Nannie Ridge ~ Sheep Lake

Trail No. 98

SEPTEMBER 5 - 6, 2009   A Mountaineers' backpack trip.  Despite the grim weather forecast, our group of 9 set out for a 3 day/2 night backpack trip to Sheep Lake in the Goat Rocks Wilderness.  Our plan was to hike the Nannie Ridge Trail and set up base camp, hike to Cispus Pass/Cispus Basin the next day, then make it a loop trip by hiking out via the PCT and Walupt Lake trail back to our cars on the third day. 

The Nannie Ridge Trail was about as wet and muddy a trail a I've ever seen.  It climbs steadily through the woods from Walupt Lake to Nannie Ridge, gaining almost 2000' in the first 2 miles.  The seasons are on a fast track in this area, rushing through spring and summer in short window of time.  Ripe huckleberries and fall colors replaced the colorful wildflowers that were at their peak just a few weeks ago.  Mountain gentian was still growing thick in the meadows around Sheep Lake, but the buds remained tightly closed in the rain.  Even through the rain, the clouds and the fog, the beauty of the Goat Rocks Wilderness still shone through. 

 It was still raining when we reached Sheep Lake, making it a challenge to keep our gear dry while we set up our tents.  We hung a kitchen tarp in a copse of trees away from our sleeping quarters.  The temperature dropped to 38 and it rained hard in the middle of the night.  We woke to leaden skies and although everyone was still in good humor,  no one objected when I recommended that we cut the trip short.  We began to talk about our after-hike meal before we even broke camp.   

 We retreated back down the Nannie Ridge Trail in rain, hail and occasionally brisk wind, picking huckleberries along the way.  As we reached our cars at Walupt Lake, the sun taunted us with a brief appearance.  The weather alternated between sun breaks and blustery wind and rain all the way home.  We stopped off for a leisurely dinner and excellent blackberry pie at the Copper Creek Inn. 

I enjoyed this trip despite the rain, but I'm looking forward to returning another time--when the weather is fair.   

9 miles roundtrip