John Guilford's Hikes
Gothic Basin on 1994-08-28
People: (including myself): Pam
My Alt. Real Alt.
Barlow Pass: 1:00 2100 2320
Trailhead: 1:30 2080 2320
K. K.'s Shower: 3:30 3740 4200?
Basin: 4:30 4640 5000
Foggy Lake: 5:30 4960 5250
Leave Basin: 6:00 4640
K. K.'s Shower: 6:50 3820
Trailhead: 8:30 2180
Barlow Pass: 9:00 2220
Due to my rowing class in the morning, we got a late start on this hike.
The day was warm and sunny with a few high clouds. It had been forecast to
be cooler with morning showers, but they were wrong. We ended up doing a
surprising amount of sweating on the way up the trail.
The bugs weren't too bad. We had a couple of bees that buzzed around us on
our walk down the road towards Monte Cristo. They were attracted by the
sunscreen I was putting on as I hiked. Eventually they left us alone.
There were some annoying flies (small biting ones) on the first part of the
hike. They weren't bothering me (which was a surprise to me) but were
annoying Pam on her legs. She had shorts on, while I had my long, green
nylon pants on. I generally prefer long pants both for brush and for bugs.
Pam opted against insect repellent and higher up the trail the bugs
disappeared. They had gone before we came back down, so they weren't a
Barlow pass was *real* crowded with cars. The parking lot was full and
cars were parked on the roadway for a ways down the road. I guess a lot of
people were trying to get a last fling on the summer before Labor Day. We
hiked in to the trailhead immediately before the first bridge without
incident (except for those pesky bees). They are working on replacing the
bridge, it looks like. They had a couple large metal I-beams laid out and
a welder was working away on it. Perhaps the reason is that the old bridge
is considered not safe to drive on and there was a notice that fording the
river in vehicles was destroying salmon spawning ground. There were quite
a few vehicles parked at the river, including a horse trailer.
We started up the Weden Creek trail (west bank trail) with follows the
river for a ways. This was muddy in places, but not bad. I was surprised
that it was a muddy as it was with all the dryness we've had this summer.
After a ways, the trail turns right and starts up the hillside. I keep
forgetting how much uphill there is on this trail. Despite my comments on
earlier trip listings, I seem to have a mental image that this hike is
relatively flat, which is isn't. It is pretty consistently uphill most of
the way to the basin.
Pam was having trouble with her toe joints and had brought her sneakers
along just in case. About half way up, she ended up switching into them as
her toes were just hurting too much in her boots. The shoe change helped
and allowed her to continue on to the basin (if she hadn't brought her
other shoes, she doesn't think she'd have been able to go all the way).
On the way up, Pam spotted some red huckleberries which she said tasted
really good (she said her sister Andi would be jealous). I didn't try them
(I have this thing about not eating bright red berries on hikes). Pam also
spotted some of the dark blue/black huckleberries, but they were quite sour
and tasted bad. Blech.
When you get about half or two-thirds the way up, you start getting better
views into the valley and the surrounding mountains. On the opposite side
of the valley, a large red colored rock face comes into view. Get used to
it. It is visible for the rest of the hike. In some ways, it deceptively
makes one feel that they aren't making progress, as, after hiking for some
time, the face is still there, apparently unmoved, though a closer look
reveals that the perspective (and hence your viewpoint) has indeed changed.
You cross a couple stream gorges in the side of the hill. I mistakenly
called one of these King Kong's shower. That feature doesn't occur until
later (the third and last creek). KK's shower is a water fall down the
steep rippled rock face (the water runs down the face - it isn't really a
waterfall) runs down and across the trail, and then continues down a steep
rock face into the valley. This time of year there wasn't a lot of water
running, but it was still quite pretty.
Somewhere around there one can begin to see views of Del Campo poking about
the ridge. At this point the trail is facing away from Del Campo, so you'd
have to turn around to see it. The trail continues, with some switchbacks,
around a small hill before turning and climbing up to a pass and into the
The basin is real pretty. Pam described it as 'pristine' meaning that it
didn't look as used as, for example, Lake 22. The basin does look wild and
unspoiled, probably due to the difficulty getting there. I really have to
plan to visit it sometime when I can get there early enough to be able to
spend some time exploring around the basin instead of having to leave soon.
When we first got to the basin, we stopped and rested and got some food,
which made Pam feel 'a million times better.' By this time her feet (toes)
were really sore and also her stomach was bothering her quite a bit. She
later theorized that the cause of the upset stomach was a banana she had
eaten earlier. Apparently, bananas don't go well with her anymore.
After resting for a while and eating, Pam put her boots back on and got
talked into ascending a bit higher to Foggy Lake. Being this close, she
wasn't going to let a little physical pain get in her way! Foggy Lake is
about 300' higher and almost fills the hollow below Del Campo. Even though
my official 'turn around' time was 5:00, we pushed it a little and didn't
leave until 5:30, soon after arriving at the lake. In order to get to the
lake, the 'trail' kind of turns back on itself (with respect to the trail
before the basin). Below Del Campo, on the right side of the upper basin,
is a low rounded pass that overlooks the trail. In early season, when
there is snow, ascending from the trail over the pass would be a quicker
way to get to Foggy Lake than following the real trail around and through
the lower basin. It's hard to say what it would be like this time of year.
We didn't have time trying to mess with a new route, but it looks like it
might make a quicker way out of the basin and back to the trail. Of
course, without trying it, one doesn't know if the brush would be bad or if
one would run into cliffs. Perhaps on my next trip, I can climb up to the
pass and look down and get a better feel. This is the pass that Jay and I
ascended to on our trip of 91-06-09.
After climbing back down to the lower basin we started our hike back out.
By this time, Pam wasn't in very good shape, with a very upset stomach.
Unfortunately, I didn't have any antacids in my first aid kit so I couldn't
help out. About half way down, she took some acetaminophen which really
helped out. She'll have to remember that for the future. We took our time
on the way out, but still made better time going down than we did going up.
We figured that as long as we got back to the road before it got really
dark we'd be okay. The lower part of the trail would be pretty miserable
in the dark, as there are numerous roots and rocks to step over. We had a
flashlight, but didn't want to have to need it. The moon was just about
last quarter, so it wouldn't rise until 11:30pm, so it would be pretty dark
in the early evening.
Pam's feet were hurting too much so she changed back into sneakers for the
bottom two thirds of the hike. This again helped, and the trail is good
enough that the sneakers didn't present much problem (except a little at
the mud at the bottom). When we were passing the creek gorges we found a
dog that had apparently lost its owners and was just going back and forth
along the trail looking for them (unsuccessfully). We felt bad for the dog
but there wasn't much we could do. Fortunately, a ways further down the
trail, we came across a couple coming back up looking for the dog. They
found it and then passed us going back down, which made us feel better.
It was getting dark as we went through the lower part of the trail, both
because it was after sunset (at 8pm) and because of overhanging trees which
blocked the existing light. The only incident was when Pam caught her foot
and fell. The caught herself with her hands and suffered no damage from it.
It was relatively dark when we got to the road, but we still had the mile
back to Barlow Pass to go. The road is open and easy walking, so we had no
trouble getting back to the car, although it was getting quite dark by that
time. This was probably the darkest I've arrived back at the car. On my
Three Fingers hike of 89-09-23, we didn't arrive to the trailhead until 45
minutes after sunset. Here, we arrive at the road 30 minutes after sunset,
but didn't get back to the car until 60 minutes after sunset, though the
last 30 minutes was easy going.
Del Campo Peak from Gothic Basin.
Pam in the basin.
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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015