Aug 14, 2010 By the time we drove to the Olympics, found a campsite and arrived at the trailhead, it was past 2pm. Loo late of a start for most day hikers, so the trail wasn’t crowded despite a large number of vehicles. However, we passed a few parties geared up to spend the night in the beautiful meadows. The thick canopy of trees was very welcome in the 30-degree heat but it was good to see the mountains show up once we came out into the alpine vibrant with wildflowers. A couple of muddy patches which weren't a big deal now, but are likely wider and more abundant earlier in the season. Filtered some water from the creek near the campsite and headed up towards the pass.
While the views from Marmot pass are nice, they are not much more than that; you really need to get higher up to appreciate the beauty of the area. A shorter option is a small knoll to the south of the pass, a longer one is Mnt Buckhorn to the north, with thin obvious trails leading to both destinations. Buckhorn it was, once all four of us agreed we’re fine with finishing up the trip with headlamps (it was nearly 5pm by the time we arrived at the pass). A dusty scree leading up to the first two bumps, and a pleasant albeit short rocky scramble to the summit of Buckhorn. Great views of the mountains to the south, plus both Mnt Baker and Mnt Rainier visible despite the haze. We took our time enjoying the summit: the advantage of showing up late in the day was having it all to ourselves.
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