Jan 062019

Over Labor Day weekend I went on a 6-day adventure involving car camping, foraging, hiking, scrambling, and a 120 mile bike ride home with camping gear in the BOB trailer. The featured destination was Lime Ridge, a place I hadn’t been to since a Boy Scout hike maybe 20 years ago. There is not much (especially current) info on the Box Mountain Lake or Lime Ridge route available online.

Belleamie cleans a King Bolete while Dia supervises

On Thursday afternoon, Belleamie and Dia picked me up after work and we headed north to the Sulphur Creek Campground. The campground was completely deserted even on a sunny Labor Day weekend; we got the best campsite in the place with a secluded tent area and private beach on the river. It seems like this campground has yet to be re-discovered after being closed for almost a decade. On Friday, we went up the Green Mountain Trail in search of huckleberries and King Boletes. We were successful in finding a large quantity of berries and several good-sized boletes.

Very sketchy log

On Saturday, I stashed my bike and parted ways with Belleamie and Dia. The crux of the entire trip was a log crossing right at the trailhead; I believed I had to cross the Suiattle river here per several online trip reports. Dia and Belleamie nervously watched me do this and expressed concern over my well-being. From there I had to bushwhack for about a mile until reaching the fisherperson’s path to Box Mountain Lakes. This path, although unrelenting in steepness, was in much better shape than I was expecting. It was fairly easy to follow and the brush had been trimmed. I chewed through the almost 4000’ elevation in about two hours, treating myself to abundant huckle and salal berries along the way. I still had plenty of daylight upon reaching Box Mountain Lake, so I decided to continue on another 700’ elevation to Indigo Lake (not labeled on the USGS Map, also known as Upper Rivord Lake). There was one other party camped at the lake before I arrived which was a bit of a surprise, nonetheless I found a lovely campsite perched a bit above the lake and with a gorgeous view of peaks towards the NE.

On Sunday, after a leisurely morning, I did a day scramble up to the top of Lime Mountain. From there I thought I would try traversing southwesterly along the top of Lime Ridge. I did this until reaching a point where I would have had to drop several hundred feet to get around some cliffs. Although that likely would have been possible, I instead decided to drop into upper Twin Lake, which turned out to be a bit tricky due to a band of cliffs that were not visible from the top of the ridge. Also tricky was scrambling up and over the ridge from upper Twin lake to Lower Rivord lake; as I learned later, a well beaten path connects Lower Rivord to LOWER Twin Lake, but I missed it because I didn’t drop into Lower Twin. I made it back to my camp at Indogo Lake and made dinner as night fell.

Repacked for bike mode

On Labor Day, I broke camp and swiftly descended back down the Box Mountain Lake trail. Based on info that I had gleaned from another party I met on Lime Mountain, I learned that there is another log available for crossing the Suiattle River that is just upstream of the site of the destroyed bridge on the Milk Creek trail, so I thought I would try that to avoid the bushwhacking and iffy log near the parking lot. This log worked great and it is located just around a bend upriver of the bridge site. Back at the parking lot, I retrieved my bike and repacked my stuff for biking mode. I was in need of a bath and had some time to spare, so I thought I would try making the short trek to Sulphur Hot Springs. However, these hot springs are very difficult to find and I had no success other than being teased by rotten egg smell. The Sulphur Creek Campground would have made a lovely place to camp for another night, however it was a 120 mile bike ride to home from here and I needed to break that up. I rode down the Suiattle River Road, which was somewhat horrible on the washboarded gravel parts, but smooth sailing on the paved sections. I rode to Darrington and had pizza and beer for dinner. By then it was getting pretty dark, so I found a spot to set up my hammock along the Whitehorse Trail .

On Tuesday, I rode the remaining 90 miles home via SR-530, Arlington, the Centennial Trail, Snohomish, some challenging backroads and arterials through Bothell, the Burke Gilman Trail, and Lake Washington Blvd. Before arriving home, I took a quick swim at Denny-Blaine park (No, I didn’t pack a swimsuit on this trip).