Jefferson Park

September 11-13, 1998

Another successful backpack to Jeff Park. The days and nights were warm. Very few wildflowers, no water in the tarns and Sprague Lake was water only (last year it was totally covered with an 8-ft. high snow pack!) With eight in the group, we were spread from Scout to Bays Lake, but this presented no problems. On Saturday we hiked the PCNST to where it crosses Park Ridge and enjoyed lunch with views of Hood, St. Helens and Rainier. Art and Dan decided to “summit” Park Ridge by following the ridge line. Everyone else bushwhacked down to Sprague Lake then onto the Crest Trail, where Art and Dan joined us. Later that afternoon, while some of us rested and/or swam, Don had occasion to spend 45 minutes observing a sow and very young, very playful cub — from a respectful distance. He had been exploring a stream at the base of the mountain on the north side. Art decided to walk up this stream, and finally turned around at the 9200-ft. level. Some walk! Sunday morning we walked around Bays Lake, dropping down to the South Breitenbush River. While bushwhacking, several elected to cross on a small log. After announcing to one and all that she had a good balance, Chris proceeded to cross — only to land in the creek with a screech that could be heard around the park. In good spirits, she “squished” her way back to camp. Our thanks to drafted assistant leader Art for showing the way to the spring (and bringing again this year his wonderful tomatoes). My grand-daughter and her husband joined us on their first ever backpack: they did great and are now sore and astounded at what they accomplished. Our group was wonderful: funny, friendly; helpful. Our thanks to non-members Don Ladigin and Mike & Nichole Towle; and Obsidians Lynette Boone, Dan Bates and Art Skach for a great weekend. Barb Elsen: you were missed! Co-leaders Chris Campbell (Kennedy) & Sharon Ritchie.

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