14.5 miles of hiking • 3500' elevation gain • 1 night
Started at Independence Pass to see what shape the Independence Ridge trail may be in. My answer: terrible! Four significant washouts in the first two miles, and the last mile near-completely overgrown. Good thing the WTA has this on their hit list! :-)
Turned towards Norway Pass after hitting the Boundary Trail, then headed south on the "closed" Independence Pass trail for a mile or so just to see what's down there. My answer: magnificent views of Mount Saint Helens and Spirit Lake! Wow... Also saw a hungry bear redirecting a herd of elk away from "his" huckleberries. Really a shame no one seems interested in repairing the landslide that closed this trail.
Enjoyed first lunch at Norway Pass before heading onward and upwards towards Mount Margaret, and along the way ran into a group of friends at the Whittier junction! We continued on, and I decided I couldn't help but climb the snow-covered Mount Tomroy, as I believe it offers the very best views in the Backcountry. No disappointment there. Fine spot for second lunch.
Ended up returning to the Norway Pass trailhead with my friends, and bumming a ride back to the jeep, as I just couldn't see going back down Independence Ridge again. Just a spectacular day in the mountains!