Friday, July 14, 2017

Blanca Lake and Elaho Wanderings - July 8/9

The ski bug got the better of me when I convinced Pete to carry our skis up to Blanca Lake in the Elaho valley. There was a post on FB about nice turns but that it took 1.5 h carrying skis to get there was not mentioned. I was quite excited after skiing Seymour a couple of days ago but generally we are not that excited about walking with the skis on our backs. Oh well, first time for us in a beautiful area worth visiting again in fall with all the colors.

I hadn’t been up the Elaho valley in many years so we went on an exploratory mission all the way to the end of the logging road.

The area around the last (north) 30km of the Elaho FSR (Elaho Main) have been heavily effected by the big wildfire in 2015. While large parts of the forest along the road and far up the slopes are scorched the fire stopped short of the Stoltman Wilderness/Upper Elaho Valley Conservancy … except for Lava Camp and the Elaho Giant (which is actually surrounded by clear cuts). Douglas Fir Loop with all its big trees is untouched. There are some signs (many fell off) and an obvious trail to Lava camp and Cessna Creek and a rather faint loop trail.

We didn’t explore far but from what I found online the bridges across Cessna and Marlow Creeks are still out so the Elaho-Meager traverse is not feasible at the moment. On our way back we found another washed-out bridge at Peach Creek at the start of G-main, the FSR west of the Elaho River – cutting off access to Sims creek and Mt. John Clark/Sun Peak. Two hikes I had on my to do list - too late now. Maybe eventually the bridges will be repaired.