Public High Lakes Forum › High lakes discussion › History of Deadhead Lk- Old horse access?
- This topic has 17 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 17 years, 8 months ago by mossback.
August 30, 2005 at 5:49 am #81359
I just found this website tonight (the night before my week-long backpack trip..) and I can’t get enough info from you guys. I hope you can bear with my lengthy post. I was hoping you could help me with some history about Deadhead Lake. A search for ‘deadhead’ had no results, and I did read here in a biography that ‘Quiet’ George planted it and named it in ‘the early ’50s. But my big hang up/infatuation is HOW in the world did they get HORSES up there????
My Father and I found it in 9/03, on the high hunt trip. It was a fabulous fishing lake, for what I’m used to anyways. Every fish fought very hard, was of decent size (13ish), and one was about 16″. All were CT except for one 15″ RB. I think I found freshwater shrimp along the shore, and we found yellowjackets in the belly of the one we ate.
Anyways, we found some horse manure at the shore, and I saw branches cut off on trees up high on a trail that takes you up to the ridge on the W side. This particular trail peters out, and may have gone over to the Spade Lk area, I speculate. The manure couldn’t have been that old, and I can’t figure out how someone could get a horse in there.
We dropped in from the Vicente Lake side (camped in the meadow below Vicente) 5-6 times at least, and it was hand and foot going up ravines to get high enough to get on the old game trail to cross the ridge (going from Vicente meadow), so that seems an impossible route for a horse.
On one occasion, we decided to follow the outlet stream down and find the Spade Lk trail to Waptus. Not only a very bad idea, but the brush was just so thick… (We staggered into our camp below vicente past midnight)Plus, the Spade Lk trail was covered with large fallen trees, some having been there for a couple years easily. So, I think that cancels out that route.
Last year I backpacked there, and met a gentleman that used to work as a ranger up there, and he said that old timers told him that they used to take sheep way up there to summer, and that their trail wrapped around the mountain just E of Deadhead, at high elevation, possibly starting somewhere above Deer Lakes. But he never found it. I did find a game trail that starts going that direction, staying on the E side of the outlet stream. It gets quite steep before petering out on the SW side of that Mountain.
This is getting long, but it just intrigues me so much…
BTW- I also found old horse/mule manure way up high on the game trail, a few hundred feet below the ridge on the vicente side. Now just how it the world did that get there??? I’m truly perplexed, and it has bothered me for two years now.
August 30, 2005 at 7:43 am #85363
I haven’t been to Deadhead so I can’t give you a direct answer, but I have been amazed where they’ve gotten horses. If you go to Rainbow Lake above Stehekin from the North Cascades Highway you get to one section of trail where there is a sign that says there are no horses allowed. I wondered about that because the trail was good. But then up the trail a ways the reason for the horse ban was obvious. The trail went over a very steep snow bank. Absolutely impossible for horses. We got down to Rainbow Lake and set up camp. A bit later someone comes riding down the trail on their horse. They’d traversed that steep snow that I thought would be impossible and when I asked him about it he basically just shrugged his shoulders and said it was no problem.
August 30, 2005 at 8:21 am #85364
That’s crazy.. Our packer said that old timers would get up in deadhead on horseback somehow. Perhaps when the Spade Lk trail was better maintained. But man, to ride, or even lead a horse up what we came down…. slide alder, lot’s of brush and logs, all on a steep slope. I had trouble getting down myself.
I hope somebody on this forum has some direct info about this particular area. That would be great… There’s just something about finding out how people did things that seem so difficult, if not impossible.
Anyhow, I’m leaving tomorrow for this area and can’t wait. Last year, bad weather locked me into deadhead for a few days, preventing me from finding Rebecca and Rowena Lakes. Looking at the map, they seem pretty remote, and probably see few people. Looks like some real flat meadows just NE of them. I climbed Mt Daniel on July 4 this year, and could see down in there.
