore our orange vests on the packs today...wolf hunting season began this weekend.

Just before the lake, we bushwhacked off trail down thru the unruly rhododendron and alder, bushwhacking our way to the creek. We have crossing the creek and up thru the steep boulders down to a science by now, having done it so many times. As we crossed over the granite, I looked back and saw more people headed up the trail in the distance and I hoped they weren’t headed our way. We found just a handful of huckleberries…they are still mostly tiny and green. It could be another month before purple fingers and tongues.

As we picked our way up the steep granite, and thru the brush, Jim took GPS markers of waypoints. Hopefully this will help us get back the right way, which we never seem to do. We always get lost and it always frustrates me because after this long strenuous hike, we’re tired and I just want to get back to the main trail. And the last thing I want to do is bushwhack thru heavy brush. We kept plugging along today, trying to find a shorter route to the little jewel of a lake but were not really able to find one. It was getting late and we now thought that we would not be able to get down to the lake but felt okay that we would at least get to the top of the ridge and look down on the it. We try to use 2:00 as our turnaround time. As we climbed higher, I looked back under the ridge behind us and to my surprise was able to spot the plane crash wreckage over in the boulders. Finally we got to the boulders above the lake and it was as stunning as ever. Didn’t look like anyone was down there; we could see ice still evident around the edge of the lake. Took our packs off, took pics, sat down and ate our lunch as we took in the excellent views.

Time to head back, and again we thought about a shorter route back but didn’t know what we would run into, so pretty much stuck to the usual way. Several times we ventured off track but thanks to the GPS readings AND Jim now knowing how to decipher them, we were saved a couple of time from getting off track. It worked perfectly. As we went thru the meadow areas under the ridge, we began to hear voices and after looking up, spotted about 5 people high up on the rocky ridge. I zoomed in and took a shot.

Finally back to the boulder and creek crossing, and up thru the thick alder, and back on the trail down. It was now 3:30 and got back to the truck in an hour. We were the only rig left.

Left home                    8:30

Got to T.H.                  9:30

Started up                   9:35

Top of Lit Harrison      1:10

Left lake                     1:50

Started down trail        3:30               

Got to truck                 4:25    

Total miles hiked          11 miles

Total hiking time           6 hours, 25 minutes


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Author info

Betsy Fulling Betsy Fulling In 2002, after a bout with cancer and wanting her energy back, Betsy Fulling began hiking with her husband Jim. Regardless of the weather they go into the high country every week - in eight years, she has only missed five times.

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hiking, Harrison lake, hike #418, Little Harrison, plane crash, Monk's Hood

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