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Marble Peak summit above

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Marble Peak was yet another goal that’s been on the back burner. The real crux and the only thing that kept us from it was the South Fork Stillaguamish River. Hence I could see why the peak doesn’t get many visitors.

The water level was higher during this time last year if I remembered correctly. Back then, I brought an inflatable raft in an attempt to cross the river. The raft came with a 200-lbs capacity that I thought would suffice. But just before I got inside the raft, I realized I never factored in my gear weight. Better luck next time!

Access: Marble Pass historical signage
Round Trip: 5 miles
Elevation Range: 1480′-5160′
Gear: helmet, microspikes, crampons, ice ax
GPS Track: available

Fording the Stillaguamish River

This time we came back with a raft twice the capacity. Since we, or instead, I wanted to put the pursuit to rest once and for all. My only concern for the crossing was the potentially high water level from the spring snowmelt. But after some surveying, I decided to ford the river instead. The water was waist high at its shallowest with the least rapids.

Glad the temperature wasn’t nearly as cold as wading the Miller River. Once we got to the south side, I wrung out the water on my long johns and changed into boots. For the wet brush bash, I used gaiters, waterproof jacket, and pack cover to keep from getting soaked. The forest was still damp of rainwater from the day before.

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Marble Peak Northwest Ridge Traverse

Diving right into the light brush behind the rocky shore, we got through some down trees in the wetland. Then we hopped on the northwest ridge and started the fight through more dead trees to 2500′. The brush on the steep terrain consisted of devils club and slide alder. We found game trails on occasion and followed until they dwindled.

Beyond 3500′, there were a couple of sections of steep steps which we bypassed on the left. Eventually, the terrain flattened at 3800′. Here blueberry bushes replaced the slide alder and devils club as we battled our way through to 4000′. Then at 4100′, we dropped down 50′ on the east to bypass a massive outcrop. We regained the ridge crest at 4150′.

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Final Push to Marble Peak Summit

The ridgeline narrowed as the terrain steepened. Off to my left were the unnerving views down into Marble Gulch. A few sections with trees growing on the crest we had to bypass from the west. Then at 5000′, I put on crampons for the 100′ steep snow up to the north saddle. From here, the summit block looked nearly vertical.

But after we traversed the snow arête to the south side, everything looked much better. I stashed snow gear in the trees, and then we proceeded to finish off the last bit of the climb. We got through a small section of loose rocks using solid ledges and good handholds. With a few more steps and we were finally on the broad summit of Marble Peak.

See more trip photos here.

Another Fine Vantage Point on Marble Peak

Just like on Hall Peak, all that type 2 grunting and cursing came with a rewarding view on top. Though, the brush fight on this peak was nowhere nearly as bad as Hall Peak. After taking a few seconds to catch my breath, I immediately saw the dramatic landscape to the southwest. Not to mention the impressive cirque above Copper Lake.

Copper Lake was truly a hidden gem! Besides seeing it from Vesper Peak, the sight of the lake basin from here couldn’t have been any more direct. What a gorgeous day with everything in sight visible. Morning Star Peak, Del Campo Peak, Mount Pilchuck, Gunn Peak, Glacier Peak, Whitehorse Mountain, Three Fingers, Devils Peak, oh my.

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Extended Summit Stay Plus Outro

Since we most likely won’t revisit Marble Peak anytime soon, we enjoyed an extended stay before leaving the summit. Getting back down the brushy section of the ridge was just as slow as coming up. But the blueberry bushes were much more comfortable to fight through on the way down.

I was not looking forward to the river crossing at the bottom.

Back to the beginning

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The post Marble Peak Northwest Ridge / 大理石峯西北脊 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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See you next time

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Lion Rock sits on top of the long-running Table Mountain range. I vaguely remembered seeing the peak from Flag Mountain as it didn’t look very distinct from below. After yesterday’s strenuous outing, I found this new and relaxing hike east of the crest.

The Lowdown on Lion Rock

Access: Table Mountain Road (end of the pavement)
Round Trip: 6 miles
Elevation Range: 5680′-6360′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available

Table Mountain Road to End of the Pavement

Since I haven’t driven on this particular road before, it was exciting to explore the new surroundings. The scenery was amazing as we got higher on the winding road. And the view down to Kittitas Valley was gorgeous on this day. It was getting pretty warm close to noon, and the sun was on full blast.

