I seem to make it up Dickerman
almost every year but this was my first summer trip with no snow in a decade.
I was at the trailhead by 8:30 and there were already 9 cars in the lot. I
passed 3 people in the first mile and then saw nobody else until I reached
the top. The trail is in excellent shape. No downed logs, no water, and no
mud. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of flowers along the trail.
I saw bunchberry, columbine, yellow violets, queens cup, and many others in
the forest. The last open switchbacks were in a sea of glacier lilies. There
were 3 or 4 snow patches in the last half mile but none were a problem. Gaiters
are no longer necessary. There were low clouds when I started which kept
it cool. They soon burned off but a cool breeze was blowing higher up. I
reached the summit in 2:15. There were a few clouds to the northwest but otherwise
the views were outstanding. Big 4, Vesper, Sperry, Morningstar, and Del Campo
still have a nice coating of snow on their north sides. Glacier Peak was
clear with plenty of snow. Three Fingers was mostly in the clear but Whitehorse
was in the clouds.
I was up early enough to spend a leisurely 2 hours on
the summit. Hikers arrived continuously but most didn't spend much time on
top. At 1:00 I started down when I heard a familiar voice calling me. It was
Jack Wallace whom I have run into 3 times already this year. I almost expect
to find him somewhere along the way. Jack and his friend were also heading
down and we hiked together. My only complaint is the crushed rock all the
way along the lower meadow. I will take a little mud over wooden steps and
hard crushed rock any day. This gives the trail all the wilderness feel of
Green Lake in Seattle. Oh well, much worse was to come.
After hiking down and saying goodbye to Jack I headed
over to the Big Four Ice Caves trail. It was too early to head home and the
ice caves are a natural refrigerator to help cool down. It had been half a
dozen years since I was last up there and boy has it changed. The trail used
to be a real forest trail with a little mud in places. Not any more. Now
it is gravel for the whole mile to the caves. Wooden side logs filled with
6+ inches of gravel. Boardwalks and bridges are the only break in the gravel.
It is as smooth as concrete and just as hard on my feet. The ice caves were
nice. I enjoyed the view of Big 4 and the cold breeze blowing out of the
caves. I also found the first blueberries of the season. They were even a
little sweet. I love the caves but the gravel has ruined the trail for me.
I doubt I'll bother coming back again.
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
Photo Page 2
Sperry & Vesper
Sperry & Vesper