Bear Gap

PCT ~ Trail No. 2000


AUGUST 28, 2010  It was a sunny day when I started this solo hike on the PCT.  I met a group of Cascadians in the parking lot who were hiking the Naches Loop trail and invited me to join them.  I also met a thru-hiker who was waiting for his sister to arrive and whisk him off to civilization for a meal, supplies and a shower--not necessarily in that order.  He told me that Bear Gap was full of marmots when he hiked through earlier that morning. 

The trail makes a long traverse along a slope above Chinook Pass, so the road and traffic noise are an inevitable intrusion on this hike.  The views are generous, though, and the grade is gentle and it doesn't take long to reach pretty little Sheep Lake.  I stopped for a few minutes at the lake before continuing the climb above the lake to Sourdough Gap and my ultimate goal for this hike, Bear Gap.  I was delighted with the trail and the scenery on this hike, but I had a hard time regulating my temperature on this hike.  The sun was very warm, but a tricky little wind was cold and I stopped repeatedly to put on a fleece, only to take it off again where there was no wind.  I encountered many people on this trail, most of them section hikers who were hiking this stretch of the PCT from north to south, but no marmots--or other wildlife for that matter.  The wildflowers at Bear Gap were beautiful, but the ski resort looks barren and riddled with roads.  The junction of so many trails in the narrow gap promises many adventures, but it was very windy and cold, so I didn't linger long before starting my return trip.  I had saved the side trip to the view point above Crystal Lake for my return trip, but storm clouds were building when I returned to Sourdough Gap, and I saved that for another day.