The forest service website on 5/8 updated that the road was impassible half a mile past the 3500/114 junction. But even if we couldn’t get farther, it’d only be a 10-mile roundtrip of leisurely hiking. Luckily, more snow had melted off since then, so I drove two more miles to the end of the pavement.

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A Leisurely Hike on Table Mountain Road

I parked by the pavement to get in the exercise, even though we could potentially drive farther on gravel. A few vehicles came in and continued uphill as we were getting ready. After a quarter of a mile, we came upon the first big snow patch. All the cars turned around here. The view of both Mount Rainier and Mount Adams from the road came as a surprise.

I had read about this being one of those scenic summits where one could drive to or near the top. So it was pleasant to not to see any vehicles around because of the snow. Snow on the road meant a good chance of quiet time. We soon arrived at the road sign marking the Haney Meadow/Lion Rock junction.

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Road Junction to Lion Rock Summit

From the junction, the .75-mile hike to the summit was mostly muddy. As the snow was beginning to melt out, we could no longer trust it to hold our weight. I found out the hard way by repeatedly punching through to the puddles underneath. So we hiked on the side of the road for the remainder of the approach.

The road took us to the summit. And the first that lit up my eyes was the Stuart Range to the west. I couldn’t remember the last time we got a clear view of the range from east of Highway 97. Apart from the two volcanoes, the scenery up here was much better than expected!

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Summit Views Plus Outro

Although trees obscured the view to the eastern half of the summit, the real views were on the west side. Stuart Range, Teanaway Backcountry, and Alpine Lakes Wilderness high points dominated the northwestern skyline. Mount Adams was hiding behind trees.

After an enjoyable summit stay, we walked the roads back to the car.

Thanks for another gorgeous day

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The post Lion Rock on Table Mountain / 桌山上的獅子岩 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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Goat Mountain closeup

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Goat Mountain in Salmon La Sac has been on the back burner for many years. Despite having admired it from other high points, the reason for putting it off had always been the long-drawn approach. This trip marked our third time on the Davis Peak trail in 10 years. Other than the worn out trail signs and the old burn, nothing much has changed.

The Lowdown on Goat Mountain 6600

Access: Davis Peak Trailhead
Round Trip: 13.6 miles
Elevation Range: 2600′-6600′
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, microspikes
GPS Track: available

Davis Peak Steep South Ridge

The hike started with a brief descent to the Cle Elum River bridge crossing. After gaining about 600′ of moderate elevation and a leisurely walk through the semi-open forest, the trail then steadily steepened. The path weaved through the old burn in the open and then got back into the dense forest higher up.

The myriad of switchbacks offset the steep terrain and made the ascent more enjoyable. Through small openings in the forest, the views mainly comprised Hawkins Mountain and Cle Elum Lake. At one point we stumbled upon a curious young deer scoping us out on the trail. Snow began to appear at around 5000′.

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Davis Peak Southwest to Davis Peak Central

I was still able to hike comfortably in boots while getting through sections of firm snow in the forest. We got out of the trees into another part of the old burn. Then we continued on the mostly snow-free switchbacks. We got our first look at the Davis Peak drainage just as the ridge flattened. There was still quite a bit of snow in the south basin, though snowshoes were optional at this point.

We continued on the ridge crest and slowly made our way through the timbered ridge up to the southwest peak. The partially snow-covered ridgeline to Davis Peak Central didn’t look conducive to cross for the pup. So halfway through, we dropped onto the south face to avoid punching through the snow.

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Getting Around Davis Peak North via Lake Terence Basin

From Davis Peak Central, I was able to determine our next move once I scoped out snow conditions. After getting down to the notch north of the summit, I poked my head into Opal Lake Basin. But there wasn’t enough snow to plunge step yet still too much snow to scramble on rocks. So, we went with the other option and bypassed the north summit from the west.

