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Trip Report

Black Lake — Sunday, Oct. 5, 2008

North Cascades
This easy trail leads, as others have reported, through a vast burn that killed all trees except in a few islands of green. One of those islands is the east shore of Black Lake. It is like an oasis after walking in sunlight through a stand of black snags the length of the valley. Except for those little patches of green, there are only standing dead trees as far as you can see. The trailhead sign says 5 miles to Black Lake, but it's really only 4. The trail is mostly within the Pasayten Wilderness, although any wilderness entry sign was apparently destroyed in the fire. A fair amount of blowdown is across the trail. Mostly it is step-overs, but some require short detours. With so many standing dead tress, expect many more to tumble in the next several years. The trail is also fairly brushy. This hike offers a study in regeneration after a fire. Fireweed, manzanita, willows, aspen, and young lodgepole pines are flourishing. In the fall, all this shrubbery was colorful. Yet, in other ways the area seems like a desert. Except for a few chipmunks, we saw no sign of wildlife -- no tracks or scat. We are confused about the date of the fire. Locals we met on the trail said this was part of the big Thirtymile fire in 2001. That seems consistent with the size of the new seedlings. But another trail report says that the fire was in 2003. A trip report in the spring of 2003 does not mention the burn, which suggests it happened later that year. Another local told us that the area around and beyond Black Lake burned at a different time from the Thirtymile fire. We hope someone can clarify this. Dave Knibb


Black Lake fire

Dave Knibb;

The fire along Black Lake was not part of the 30 Mile fire. My freind Janet & I backpacked to Black Lake a few years after 30 Mile; we visited the 30 Mile memorial near the Black Lake trailhead.

I believe the Farewell fire of 2003 is the one that burned around Black Lake. It is odd that the Okanogan-Wenatchee website does not mention the burn in their trail description of Black Lake. It would be a great place for an information board with things to look for in a recovering forest. I suppose NWIA has limited funds too, and cannot do this for the public.

I attached a link that might provide you the answer.[…]/farewell_fire.htm[…]/farewell_fire.htm

Posted by:

Kim Brown on Oct 06, 2008 08:13 PM