Anyone been in there? Fishing report? What about Spade, Venus and Shovel? I hope to stop at each one. It looks like you can drop down the ridge W of Venus Lk into Rowena and Rebecca. I plan to hike out via Shovel Ck.
About that fella I met up at Deadhead… I was exploring a game trail near the outlet ck, and came upon an old tarp-covered ball of something.. supplies or something. Quite old. It was wrapped in rope.
So I left it alone, and when I got back to the lake, these to guys had shown up, which really surprised me. They said that they used to go up there alot more often, but it had been 10 years, or thereabouts. So one guy goes and drags this bag of stuff out of the woods, and it was their old raft, oars, and tent from years ago… and it still worked!!! Crazy timing.
The wind kicked up so bad that it took the raft from the shore and catapulted it accross the lake to the other shore! And it hailed enough to partially collapse my tent. That was just before the last labor day weekend.
The ex-ranger said that they used to pull out 20″+ trout out of there regularly, and that an older woman used to go fish up there quite often. Maybe still does. But the average size has dropped off apparently.
August 30, 2005 at 3:15 pm #85365
I have been to Rebecca and Rowena but I came from the Middle Fork side so I can’t help with routes from the Deadhead/Waptus area. They’re worth the trip.
I just did some checking. My uncle said there was an old horse trail from Spade but that stock aren’t allowed on the Spade Lake trail any more.
August 30, 2005 at 6:41 pm #85366AnonymousInactive
I think I remember seeing a sign on that trail saying that stock aren’t allowed. The manure I saw at the lake wasn’t more that 2-3 years old, I don’t think.. But I’m no expert. The mystery remains
I think our packer said that he had heard of an old horse camp on the way up to Spade. Perhaps the old trail your uncle speaks of came from there. How long ago were you up there?
I’m not sure where the middle fork is. So you didn’t go up Shovel Ck?
If I get up the energy, I may try to get up into Swallow Lakes. They’re between Square and Leland. The packer had a report that a fisherman has done very well up there.
August 30, 2005 at 6:45 pm #85367
Not sure why that last post showed me as a ‘guest’ Maybe I wasn’t logged in.
August 30, 2005 at 6:51 pm #85368Sandy McKeanParticipant
So one guy goes and drags this bag of stuff out of the woods, and it was their old raft, oars, and tent from years ago….
As you are likely well aware, it is completely uncool to leave ANYTHING, much less a cache like this, at a lake (or anywhere else in the mountains for that matter).
August 30, 2005 at 6:59 pm #85369
I think you’re right. It was just so strange that I had found it under a tree, and then met the guys who left it years before on the same day.
As I had done, I’m sure others do the high hunt up there, and I thought maybe it was someone’s wall tent or other hunting supplies… But it looked so old.
BTW, these fellas saw a wolverine near the north shore of Deadhead lake several years ago, when there was some snow up there. Pretty cool.
August 30, 2005 at 7:34 pm #85370
Middle Fork=Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie. We hiked up past Williams Lake and over to Rebecca and Rowena. That was back in the eighties. My uncle as last at Deadhead in the mid-nineties.
August 30, 2005 at 7:51 pm #85371
Oh I see. Did you go over the Gap? It looks pretty steep that way. How was it?
August 30, 2005 at 7:54 pm #85372
Yep, right over what the map calls LaBohn Gap. It is very nice going down to the lake.
August 30, 2005 at 7:55 pm #85373
Brian went to Rowena and Rebecca probably same route I did. My group (3) stayed at Rowena, toward outlet end, went down to Rebecca, angled over to Shovel, then back to Rebecca and Rowena. Trip was in late September, 1980. We had heard Rowena had NO fish, but we had good success, nothing over about 14 inches, but reasonably good. Rebecca had reproduction; loaded with 6-8 inch CT. That was only 25 years ago, so things may have changed a little
. The trip itself has both nice views and interesting routes to find. Route can be good if you are “route literate.” A lot of hikers aren’t, but those who can “read” routes do OK. – mossback
August 30, 2005 at 8:01 pm #85374
Well, I see you two guys been exchanging notes while I’ve been typing. We, too, went up to Chain Lakes area and over misplaced LaBohn gap. Route down from there is relatively easy IF you “read” well. Seems to me we went down an “easy-to-go” chimney in one place, but rest was relatively easy. And views were terrific.
