Norse Peak Wilderness
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I've been doing some research and it seems as though the Norse peak wilderness is a good option for June backpacking. Has anyone hiked this area? Have any good trail suggestions? Map? I am thinking about a 3-4 day shuttle backpack. Any suggestions?
I'll take a closer look at your suggestion, or see what other options there are up in the central Washington Cascades. I'll definitely let you know what the snow conditions are like if I make it up to the area during the next couple of weekends. About this time every year, I start looking over the Snotel website to see what trips are possible (currently doesn't look good!): http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/
I am more drawn to the William O' douglas area, but it sounds like it holds snow just a touch longer. Apparently the lower half of American ridge is open as early as, well, now. There is some cool looking stuff in the Norse. Check out the Fifes peak area. Could be an alternative to your memorial day dark divide trip. And you could tell me where the snow is at before I make my trip. Haha.
My only experience of these areas were on my PCT hike, which travelled rather quickly through both. The Norse Peak area was nice, with some good alpine areas and some good views of Mt. Rainier and the other Cascades. Based on my experience of travelling through both, if I were personally going to choose one or the other to visit, I would head back to the William O Douglas Wilderness. It seemed a little more wild, there were a lot more lakes, and potentially some more rugged and alpine areas to explore. I actually made a note (with exclamation points) in my PCT journal to make sure and go back to this area to explore. I'm not sure of June snow conditions for either of the wilderness areas, but would think that at least some portions of each of these would be open.
I'm also open to suggestions in the William O' Douglas wilderness.