Thursday, July 12, 2007

Heat Wave? Who Cares . . .

Just head for the mountains and find a nice GLACIER-fed river to play in! Guaranteed to cool you off.

Fording the Rapid River near the headwaters.

Seattle temperatures breaking records . . . Sultan in the foothills edging into the 100s. Wouldn't be so bad if there was a breeze but we were denied even that.

The Rapid River on the north side of Johnson Ridge is one of my favorite places. The river is short . . . 11 miles from the headwaters to where it joins the Beckler. Five miles of that is easily accessible by FS Road with lots of scenic views, a half dozen or so primitive and rustic campgrounds and sites, and a number of cascading waterfalls. The rest is . . . well, trailblazing. Hardly anyone goes beyond the major camping area to the end of the road and one great campsite (which is where I started my trek).

Rapid River is not true glacier-fed (unlike the North Forth of the Skykomish). Most of the water comes off Mt Fenrow, Johnson Ridge and Captain's Point, which remain snow-loaded well into July. Nevertheless, the water is chillingly-cold and numbs the legs quickly. Full-immersion takes a little craziness but is ever so refreshing.

The only bad part about a trip to the mountains is that eventually I had to put some clothes on and Seattle was no cooler that it was a number of hours earlier when I headed out of town to escape the heat. My teeshirt was soaked with perspiration in no time.

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