8 miles of hiking • 1750' elevation gain •
Snow starts at 4600' (2-3'' deep in the trees and 50-60% coverage). However, once above the treeline and exposed to the sun, it becomes mostly snow-free.
Butte Camp trail is remarkably good shape after last storm, but I met other hikers who tried & couldn't follow Sheep Canyon trail earlier in the day, and had to switch plans... interesting, because that's active lahar area. Or maybe they just took a wrong turn.
Fall colors are at their peak (not much on this trail, but was nice to see some). Maples along the roads were all glowing gold.
Rough gravel/dirt roads up there finally got graded & in nice shape. Drove over Red Rock Pass and to Kalama Horse Camp, it's now pretty nice, with a few rocks on the road here & there - but way better than a few weeks ago. Didn't drive down to Blue Lake but it seemed they did something there too (fresh gravel?).
The creek at Butte Camp (4000') is gone! Seems bizarre as it hasn't dried up even in late summer, was a good running creek across the flat part of the trail. I went west across the plain to the foot of the hill - no water. Went up into the brush and I could see the springs are flowing good as always, but then it seems to disappear into the ground.