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A & A Backpacking


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Necklace Valley Summary
July 2007
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Round trip to Necklace Valley: 16 miles plus exploring, 2500+ ft. elevation gain
Green Trails Map: Skykomish and Stevens Pass
High point: around 6000 ft

Directions: Drive 1.7 miles East of Skykomish on Hwy 2. Turn South on Foss Road. Find the trailhead after about 4 miles.

Trail #1062: This is the perfect hike if you want to hike into a base camp and then spend the next three or 4 days dayhiking to 9 different lakes. In fact there are 10 lakes within 2 miles of each other, nestled within a glacial handing valley. Are there any glaciers up here? No However you can see where the long ago Glacier carved out this valley leaving these beautiful lakes as footprints along the way.

My husband and I wanted to find a backpacking trip that was beautiful and memorable enough for our honeymoon but wouldnít run our 5 year old daughter into the ground. This was the perfect hike, because it only required 2 days of hard hiking before we got to enjoy 4 days of lake exploring. The lakes have jewel names like Emerald, Jade, Opal, Cloudy, Lockett, and a few odd ones like Al and Illswoot. There are a few small lakes directly located below La Bohn Gap called the La Bohn Lakes. Opportunities for exploring here are endless and you canít get lost.

The first five miles is relatively flat and easy, crossing several streams along the way. We stayed the first night at the last stream crossing, just before the nightmare ascent. There is a great campsite here and a bridge to cross the last large creek. After this you wonít have a chance to fill up on water until you reach the runoff for the valley (although there is plenty of snowmelt early in the year). For our early July trip the trail was still pretty soggy and had patches of snow. The next day we arose to begin the 2 Ĺ mile, 2500 foot ascent to Necklace Valley. This trail is brutal and harsh and sadistically mile marked along the way. I only say sadistically because by the time you get to the 6 mile marker, you thought you were already on your way to mile 7. There is one bridge along the way that consists of one log and a flimsy handrail across a rocky gorge. The final push into Jade Lake is brutal but definitely worth it. We established our base camp at Emerald Lake, There are some beautiful sites here looking out across La Bohn Peak and the gap. From here any direction will lead you to a lake, just make sure you have a map because there are seldom established trails. The only Lakes we couldnít get to were the La Bohn Lakes which were still encased in snow in early July. These were probably the most inaccessible Lakes requiring a rock scree climb of 300 feet up.

According to the guide book a ascent of La Bohn Gap is possible, with more lakes on the other side, however we didnít attempt it. If you could get high enough on the gap you would be able to see the glacier lined Mt. Hinman whose views remains elusive in the valley. If you want to get a great view of the valley I would recommend climbing the ridge between Emerald an Illswoot Lakes, from there you can see several of the lakes at once.

This hike is definitely worth the 2500 foot ascent and I would recommend it to anyone. During this hike, we only saw people on the second day, after that we had the valley to ourselves for the next four days.

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