A while ago Hiroshi expressed his desire to join me in one of my solo hikes. With the fearless leader of the Xtreme Picnic Team Group gone for a three weeks holiday I invited her loyal companion for two hikes (this is the first one). Together with his son Alan we headed to Eaton Lake on the Silver Skagit Valley.
To reach the trailhead, if coming east on Highway 1, take Exit 168, then just before the bridge over Silverhope Creek, go south onto Silver Skagit Road. After the 16 km sign, turn left onto an old road signposted for the Eaton Creek Forest Recreation Site and drive 200 m.
Alan, Hiroshi and Hiromobile
We followed the old road and after 10 minutes it became a steep trail. With Eaton Creek on our side very soon we crossed the first of four bridges. The bridge at this point is temporarily washed out so we crossed on a high log bridge on our left from where we saw a little waterfall.
The name Skagit (pronounced "skajit") refers to two groups of Native American people living in the state of Washington, the Upper Skagit and the Lower Skagit. The language of the same name is a subdialect of the Northern dialect of Lushootseed, which is part of the Salishan family. The Skagit River, Skagit Bay, and Skagit County all derive their names from the Skagit people.
Crossing the first bridge
Then we started to swing away to the south turning slowly towards the main creek. We did a short break on a tributary with a wooden seat by its bridge. At this point, we were halfway from our destination.
All Salishan languages such as the dialect of Lushootseed are endangered—some extremely so with only three or four speakers left. Practically all languages only have speakers who are over sixty years of age, and many languages only have speakers over eighty.
Crossing the second bridge
We kept going uphill and did a short stop in some pretty falls (you can see them on my video link). The tall forest gaves us good shadow for such hot day. After the 3km marker the grade eased and we crossed the creek for a third time. The bridge is washed out so we have to do some tricky crossing on logs on the right side of the bridge. Some of our group got wet feet.
Now that you know where the name Skagit comes from, let me tell you about the Silver Skagit Road. This road offer access to Skagit Valley. This Valley is part of a larger protected area complex that includes the US North Cascades National Park and the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. This large tract of territory contains the Ross Lake Reservoir, an important source of hydroelectricity for Seattle City Light.
Crossing the third "bridge"
Five minutes later we crossed the creek again and this time we were on river-left until the lake.
This area is the border of British Columbia mainland coastal forests. The British Columbia mainland coastal forests is a temperate coniferous forest ecoregion of the Pacific coast of North America. The ecoregion extends along the mainland coast of British Columbia, up to 150 km inland to the crest of the coastal mountains, and along the western front of the northern Cascade Range in northwestern Washington.
Crossing the fourth bridge
We crossed an area of ancient rock slides. Rock slides is part of a wide range of ground movement better known as landslide. My theory for this one is an ancient earthquake which created stresses that make the slope fail (something like that happen in the Hope Slide).
After the slide, we reached the crest and dropped towards the lake. As you can see some habits never die. With a full stomach, Alan and I confirmed the excellent job that Shauna has done with Hiroshi.
After all these years, Shauna's training finally paid off
Eaton Lake used to be know as Crescent Lake because of its shape. The name was officially changed to Eaton Lake to commemorate William Eaton, who was shot down over Germany in 1943 at age nineteen. The mountain in whose shadow the lake lies, Eaton Peak, is named for William’s elder brother Doug, who was killed in Italy in 1944.
From the lake, you can scramble/climb to the summit of Eaton South Peak. There is not trail past the lake so basically you need to bushwack up to the alpine.
On the north (left on this picture and not viewed here) there is Eaton Peak North. In Fred Beckey's Cascade Alpine Guide Vol III, 2nd edition, he proposes the name Mt. Grant for the peak - Grant was a surveyor with the Canadian Border survey and active in the area. This avoids confusing it with Eaton Peak (AKA Eaton Peak South). Personally, I prefer to use Mount Grant.
Eaton Peak is a rocky, double summit. The more westerly peak is slightly higher. Most summit routes involve some Class 3-4 scrambling or Class 5 rock climbing.
These mountains are still rising, shifting and forming. Fossil and rock magnetism studies indicate that these terranes were formed thousands of miles south in the Pacific Ocean. Attached to slowly moving plates of oceanic rock, they drifted northward merging together about 90 million years ago.
A terrane is an accretion (process where a tectonic place increases in size by addition of material along a convergent boundary) that has collided with a craton (old continental crust that has survived the merging and splitting of continents).
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1. 49:14'58.1"-121:23'44.6" Elev:424 m Trailhead
2. 49:15'02.0"-121:21'23.2" Elev:1330 m Eaton Lake
Roundtrip length: 8 km (5 miles)
Time: 4.0 hours
Elevation gain: 915 m (3000 ft)
Driving distance from Vancouver: 160 km (100 miles)