We stayed high through Lake Terence Basin while sidestepping on steep slopes. I put on snowshoes before a buttress, and then we got around it to get to the north side. From Davis-Goat, a quick descent on the gentle northeast ridge got us down to the saddle. Then we climbed into the basin above Lake Michael. Maybe because I wasn’t looking, but I don’t remember ever seeing the lake.

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Goat Mountain South Peak to Main Summit

From the pass south of Goat Mountain’s south peak, I checked out the basin below the main summit. I wanted to see the conditions of the connecting ridge, but hard to do so from the pass. So we got up to the south peak. Once again, just enough snow to complicate things. We backtracked down to the saddle.

Since the ridge option was out, we went with our other option of going through the south basin. At first, the southern aspect looked steep from the pass, but it wasn’t the case once we got on it. We took a much-needed food break at 200′ below the summit before the final push up to the top.

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Nap Time Goat Mountain Summit

On the summit, I made sure we were as far away from the cornices on the eastern edge. Then the pup and I took a long overdue nap. The most exhausting part of this trip was having to lose and gain back elevation over three ridges. Although snow conditions were excellent, some parts were sketchy due to the steep incline.

There were trees on this elongated summit, and views to the north were a bit spotty. But we could easily walk around to the north side and get the full scenery. All in all, the summit did provide a 360-degree view if we moved to different spots. But we spent most of our time on exposed rocks on the south end.

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Outro Through Davis Peak

Like Davis Peak, Goat Mountain got the best of both worlds as far as views go. With Teanaway Backcountry high points to the east and the dramatic landscape of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the west. The Cradle, Mount Stuart, Hawkins Mountain, Bears Breast Mountain, Mount Daniel, Chimney Rock, Hibox Mountain, to name a few.

We reversed our route for the most part and cut through steep terrain wherever we could. Back on Davis Peak Middle, we traveled southeast toward the lookout and then cut down into the forest. Back on the south ridge, we noticed new boot tracks that stopped just short of the basin.

Thanks for another wonderful day

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The post Goat Mountain via Davis Peak / 經戴維斯峯上山羊山 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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Mission Ridge up ahead

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We slept in this morning and got a late start on the day. I didn’t plan on getting out today, but then the glorious sunshine lured me in again. While looking for a new hike that didn’t require snow gear, I realized we could go to Mission Ridge.

The Lowdown on Mission Ridge

Access: East Fork Mission Creek Road
Round Trip: 10 miles
Elevation Range: 2120′-4963′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available

East Fork Mission Creek Road

Mission Ridge was going to be our last Saturday’s plan. But that was before I found out about the last week of skiing at the ski resort. And after studying the terrain, I realized by entering from the resort side would have taken us longer. So thanks to Dan Lauren‘s report, we took the shorter approach through the City of Cashmere.

As soon as we got to the parking area, a few dirt bikers came out of the road closure gate. They then quickly disappeared after getting onto another route. At first, I thought we had to take the road but ended up taking the dirt road next to it. The path looked to be the bikers’ stomping ground judging from the tread marks.

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Road Washout by the Second Creek Crossing

The sun was blasting when we started hiking. Thanks to the tall trees we were in the shade most of the time. After crossing the first creek on some small tree branches, another group of bikers came up after us. Before long, we caught up to the same people before the major washout at the second crossing.

One of the bikers nearly flipped his bike over while attempting to ride it through the creek. So he decided to come back to this side after getting help from his partners to get his bike upright. Then the pup and I walked by the washout and crossed on small logs farther up the creek.

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North Slopes to Mission Ridge Summit

We made a third creek crossing at the two-mile mark. Then we left the road on the other side and scrambled up steep slopes through down trees. The terrain flattened above 3000′, but it stayed forested with lots of down trees. We followed one of the many undulating ribs to Point 4234 and then dropped down onto the western saddle.

From the down tree-infested saddle, we got up toward Point 4508 and then picked up the Mission Ridge Trail. The trail bypassed two knobs from the east while traveling south, and then it hugged the ridge crest past 4600′. The last 300′ of hiking was on gentle terrain; we left the trail at 4800′ and headed up to the summit.

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Mission Ridge Summit

We arrived on a summit that had trees the north, so not much to see in that direction. The only good view we got was the long-running ridge of Mission Peak to the south. I almost didn’t notice Mount Lillian sitting behind Point 5621 until it was time to head down.

