[Tweeters] Chelan birding: Cascade Pass to Sahale Glacier Camp

Tim Brennan tsbrennan at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 15 22:43:43 PDT 2016

Hey all!

I zipped up yesterday to Marblemount in hopes of getting a backpacking permit for Sahale Glacier camp up near the cascade crest in Chelan County. I missed it by five minutes! I'll know next time, but for this visit, I had to make the 12 mile round trip in a day.

I arrived at the trailhead as early as I could manage and was able to start hiking once the stars started to fade at the gorgeous parking area. The 3.7 miles to Cascade Pass was pretty uneventful, outside of taking me from Skagit to Chelan County.

As I was chatting with a backpacking group from the North Cascades Institute, at the pass, a Black Swift passed overhead, making it the first new bird for the year on this trip. A few of the people in their group had done the hike up above Lake Doubtful towards the Glacier Camp and reported seeing American Pipits and Sooty Grouse, both of which I was able to find several times over, with Sooty Grouse out on the trail at several point on the hike.

At the camp, I had been hoping for White-tailed Ptarmigan, which would have been a life bird, but instead had Gray-crowned Rosy Finches at the talks slopes near the top.

The top was amazing, although it did feel a little funny to leave King County and drive to Skagit to walk into Chelan, then up to 7600 feet just to say "Hey! The mountain's out." Baker and Glacier Peak were of course visible, and additionally Rainier was seen from the top in the faaaaar distance.

On the way down a person I had met at the top, a birder from Tennessee, said "Hey bird guy!" I looked up from my feet and saw a nice surprise bird: A Northern Harrier! It wasn't the only raptor of the day, as I also saw an American Kestrel while above Lake Doubtful. Other not-new-but-interesting birds included Fox Sparrows, Townsend's Solitaire and a silent empid.

Marmots are very tame. Like puppies... Except also rodents. Looking to the one home for sure.

I have my school computer back for fall and will work to get the blog caught up from June July and August trips.

Happy birding!

Tim Brennan

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