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Baxter Pass trail conditions?

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Re: Baxter Pass trail conditions?

Postby kevin1956murray » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:51 pm

I hiked down Baxter Trail 7/22/13. Since the trail is a bit difficult to see, it is best for people in a group to stick together. That way a straggler won't get lost. But with a group searching for the trail at each non-obvious place, it was easily findable.

I'd like to clarify about the 'stinging nettles' for people who are about to hike the trail. The nettles look like innocent plants, like big ragweeds. They are like big 'bull thistle' plants, since it is apparently the tiny spins on the hairy stems of the nettles that cause the pain. It looked to me like the stinging nettle plants grow just right next to the water, so watch out for the big bushy (hairy shafted) plants by the water crossings. The leaves are about 3" long, 1.5" wide, with serrated edges. I had long pants on, which protected my legs, but I unknowingly rubbed my hand on a stem. This allowed me to realize that the hawthorn type bushes that I had been walking past were not the nettles mentioned on this forum.

See this link for a picture. http://livingafield.com/Plants_StingingNettle.htm

The nettle bush that we experienced is next to the big boulder on the south side of the uppermost river crossing. It is a big bush that had to be carefully hopped over. Or use sticks to keep the stems held out of your way.

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Re: Baxter Pass trail conditions?

Postby Voyager101 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:17 pm

I just descended Baxter this past weekend (4th of July 2014) -

The only real challenges re: routefinding between the JMT and Baxter Lakes are in the beginning (go up the cliff and parallel Woods Creek, but slightly up as Woods drops) and a few meadows after you make the right turn up Baxter Creek - I had a lot of fun tracking the trail and wandering the vicinity looking for ducks.

The climb from the lake to the pass is well marked, and most of the descent is easy (if not steep), but be careful in the middle of the burn zone (about 9k) and make sure you cross the creek at the right (marked) spot. Long pants could help, but my legs must be used to a little scrapage as they look fine 2 days later.

The colors at the top and again around 10k are outstanding, and the wildflowers post-burn are very pretty.

I don't know if I'd choose going up Baxter (I went up Shepherd, which was a lot of climbing but a much easier grade), but it was a cool descent. Just plan on taking a while - I had a 45 lb. frame and the detouring/tree hopping/etc. brought my average down to a measly 1 MPH. I think that only ever happened to me one other time, which was circumnavigating Mount Saint Helens and crossing some nasty lava falls at a sharp angle.

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Re: Baxter Pass trail conditions?

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:38 pm

Hi Mike,

Welcome to HST! Thanks for the update on Baxter Pass! :) Hope to be reading your
TR soon. ;)
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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