August, 2012 chemists in the winds backpacking trip, reported by Mary Ann White

Big Sandy Trailhead

Base camp Rapid Lake

Day 1:  hiked from trailhead to Rapid Lake--7 miles.  Started at 10:30 AM (Jack and Peg started at 7:30).  Hike to Big Sandy Lake was easy.  Hike up drainage to Rapid Lake was tough.  It was very steep, with no switchbacks.  Stopped for lunch about halfway up the drainage to Rapid Lake at about 2:30 PM.  No one was camped at the lake when we arrived as far as we could tell.  It was sunny and very windy.  Ate dinner and went to bed early because of the wind.

Day 2:  Hiked up the valley to Miller and then Temple Lake.  Boulder-hopped up to Temple Pass.  Came partway down, and cut over to Deep Lake and then Clear Lake.  Boy Scouts were camped at Clear Lake.  We were checking out the wind at Clear Lake to see if it was calmer.  We had thought about moving if it was calm at Clear Lake, but decided it was not significantly calmer.  To return to camp, we hiked cross-country over a ridge to get back to Rapid Lake.  Total mileage was about 7 miles.  We moved our tents to more sheltered areas to try to avoid the wind.  Late in the day, the wind died down and it was calm.

Day 3:  It was calm all day on day 3.  The front must have passed through.  Started cross-country back over to Clear lake.  Saw the Boy Scouts depart.  Hiked cross-country over to Black Joe Lake and met up with Jack and Peg.  Heather joined them for their hike back to camp.  We boulder-hopped on the rocks along the shore of the lake to get a better look down the length of the lake.  We then took the trail from Black Joe lake back down to Big Sandy Lake, and started up the trail to Jackass Pass.  We went as far as North Lake and had lunch there.  Then returned to Big Sandy Lake and back up the steep drainage to Rapid lake.  Without packs, it took 15-20 min. to go up the drainage.  Total mileage was about 7 miles.  It was much more pleasant sitting around camp because of the lack of wind.

Day 4:  Hiked back to the trailhead.  Left about 8:40 AM, arrived at the cars about noon.

No rain and very few mosquitos during this trip.  No fires allowed because of the dry conditions.


Peter, Lee Ann, Heather, and Matt at the Big Sandy trailhead looking ready to hit the trail.

Matt and Peter making sure they are on the right trail.

Heather and Lee Ann at Big Sandy Lk at the 5.5 mile mark just before the trail becomes steep leading up to Rapid Lk.


Finally, after a very steep trail the last 1.5 miles, we made it to Rapid Lk where we camped


Matt and Peter at our base camp looking happy and tired.

Another view of our base camp area with Heather and Lee Ann near their tent.

Jack and Mary Ann near base camp

The view from base camp looking south toward Temple Pk and Temple pass in the far distance


Jack, Peter, and Matt planning about how to hang the food in the trees. Matt and Peter have their rope in good shape, but Jack is struggling to attach his to a rock.

Peg, Lee Ann, and Jack preparing dinner the first night (spaghetti, as usual) and discussing whose outfit is the most fashionable.


The second morning, we set off on a hike toward Temple pass. East Temple Pk is in the distance near the middle of the photo.

Jack, Peter, and Matt looking at Temple Pk and Temple Lk with Temple pass in the middle left.

Heather sitting near Temple Lk.

Heather, Matt, and Peter on the way up Temple Pass hiding from the wind.

The view from Temple Pass looking south (not into the drainage from which we came).

Heather on Temple Pass taking a photo

Heading back down off the pass with Temple and Miller Lks in the background. In the far background is the basin containing Big Sandy Lk.

Heather on the way down off the pass being careful.

Matt and Heather approaching Deep Lk on they way down to Clear Lk. In the distance is the southwest wall of Haystack Pk.

The wildflowers were very nice this year. This view is on the way to Deep Lk.

Peter, Matt, and Heather on the granite slabs between Deep Lk and Clear Lk.

The north west side of Haystack Pk  between Deep and Clear Lks.


On the shore of Clear Lk, Peter, Jack, and Matt planning the route to return to base camp by hiking over a small pass between Clear Lk and Rapid Lk.

Looking back at Clear Lk from the pass connecting Clear and Rapid Lks.

Back at our Rapid Lk camp area and ready for some relaxation and then a fine dinner.


The third day, we ascended the pass connecting Rapid Lk to Clear Lk. Here, we are looking down on Clear Lk.

Peter, Matt, and Heather planning the descent to Clear Lk. After reaching the shore of Clear Lk, we hiked up and over the hill in the distance to reach Black Joe Lk.


Black Joe Lk.


Peg and Jack at Black Joe Lk.


Matt sitting on the shore of Black Joe Lk.


After Black Joe Lk, Peg, Heather and Jack returned to camp, but Peter, Mary Ann and Matt went down to Big Sandy Lk (above) and part way up Jackass pass.


Peter and Matt at North Lk on the Jackass pass trail.

Matt and Mary Ann at North Lk.

After this, Peter, Mary Ann, and Matt returned to base camp by way of  Big Sandy Lk and the Rapid Lk trail.



Near Big Sandy Lk on the way back to base camp.

Lee Ann on the hike out to the trailhead on the fourth day.


Peter and Matt on the hike out.


Mary Ann on the hike out in a beautiful stand of fireweed


Peter near Big Sandy Lk calling for moose or elk

Heather, Matt, Lee Ann, and Peter back at the trailhead relaxing. Another chemists in the Winds trip in the record book.