Friday, July 14, 2017

Noisy Creek backpacking trip

We decided to hike to Noisy Creek for our first backpacking trip this summer. We planned on a three day/2 night trip. We had talked about hiking to camp at Elbow lake and then continuing up to camp at the Mazama horse camp. We changed our minds after speaking with the rangers at the Glacier station last Thursday on our way to hike the Horseshoe Bend trail, they said there still was snow at Mazama.
The night before, I had my packing nearly completed. We put a few more items in before we set out on the trail.

Noisy Creek is a trail we've done many times. Each time we've stopped at the campground I've wanted to camp there. So I was happy to set out on our way.

My husband on the Hidden Creek bridge.

Home away from home.

Setting up our tent. Here it is without the rain fly,

and with the rain fly.
The first night we slept with the rain fly on, then the second night we slept without the rain fly. Guess what fell on the tent the "no rain fly" morning. Luckily it was just a few drops.

Bear box for food storage.

Our beach. We found out that the wind picks up every afternoon. You can see on our beach where the high water mark is. The wave action from the winds brought the water up quite a bit.

Here's a video I took while strolling to the outdoor toilet. It's a nice little trail.
https://youtu.be/6mH4ThoWwBY

Our camp view. Interesting back view of Shuksan in the distance across Baker lake.

The second day we did some day hikes. The first was to the Silver Creek campground. We wanted to check it out for future backpacking use.
Me on the Noisy Creek bridge.

My husband standing on the Silver Creek bridge.

Silver Creek video
https://youtu.be/wRVK2yqUq4w

The Silver creek campground has several sites. None of them are numbered, it had one communal picnic table and bear box.

The outdoor toilet for Silver Creek was beautiful and yes, I do like to critique outdoor toilets.

 One of my favorite shaped outhouses is the Sauk Mtn. one. Here's a photo of it from the Northwest Healthy Mama website. Apparently I've never taken a photo of this gem.

My favorite toilet seat handle is on the toilet at the Excelsior/Damfino lakes trailhead. It's a metal leaf attached to the lid.
Isn't it exquisite.

Anyway, back to this trip. We hiked as far as this bridge in the photo below past the Silver Creek camp. The trail leads to the Maple Grove camp about another 4 1/2 miles farther.

We turned around and looked for a place to eat our lunch. my husband had spotted an isolated point near Silver Creek that he thought might be a nice place to hang out for a bit. We bushwhacked our way down to it. It was lovely, complete with a view of Baker.

We hiked up the creek bed to the bridge on our return to the trail.
The trail between Noisy creek and Silver creek was very green and lush. The ferns were very tall in places.


My husband's afternoon swim back at our camp.

We decided to hike up the Noisy Creek trail to the large Douglas fir tree. I'd never seen it yet on any of my other hikes to Noisy Creek. I'd attempted to find it on another hike but as we found out on this hike, I'd turned around just a corner before I would have seen it. Murphy's law strikes again. Anyway, we found it on this hike. As you can see on the sign post below, the arrows point a few different ways to Noisy creek. One for the camp, one points up the hill towards the "tall tree" Douglas fir tree and beyond to the upper section of  Noisy creek, and another one for the Noisy creek trail that goes along the lake aka the East bank trail. "In 1998 the northern extension was complete. The completed trail allows a one-way shuttle hike of about 14 miles between the East Bank and Baker River trailheads". ("*" Information from the Pacific Northwest Hiking book aka The Hiker's Bible by Ron C. Judd and Dan A. Nelson)

It was a little steep to the tree, we found it after about a half mile of hiking from our camp site. Our gain according to my Garmin was around 250 feet.
The famous "tall tree" Douglas fir.

Another one along the trail.

The real gain in elevation is after the famous "big tree". We decided to continue on up. We'd heard that the trail continues quite a bit higher and where the trail used to cross Noisy Creek. Supposedly this crossing had been abandoned because the bridges kept washing out. We hiked 1 1/2 miles to the point of the photo below.  We could see where the trail would continue to the rocky shore of the creek, but we chose to stop here and turn around. Our elevation gain for the total distance from our camp was 968 feet. I definitely had to hike with my Mountain goat feet. It got pretty steep in places.

Noisy Creek video
https://youtu.be/C4JZMvlLhlQ

The forest we had hiked through was an old growth forest. It seemed to me we were walking on hallowed ground. It was a place I will cherish in my memories.

There is a little knoll just near our campsite where we could sit and look at Mount Baker. I captured this photo of it just after sundown.

We hiked out on our third day.
Me on the Hidden Creek bridge.

Our first backpacking trip of the year couldn't have been better.

Garmin stats:
The hike in -
total miles: 5.31 miles
total ascent: 577 feet

Day hike to Silver Creek from the Noisy Creek camp -
total miles: 3.8 miles
total ascent: 482 feet

Day hike to the "tall tree" and Noisy Creek -
total miles: 3 miles
total ascent : 968 feet

The hike out -
total miles: 5.3