All photos from this trip can be found here.
Cashmere marked the end of my five-year long pursuit of the 100 highest peak of Washington, aka Bulger List. The difference between this list and the strict 400-foot prominence peaks list are seven peaks. That means once one completes either list, by climbing seven more peaks they will also complete the other.
In the end, what I thought was my first Bulger peak turned out to my last. First time the weather turned foul with extremely low visibility, and I ended up summiting the west peak, about half a mile from the main summit. But I was happy to revisit the mountain and finish on a low(-key) note atop one of the 10 Bulger peaks located in The Enchantments. Earlier in the season I planned a backpacking trip with fellow hiker/backpacker friends to climb the mountain since I’ve had suspicions of not actually summiting first time around. But the weather didn’t cooperate and we scratched the plan day before our departure.
Looking back on the journey, times I shared with my two dear Labrador Retrievers were undoubtedly the most rewarding. I couldn’t have thanked them enough for giving me best years of their lives and accompanying me on peaks in deeper parts of the Cascades. Together we shared many firsts and most memorable moments–first camping, first big mountain, first craggy ridge traverse, etc. There were also many personal learning moments, including looking out for our safety, route finding, and navigating through different terrain types.
Inevitably there came a time when I had to leave the pups behind to climb the technical ones on the list. One of them had to end his journey with us after one of our trips in 2013 due to TPLO, The other being the more agile and faster one, was able to head out with me on some of the less technical peaks until the end. Our last trip together was climbing the group of four peaks west of Lake Chelan
over Fourth of July weekend. At the time I thought those were my last four to climb, until I decided to revisit Cashmere to set the record straight.
It was extremely comforting and rewarding to finally see the mountain in full view and her majestic stance and to finally put a closure to this chapter.