July 15, 2007.
Hannegan Pass Trail #674 | 9 miles | 2000′ ele. gain | 4 hours
From my snake-infested campsite along Hannegan Pass Rd. I walked about a mile to the trailhead. I was too chicken to drive the whole length of the road, which had been thrashed by flooding. Along the road, I stopped to admire the colorful wildflowers…something I rarely do.The actual trail begins at the end of the road, near some scattered campsites and a toilet. It stretches quite far, and I’d planned to just walk as long as I had time. My Shuksan climb party was supposed to meet later in the afternoon. I soon realized that this trail would be difficult to leave behind. For minimal effort, I was treated to views of mountain ridges beyond a deep, forested valley. Waterfalls streamed down the valley sides, and snow-capped peaks lurked beyond each bend.
I walked blissfully for nearly 2.5 hours, passing only a handful of backpackers on their way out, before reaching a sign for “Hannegan Camps.” My turnaround point was approaching and I wanted some sort of mile marker to track how far I’d gone so I decided this was it. I didn’t realize I only had 0.5 miles left to the pass and my group would be an hour late for the meetup…
On my return, I passed loads of people heading out for a dayhike. I could tell I was getting closer to the trailhead as more people in denim jeans, makeup and designer sunglasses were heading my way :). I didn’t mind the road walk back to my car because it was still very beautiful and I didn’t cross paths with any people (except for a few vehicles) during this stretch.
At the car, I treated myself to turkey and snap peas for lunch, then packed my overnight bag in preparation for the Shuksan climb. I fought and lost battles with pesky insects while deciding what to take and what to leave behind. The temperatures were moderate, and it was an official Mazama climb, so I decided to leave out more layers and emergency gear than I normally would. I didn’t want to slow the group down, as I’d be the rookie on the team. I could not have foreseen the adventure in store for me.