Duckabush River - 5.5mi camp

Duckabush River - 5.5mi camp

We arrived at the Duckabush River Trailhead (End of Duckabush Rd) by 9:40 on a Saturday and the lot was full. While we were putting on boots and gaiters we saw people arrive and turn around. There's the stock parking 100m away or so.

She was so looking forward to the trip

The trail is in excellent shape. It is mostly dirty with small rocks for the first two miles. I got mislead by the map, I thought we'd be seeing the river along the trail, but that was mostly false.

At mile two there is the 2 mile campground which seemed very nice, and another campsite 5 minutes past it. It has access to water and you could see some fire rings.

The trail becomes intermittently rock filed with sharp talus from here on. You can see big boulders, rock wall and sharp talus made of basalt. The ground becomes red by all the iron-rich minerals. There are some (4-5) creek crossings, most of them very easy to cross. The only one that we had to cross with care was located at mile 4.5 - Even this one, on the morning when we crossed it back it was so much easier. My guess is that the water level was lower early in the morning and allowed shallow rocks to surface. I did notice an increase in the water level in the river at the end of the day!

At the top of "Big hump", looking out on what we called "Upper snack rock"

The hike up on the big hump is very well switch-backed. It feels tiring, we huffed and puffed, and saw some people sweating just like us. However when you look down, you realize how steep the slope is and how well made the trail is!

From here on you can see more often burned logs, hollowed charred trees, and a lot of blackened (at the bottom) but still very much alive giants. It had an eerie feel to it, and it was quite an experience to think the force of these giants falling on fire; yet 10 years later it is again a thriving ecosystem. Forest fires can be part of the lifecycle of forests, but this one was sadly started by an abandoned campfire at five-mile-camp.

I took this picture because somehow I felt it looked like these trees were injured, but alive and were weeping at their fallen families. I swear I don't do drugs, but at the time it felt very intense.

The trail can become narrow and it is Devil's Club galore. I spent a lot of time with my arms up as to not touch it with my skin. I would've brought a long-sleeved shirt to walk more comfortably.

Five mile camp is quite large and open. It was somewhat full, and we considered staying; Our tents would fit after all. However in the trail we encountered a couple with their dog that said they camped a little past these grounds. The topo map showed a flat area 0.5 - 1 mile past 5-mile-camp. We felt uneasy as we saw people carrying a gun, so we decided to try to find this other place and/or disperse camp.

It was a great decision!

It has space for 2 or 3 tents, has water access. It was full of (unripe) salmon berries. This may become a concern when they're ripe and the bears are munching on them? I don't know about this, I'll need to read further.

There's a fire ring made with rocks at the camp, but we went to a flat big boulder next to the river. Away from our tents and other vegetations; and you can always kick the fiery logs/embers into the river if you are concerned it will become out of control.

This fire kept us warm in the late evening (meaning the sunny 8-9 p.m. close to summer's solstice)

We saw a bunch of birds, and even saw one of them actively swim, dive over and over in a rock-pool at the other edge of the river. It seemed like it was harvesting dinner.

Furry visitor looking to make friends

It was a peaceful view, I noticed how I and everybody eventually just lost themselves just by watching the river. The water was very clear and the air smelled alive. By the evening you could see the small crevices and hanholds of a rock wall at the top of the mountains across the river.

We didn't have time on this trip to assemble our dinner, so we had one of the good-to-go. Fun enough, I liked hers better than mine and the other way around. By the time we figured it out, I had force-eaten mine already, so we couldn't swap.

When night fell, off we went into our tents. I slept very comfortably with a 4.x R value 3/4 pad, and a 25F rated bag. Karla had the same pad, but a 0F quilt. Her new Paria Down pillow was AWESOME. I'm considering buying one for myself, but it's out of stock right now. The raging river was an excellent sound to sleep to. I also pointed to everyone that I was happy that due to the river's noise, even if a bear was around our camp we wouldn't know and sleep comfortably :)

The rocks close to the river were great for storing our bear vaults. It would be VERY hard for a bear to roll them out of these nooks. So I was very confident that  we would not wake up and have to find our bear canisters.

In the morning we had breakfast in the same rock. I loved this one! The new addition were sunflower seeds. Oatmeal, honey powder, peanut butter powder, coconut flakes, dried blueberries, pecans, sunflower seeds.

We left around 9:15 and the trail felt very similar to the way in, with two notable exceptions. The climb onto the big hump was much longer, so it didn't feel that tiring. However the small hump felt way harder.

We kept hearing this animal (bird I guess) that made a rhythmic whooshing sound. The day prior I thought I was just hearing my heart pumping hard or something. I asked Karla if she heard it too and then I found out everybody heard it.

The hike out was uneventful except because I saw another person with a gun, and also about a mile from the trailhead I rolled my ankle. I don't know why I keep rolling that foot! It is supposed to be the good one. I guess now I'll start calling the surgery foot the good foot?