Pickets Days 0-1: Ross Lake ferry, hiking Big Beaver Trail to Whatcom Pass - Ian Dryg

Next Day


Day 0 - Drove out from Seattle, took the boat ferry from the Ross Lake Dam, and hiked in 4 miles to Perry Creek Camp.

Day 1 - Hiked 13-miles on the Little Beaver Trail up to Whatcom Pass - the last uphill push at the end was rough! 

For my full report from my trip log, see below the photos. 

Pickets Day 0 & 1 - Little Beaver Trail

  • Taking the Ross Lake boat ferry to Little Beaver!

  • Typical trail conditions on the Little Beaver Trail.

  • Approaching the end of the flat, the beginning of the uphill! That's Whatcom Peak in the distance.

  • Finally coming out of the forest, with beautiful sights including tons of waterfalls.

  • Whatcom Pass at nightfall.

Ian's trip log:

Friday, August 25 – “Day 0” – 8PM

Today, Kristian Eschenberg and I started our journey – an attempt at a full traverse of the Picket Range in the North Cascades. We’ve been talking about it for a long time but now we’re finally giving it a shot! It still doesn’t feel real… except for the 67 lb pack… ouch! Took a rope, harness, trad gear, photography equipment… food galore. Today we drove up from Seattle and got our backcountry permits, left the car at Goodell Creek campground in Newhalem, and I hitchhiked up to Ross Lake with a slightly crazy, very religious man from NE Washington who preached to me the entire ride. I just smiled and nodded and was grateful for the ride after about 20 cars passed me up. We took the Ross Lake boat ferry ($145, also ouch!) to Little Beaver Creek, then hiked our first 4 miles to Perry Creek Camp. Nice water source nearby. We actually ran into another group on our first couple miles in! They had hiked from Hannegan Pass… 6 days trip. There’s also another elderly couple at Perry Creek Camp. I thought we’d be more secluded out here! Once we get into the Pickets, that should be true. Tomorrow, our longest distance day… 13 miles to Tapto Lakes (just beyond Whatcom Pass). And after that, the real fun begins! Health: feel pretty good! I foresee my hips becoming bruised from this massive pack, but I’ll deal… Wore sandals hiking the 1st day, which was nice because my feet could breathe, but also got rubbed raw in some places. Boots tomorrow.

Food: 8/9 Mountain House meals, 4.5/5 trail mix bars, 7/7 oatmeals (2per), 1 beef jerky, 1 banana chips, 1 choco espresso beans, 1 apricots, 1 cranberries, 4/5 granola bars.

Boat to camp: 4pm – 6:30pm?

Saturday, August 26 – “Day 1”

Today was rough – made it to the top of Whatcom Pass though! First half of the day was easy, and we flew through the flat 8 or 9 miles. Then, the uphill started, and that uphill section was seriously brutal. We pushed hard… Maybe too hard. We finally got to the Pass, and I felt super exhausted… weak… We left our gear and went to filter water and halfway through I felt nauseous! I think it was because I chugged some freshly filtered water that was ice cold, combined with the exhaustion, and I washed off in the ice cold water too. All that made me feel nauseous and I threw up a bit. Continued filtering, and started to feel better. Having dinner made me feel even better, and now I feel fine. I’ll have to remind myself not to push it too hard in the future! My shoulders are a little sore, and my hips are a LOT sore… like bruising sore. The next days will suck… but by tomorrow night, we’ll be on the Challenger Arm and the views will be ridiculously amazing the rest of the trip. Gotta push through the pain!

Food: 7/9 Mountain House meals, 4/5 trail mix bars, 6/7 oatmeal packs, 4/5 granola bars, most left of: banana chips, apricots, choco espresso beans, cranberries. All of jerky left.

Camp to camp: 9am-6pm.