Middle Fork Pasayten River Valley access restrictions had just been lifted a few days ago.
Entiat River Road had been gated at mile 32 the last couple of years due to wildfires
Two things I did differently on this trip had worked out quite well.
After getting off Freezeout Ridge the day before, we spent two hours on the road to west end of Pasayten Wilderness.
Road to Conrad Meadows had been gated at the NF-750/South Fork Tieton Road junction, seven miles before the trailhead.
The 41-mile drive on NF-8020/Cooper Mountain Road from Chelan, WA to Summer Blossom Trailhead was much less attractive than the trailhead name itself.
Some reports described this being an all-day outing, so pup and I car camped for an early start.
Picket traverse = Mount Challenger + Phantom Peak + Crooked Thumb Peak
Five years had passed since we first visited Sawtooth Slam peaks. The mixed use Crater Creek Trail was especially popular among biking enthusiasts.
Compared with its west fork counterpart, East Fork Buttermilk Trail (#420) felt much like a walk in the park.
West Fork Buttermilk Creek Valley was the first area in Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness pups and I ever visited.
Coincidentally, the late afternoon start time was the same as our first trip six years ago when pups and I climbed Gardner Mountains.