There were also views of Teanaway and the Stuart Range to the west. But I couldn’t get a better look at the specific peaks without the help of my zoom lenses. The summit was also too low to see into the City of Wenatchee. But I did get a glimpse of Badger Mountain farther north.

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Outro

We had a rather unexciting exit. Once we got back down to the mentioned saddle, the views were back to minimal. However, we found a better way to descend the rib and bypassed the down trees encountered on the way up. The two-mile road walk back to the car was nice and quiet.

So long

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The post Mission Ridge: Mission Fulfilled / 使命脊: 實現使命 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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Cascade Mountain North Peak above Francis Lake

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Cascade Mountain was a lot of work that resulted in minimal summit views. So, without moping about what we couldn’t see, pup and I visited its northern neighbor for a view do-over. For context, Cascade Mountain North Peak sits 1.5 miles north of the main summit.

The Lowdown on Cascade Mountain North Peak

Access: West Fork Miller River Road
Round Trip: 10 miles
Elevation Range: 1280′-5553′
Gear: helmet, snowshoes, ice ax, crampons
GPS Track: available

Miller River Road to Miller River Crossing

Just like last weekend, we hiked through the same tree debris and a washout section in the first 2.5 miles. We overshot the turnoff by a quarter of a mile before turning around to the big log over the trail. And thanks to puzzler‘s detailed report, I located the same crossing over Miller Creek shortly after leaving the trail.

Due to the higher level of spring water, I had to ford the frigid water. So with boots and gaiters in hands, I wobbled over pebbles in knee-high water to the other side. The feeling was similar to a brain freeze but for the feet. Meanwhile, the pup enjoyed his swim and did two laps. Burr.

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North Slopes Approach

From the south side, we crossed the stream flowing out of Francis Lake to the east. Another report advised to stay within earshot of the stream, so we did just that. We got atop a boulder-stacked feature as the terrain steepened, and then unexpectedly found the faint climbers’ trail. We traveled straight south from 3,400′ to the lake.

Slide alder had buried several sections of the trail. At times, it was tempting to bypass the brush by moving farther away from the stream and lose the trail. But I stuck to my instinct and continued through to find the path reappear on the other side. We followed the trail through steep slopes until snow took over at 3800′.

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Getting Around Francis Lake

After another 500′ of steep snowshoeing, we got up into Francis Lake Basin. The snow-covered lake was three times the size of Gouging Lake. It also had a peninsula on the north end. The only sound we heard in the basin was the occasional cawing of the two ravens swirling overhead. I almost felt guilty for disturbing the serenity of this place.

I took a few minutes to admire the beauty of the lake before continuing. We walked counterclockwise along the western shore through old avalanche debris. Snow on the slopes had just the right amount of consistency to sidestep comfortably at 20-25′ above water level. We got to the south end and then took a short break in the forest.

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Upper Basin Plus North Ridge

Despite the cliff bands above the lake, we managed to locate a steep snow ramp. From there we climbed up a narrow gully and continued through open forest. Then at 5000′ we broke out of the trees into the upper basin. There we got our first full view of today’s destination: Cascade Mountain North Peak.

Despite the warm afternoon temperatures, snow stayed firm throughout. From east of the basin, we headed straight south toward the summit. The notch 150′ below the top on the north ridge was a great place to regroup. Afterward, we climbed up to the ridge crest and got our first look at the steep east face.

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Cascade Mountain North Peak Summit

I switched to crampons and put on the helmet for the steep ridge traverse. We stayed below the crest on the slopes while overlooking Tumwater Lake Basin. Along the way, we punched through gaps in places with trees. Finally, in the final 20′ I was able to walk up to the elongated summit.

Despite the dense forest on the south end of the summit, we were able to see just about everything. By peering around tree branches, I could also see the dramatic Cascade Mountain main summit to the south. The arête and cornices on top of the mountain were still visible.

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Summit Stay Plus Descent

Even with spotty views to the south, I could see many of the high points north of the Snoqualmie Pass area. Snoqualmie Mountain and Chair Peak, Kaleetan Peak, to name a few. As always, Mount Rainier was smiling at us in the far south.

