Escaping The Nutshell
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Getting to Wild Basin at about 9:30 on a Sunday morning, it was jam packed. The Wild Basin Ranger Station parking area was full, so we ended up parking at the horse trailer parking area (about 8400 ft elevation) which is a half mile east of the Finch Lake Trailhead. We were the first vehicle to park there, but within five minutes it was full.
There's a trail that connects the horse trailer parking area with the Finch Lake Trail. It seems that everyone who parks east of the ranger station walks along the heavy traffic dusty road to the main parking area, with no awareness that there's a more relaxing alternative a few feet away.
Starting at about 10:00, we hiked the half mile to the Finch Lake Trailhead, then up that trail to the top of the moraine forming the south side of Wild Basin, and on to the intersection with the Calypso Cascades Trail. It started raining on this stretch, so we waited it out for a few minutes under a tree.
In spite of every parking spot in Wild Basin being taken, we met only four people from the start of our hike to Calypso Cascades. From the cascades we hiked the 0.9 miles to Ouzel Falls. The Ouzel Falls bridge was still out from the flood, but a nice steel truss bridge was under construction a few feet downstream.
Unable to cross Ouzel Creek at the falls, we hiked upstream along the creek, then crossed over on some logs in the old burn area, finally making our way to the Ouzel/Bluebird Lake Trail.
On this trail, we headed east a few tenths of a mile to the T-intersection where right goes to Ouzel Falls and left goes to the Thunder Lake Trail. Turning left, we went 0.3 miles to the Thunder Lake Trail, then turned right on the Camper's Bypass Trail which was 1.3 miles to the Copeland Falls Trail, and another 1.4 miles back to the ranger station. From the ranger station we hiked back along the road until it crossed the creek, then followed the trail back to our parking, returning at about 15:44.
Total elevation change was about 1600 feet, and distance about 9 miles.
© 2012-2015 Stefan Hollos and Richard Hollos
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