August 30, 2005 at 8:18 pm #85375
I think I can read routes at least decently. Don’t know if I’ll go over to the chain lakes or not. I do have three dogs with me, and they’re wearing packs. So that can be dicey in certain areas. Although, they did make it up Mt Daniel w/me.
In one of the bio’s I read, someone found a dead porcupine near the top of the ridge between Shovel and Spade. It was crushed by a rock. Sure hope my dogs don’t find any of those critters.
September 6, 2005 at 6:49 am #85376
My first attempt was to go up above Circle Lake on the N ridge, then down the W ridge, and down to Venus; and then over the next ridge. But once we got way up the ridge on the N, it got too exposed and steep for the dogs w/their packs. So we went back down and to Circle for the night. Caught some nice RB there, biggest was 15″
Next attempt was going up Shovel Ck. Got a mile up on the W side, into the large talus, and the pup’s feet were getting sore… lots of sharp rock. I’ll have to bring good dog booties next time.
So I didn’t make it, but for six days we made a lot of tracks. Caught a 17 and 18″ RB though, probably my biggest yet. Great weather too. Saw 10 goats above Circle 😀
September 16, 2005 at 1:12 am #85377AnonymousInactive
the way horses can get up to this lake is as follows: Take the Spade Lake trail up from Waptus to the last switcback where the trail heads NW,leave the trail here and then head easterly climbing as you go. the route is thru mostly open country and youll end up at the lake.
September 16, 2005 at 2:05 am #85378
😯 Have you actually gone that route on a horse?
I have come down that way 2 times, and it was pretty difficult. Lot’s of brush, some slide alder,steep, not easy at all. My way in was over the ridge from Vicente Lk. I remember falling down some with a pack on, and simply couldn’t imagine a horse going UP that.
The other problem is all the downfall on the Spade Lk trail, all the way to the last switchback. It was bad in 2003, and last year. I don’t think it’s been maintained for a while. Do you just lead horses around all those logs? Not being a horse man, I guess I wouldn’t know.
Thanks for any info on this
September 16, 2005 at 3:50 am #85379
If you go the Williams Lake route, you don’t have to go to the Chain lakes. Once you get past the mine and up above the rock slope, you cut NE across the southeast portion of Chain Lakes “basin” toward map LaBohn Gap. We did spend a night (on the floor) at the cabin (no longer there) near one of the Chain Lakes on our way out. Great night for mice running across our sleeping bags and our faces!! However, that was better than sleeping in the rain–we had no tent/s. I don’t remember any steep routes, but do remember a lot of rock.
One key question is whether you can get to end of the road (past Goldmeyer Hot Springs). If you can’t, that route won’t be worth the effort, relative to Shovel Lake route.
Used boots on my Brittany Spaniel frequently in the Lower Granite Dam (before it was there)/Pullman/Asotin areas. Infected his feet one time when I didn’t put boots on his feet and he was bleeding by the time we got back to car. What I’m leading up to is that (a) getting to a lot of off trail lakes includes going over rocky areas, and (b) if you do take the dogs with you on the Williams Lake route, they won’t need boots until you get past Williams Lake, but you should boot them above the mine (NE corner by Williams Lake) and over the “map LaGohn Gap,” and probably to your destination at Rowena Lake. I don’t know anything about the route to Shovel Lake from Waptus Lake, but I do believe you will have a tough time getting the dogs from Rebecca to Rowena.
I probably sound pessimistic. I’m not. A trip to Rowena is worth the effort, IMO. Great terrain area (to me), nice capsite (near outlet), and decent fishing. Whether to go now, however, is another question. – mossback
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