Views nearby included Lennox Mountain, Canoe Peak, Dog Mountain, Malachite Peak, plus some Wild Sky Wilderness summits. Farther east were Mount Daniel, Mount Hinman, Bears Breast Mountain, and Summit Chief Mountain. So many places I have yet to climb!

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Back to Francis Lake and outThanks for a great day

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The post Cascade Mountain North Peak / 喀斯喀特山北峯 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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Cascade Mountain behind Gouging Lake

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Today was a dramatic scenery change from yesterday’s outing. The first time we hiked on the Miller River Road was seven years ago on our way to Lennox Mountain. Then four years ago we got a late start and got as far as Gouging Lake before calling it quits. This time I wanted to see the mountain up close.

The Lowdown on Cascade Mountain

Access: West Fork Miller River Road
Round Trip: 14.6 miles
Elevation Range: 1280′-5591′
Gear: snowshoes, ice ax, microspikes
GPS Track: available

Miller River Road to Coney Creek Crossing

Road conditions hadn’t changed much since our last visit. However, there was a new pile of down trees in the first mile. Then we bypassed a short section of washed out trail in mile 2. Otherwise, the hike to Coney Creek crossing at mile 3 was at times rocky but overall smooth sailing.

I couldn’t remember where the heck we crossed the raging Coney Creek the last time. So this time we first went upstream but couldn’t find a safe place to cross. Then we headed 250′ downstream from the trail and found log debris with rocks to hop to the other side.

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Coney Creek to Miller River Crossing

Despite the occasional postholing after the crossing, there still wasn’t enough snow on the ground to put on snowshoes. Since the section beyond the creek doesn’t get nearly as much foot traffic, it was naturally brushier. Even so, the 1.5-mile hike to Miller Creek was a breeze.

Glad I had marked the log crossing on my GPS and located it even before we got off the trail. The big log in full body-width wasn’t too wet, but it was a bit slippery. So I crossed in microspikes to avoid sliding into the raging river at six feet below.

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Final Creek Crossing to Gouging Lake

Our third and the least time-consuming creek crossing took place at 2400′. It got us to the south side of the unnamed creek flowing out of Gouging Lake. For the next 1500′ we headed southeast on steep slopes toward the lake basin. The terrain was mostly brushy until we had full snow coverage.

I put on snowshoes in the last 600′ up to the lake. The terrain steepened, but then it gradually flattened once closer to the outlet. After taking a quick break, we continued snowshoeing clockwise around the lake to the southwest end.

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Water Gully to West Slopes

The lower section of the gully was steep with broken snow in the center. We stayed to the left below the cliffs and got above the drainage using exposed rocks and small trees. Above the waterfall, we were back on full snow and continued uphill.

In the upper basin, we stayed on the right to avoid potential slide directly ahead. Once on the west ridge at 4700′, we then headed east through rolling hills to the base of the mountain. The 300′ leading to the craggy north shoulder was steep despite what the moderate contour lines on the map indicated.

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Snowing on Cascade Mountain

It started to snow after we got up to the north shoulder. I then changed out my wet layers, and we rested for a bit. From what I could tell, a snow arête with cornices covered what looked like a narrow summit ridge. The unanticipated snowfall on steep terrain complicated things a bit.

So, I asked the pup to keep an eye on the snowshoes and stay in the trees. Meanwhile, I went to tag the summit by myself. I wish I had packed crampons, but microspikes worked out fine on semi-soft, steep snow. The rocks on the west face looked much friendlier than approaching the arête from the north.

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Quick Summit Stay Plus Descent

It was hard to tell how much of the arête was part of the cornices. Or how much of it was on top of the ground. So I took just a few steps onto the snow with ice ax dug in deep. At the same time, I tried not to lean into anything. I took a quick video clip and then downclimbed to reunite with the pup.

Due to poor visibility, we waited around for a while until the clouds began to dissipate. Then we moved fast to get back down into the upper basin when the ridgeline reappeared. Even though I was still sliding in places with snowshoes, I needed them for the soft snow.

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Back to Gouging Lake and out

It was still snowing after we got back to the lake basin. But of course, all of the precipitation higher up would result in rain and wet vegetation lower down the mountain.

