High Divide: Welcome Pass to Excelsior Pass with a bike shuttle
Last week I drove up to Highway 542 (Mt Baker Hwy) with the hopes of completing a traverse of the High Divide. The original plan was to ride my bike from Damfino Lakes trailhead to the Welcome Pass trailhead, and then finish the loop by traveling on foot from Welcome Pass trailhead up and across the High Divide, ending up back at Damfino Lakes. That would’ve been good for approx 30 miles of biking and approx 8 miles on foot, which sounded perfect to me – I’ve been neglecting my bike and this seemed like a great excuse to get some time in the saddle. Unfortunately, the road to Damfino Lakes is closed. I knew it was closed, it’s signed as closed, but for some reason I thought the closure was after the Damfino Lakes trailhead. It is not. Neither the Damfino Lakes nor the Canyon Creek trailhead is currently accessible.
Luckily, there was an easy and obvious back-up plan. Instead of starting at Damfino Lakes, I parked at the Excelsior Pass trailhead, rode my bike to the Welcome Pass trailhead (approx 5 miles), and then finished the loop on foot (approx 12 miles). Even though it wasn’t quite the route I’d hoped for, it was still very scenic. It was also one of the first days that the skies were smoke-free again, after nearly two weeks of haze from BC wildfires in early August. So really, I was just glad to see the mountains again!
After finishing the High Divide loop, I headed to Hannegan Pass trailhead to meet Lindsay. She and I both camped in our vehicles that night, and the next morning woke up early-ish to check out Goat Mountain. Maps show a trail only 3.5 miles up Goat, but beyond that there is still a very well-established boot path all the way to the false summit. Reaching the actual summit involves crossing a tiny glacier and then doing some Class 3ish scrambling. Lindsay and I were both perfectly content on the false summit. We ate PBJs, looked at maps, and then took pictures (me) and a nap (Lindsay).