We reversed our route and repeated the three creek crossings. I picked up a dead plastic balloon on the way down to Miller River. It was much faster to cross Coney Creek on the way out.

Back to Gouging Lake

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The post The Elusive Cascade Mountain / 難以捉摸的喀斯喀特山 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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Lake Whatcom and Bellingham

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It rained well into the early hours; then it finally stopped around 8 AM. On our way to the Mission Ridge area, I realized that this was the final ski weekend. Not wanting to deal with the resort crowd or the 25+ mph wind forecast, I turned around before Snoqualmie Pass.

I only found out about Whacme Mountain on my way to the sunny Puget Sound area. According to user Redwic on SummitPost, the mountain goes by three different names: Haner, Whatcom-Acme, and Whacme. I like the last one the best.

The Lowdown on Whacme Mountain

Access: Lake Whatcom Park (park map)
Round Trip: 11 miles
Elevation Range: 360′-3087′
Gear: none
GPS track: available

Wickersham Truck Road Walk

From parking area 2, we walked past the gate and began hiking on the Wickersham Truck Road. Usually, I would prefer taking the trail when given as an option. But arriving past noon to a parking lot full of cars, we avoided the Chanterelle Trail altogether. Our preferred route choice also came with open views.

The road intersected the trail a few times before continuing southeast toward Whacme Mountain on its own. The few hikers, mountain bikers, and dogs we met along the way helped pass the time. We caught up to the group of bikers that passed us earlier while on their break. They were getting ready to head back down from the spur trail junction at mile 3.4.

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Continuing on an Unnamed Road

We continued and arrived at a three-way junction in less than half a mile. From there, we took the middle road through the power line and headed east. Then in half a mile at the next fork, the path veered north toward the summit. Before the road bend, we got some views toward the Twin Sisters Mountain in clouds.

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The Forested Whacme Mountain Summit

Finally, in less than one mile we arrived on the flat and forested summit. Trees on here grew so closely together that we couldn’t see anything. So after tagging the highest point, we came out of the forest onto the road. We sat facing east the whole time since most views were in that direction.

We spent a good hour hanging and waiting for clouds to move away from Mount Baker. Twin Sisters Mountain, however, slowly emerged right after we arrived. Up until now, I had no idea just how long of a range the mountain was. There were many distinct high points on that range: 14 summits to be exact.

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Puget Sound Islands

It was not possible to see the sound from here. So we hiked down to one of the several clearings northwest of the summit to check out the scenery. There was lots of logging debris along this side as well. Then pup and I met Andrew from WWU on his bike by the log pile. We chatted for a while before parting ways.

I could see many of the Puget Sound islands plus a couple of high points we had visited before. The identifiable summits were Lookout Mountain and Anderson Mountain. Lake Whatcom sat at the foothills west of this mountain, east of Bellingham. Oh, and there was also the view of Lyman Mountain back on the east side.

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Hiking out on Hertz Trail

I wanted to try something different on the down. First, from the viewpoint, we headed west downhill through light logging debris. Then at the bottom where a road used to be, we got trapped among massive down trees. Good thing we were able to dig ourselves out after bushwhacking for a short distance.

Just on the other side of the brush was a road. From there, we hiked one mile downhill and got back to the three-way junction. Back at the spur trail, we followed the steep mountain biking path down to Hertz Trail by the water. A mile and a half of strolling along the scenic Lake Whatcom and we were back to where we started.

Hertz Trail outro

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View of the mountain at last

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After yesterday’s outing, I planned to use today to recoup. But when we woke up to the Easter morning sunshine, I started scrolling through my phone for a new hike. Then I stumbled across some reports for the nearby Meadow Mountain.

This trip marked my second time in the Stampede Pass area. Interestingly, the first time I was here was in 2013 and almost to the day! I will have to come back to explore more when the roads are clear of snow.

The Lowdown on Dandy Mountain

Access: NF-5480 (Meadow Creek)
Round Trip: 4.5 miles
Elevation Range: 2520′-4360′
Gear: snowshoes
GPS track: available

Driving to the Starting Point

Lost Lake Road was still under a layer of snow the last time I was here. Although, at the time I didn’t realize underneath all that snow was all the potholes. They sure made the 1.5-mile drive to the southern end of Keechelus Lake an annoying one.

I had a hunch that Meadow Mountain wasn’t yet accessible before we got to NF-5483 turn-off. Judging from past trip reports, it looked like most activities took place from late spring to fall. So, I was right. The road was nowhere near being clear.

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Last-Minute Plan B

With weak cell reception by the lake, I found the readily accessible Dandy Mountain just 1.5 miles away. So I parked by the snow berm east of Meadow Creek. From there, we started snowshoeing southbound on the spur road.

From the clearing by the powerline, we left the road and headed south. We moved quickly through the thinner vegetation in the lower elevation. Then the growth got denser just before we intersected NF-5484.

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Making Our Way to Stampede Ridge

The dense forest above NF-5484 didn’t look much fun. As I looked around for a good entry, I noticed a small gully at the road bend. Peeking up from the bottom, the semi-open pathway looked like a much better alternative than the road.

So for the next 400′, we went up the steep gully and got onto a spur road. We took a break and enjoyed our first full view of Keechelus Lake across the basin. Unable to find another good entry back into the forest, we tried our luck farther west down the road.

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Road Walk on Stampede Ridge

The less brushy northwest slopes with thin vegetation provided direct access up to the ridge. Views to the north from the snowmobile track-covered ridgetop were excellent. There we got on NF-5400-332 and walked southwest toward today’s destination: Dandy Mountain.

For the half a mile walk, the road hugged the ridgeline to just below east of the summit. Then it only took just minutes to get up to the top. Despite all of the snowmobile activities today, this broad summit remained untouched.

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Summit with Open Views

The only clearing on this broad summit happened to face the north side. Views to the other directions were all spotty. Luckily, through trees, I caught the top of Mount Rainier above thick clouds to the far south.

Keechelus Lake was undoubtedly today’s main attraction. Just above the lake were many familiar high points around Snoqualmie Pass. Snoqualmie Mountain, Mount Thomson, Red Mountain, Kendall Peak, to name a few.

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The Outro

The 2.25-mile one-way trip meant a faster descent. We reversed our route and quickly got down on the road above the steep gully. I savored the last view of the lake and peaks before we dove back into the forest and exited.

Last view

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The post Fine Weather on Dandy Mountain / 丹迪山上天氣晴朗 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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Can’t seem to keep his kool

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The Lowdown on Keep Kool Butte and Welcome Butte

Access: NF-3060
Round Trip: 11 miles
Elevation Range: 2000′-5922′
Gear: snowshoes
GPS Track: available

Long Drive to Welcome Pass Road

Overnight the Central Cascades weather forecast went from mostly sunny to mostly cloudy. And after two consecutive weekends of minimal sun exposure, I desperately needed sunshine. So after driving past Sultan, I turned the car around toward I-5. It was off to plan B!

The additional two and a half hour drive put us on the service road in the late morning. I parked before the first rut, and then we started walking. Another 500′ ahead was a second rut that looked worse for low-clearance vehicles. Shortly past that point, at mile 0.3, was the big down tree noted on the forest service website. We continued to the trailhead at mile 1.5.

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South Ridge Approach to Welcome Pass

The road-turned-trail was a walk in the park until we entered the wilderness boundary. After climbing steadily on the south ridge for 1000′, the first snow patch finally appeared at 4200′. Then I put on snowshoes in another 500′ and kept them on for the remainder of the climb.

The view from the pass down to Damfino Creek Basin was excellent. Damfino Peak and Welcome Butte on the left; the massive Tomyhoi Peak to the right. The trees behind us obstructed the views to the south, including Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. We headed east and continued on the High Divide.

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Ridge Traverse Through Point 5745

Despite our late morning start and the warm temperatures, the snow had stayed firm. Views of mountains in the southern skyline slowly poured in just below the south ridge of Point 5745. Then we made a rising traverse and bypassed Point 5745 from the east down to the saddle. Meanwhile, the views just kept getting better.

From the saddle, we ascended the steep southwest ridge onto Keep Kool Butte’s false summit. The terrain here was the thin melting snow on the north and open slopes to the south. Then it was back to full snow coverage on the false summit. We stayed south of the ridge crest to avoid the cornices draping the north edge.

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Keep Kool Butte Summit

The final traverse up to the summit was moderate, accompanied by abounding views. So far, Keep Kool Butte was the closest I’d been to many places I want to climb east of here. Tomyhoi Peak, American Border Peak, Mount Larabee, Yellow Aster Butte, to name a few. Heavy cornice on the north side.

We were in the area less than a year ago climbing Barometer Mountain. But I need a backpacking trip so I can come back and enjoy more views like these. With my zoom lens, I noticed the pincer-like McMillan Spire together with Mount Challenger off in the distant Picket Range. I even got a look into Chilliwack, BC, pretty awesome!

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Back to Welcome Pass and onto Welcome Butte

After reversing our route back to the pass, we continued west on the High Divide toward Welcome Butte. By now the snow had softened, but breaking trail didn’t feel as physically taxing on moderate terrain. We got up to the south saddle through a group of trees by the semi-exposed cliff band.

The snow quality was better on the south ridge. We stayed on or east of the crest in firmer snow for the final traverse. The last 300′ to the top was an easy hike up. The elongated summit had a vertical drop-off to the east into the northeast basin. West slopes were bare and covered in heather.

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Back Down to Mount Baker Highway

It didn’t take long to get back to Welcome Pass. And back in the forest, the semi-soft snow made the descent much quicker. Then we made it back on solid ground at 4200′. Then we quickly got through all the switchbacks and back to the service road and walked back to the car.

Thanks for another fantastic day

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The post Welcome Pass and Two Buttes / 迎接山道加兩座孤峯 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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Boundary Butte, we see you

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We stayed the night out east after yesterday’s outing on Tronsen Ridge Peak. Then this morning we set off to our new destinations on Mountain Home Ridge. I got to check out Mountain Home Road on the Leavenworth side. Weather forecast for today was a 20% chance of snow and rain before 11 AM.

The Lowdown on Numbers Hill and Boundary Butte

Access: Mountain Home Road
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 2000′-3168′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available

Hiking Through the Neighborhood

I wanted to start the hike from the gate half a mile before the end of the country road. Unsure where to leave the car, a resident was gracious to let me park in their driveway. I met another local homeowner with two black labs on the way to the ridge.

The woman and I briefly hiked together before she and her labs turned around. Our pups played together in the meantime. She informed me of the recent purchase of the property that used to belong to Weyerhauser. Then she said if I ran into the new landowners, tell them I was her house guest. Our day to give many thanks indeed.

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Easy Ridge Traverse to the Lookout

We followed the road from the saddle and got on the Overlook Trail to head east. The route followed the ridgeline, and in half a mile it curved north. Numbers Hill marked the high point on this ridge. The new bench perched on the lookout was a surprise find.

Locals refer to the high point as Peshatin Lookout. As the small Community of Peshastin sat at the bottom of the foothills. I got to see the expansive east views out to Badger Mountain below the summit. The beautiful Wenatchee River wound through small towns and flowed into the Columbia River.

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Views from the Lookout

In contrast, the dramatic landscape sat to the west behind rows of sparse trees. Despite low morning clouds, high points like Wedge Mountain and Icicle Ridge were fully visible. Trees along the south ridge crest hid Boundary Butte from our view. I needed to get around a group of tall trees to get a good look at Tumwater Mountain.

Even at this low elevation, I could see the tip of Cannon Mountain in slow moving clouds. I kept my fingers crossed to get a glimpse of Cashmere Mountain once we got to Boundary Butte. It began to flurry before we left the lookout.

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En Route to Boundary Butte

We moved as fast as we could to get off the private land. From the Overlook Trail junction, pup and I got on the ridge trail and headed south. I knew I’d feel much better once we were back inside the national forest boundary. Before long, we were at the Mountain Home Ridge Trailhead.

Following Road 570, we got around the ridge coming off Point 2892. Pup and I spent some time trying to get on the ridge crest. But eventually, the brushy terrain forced us back onto the road.

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North Slopes Finish

My map showed Road 570 continued south to Road 500 below the summit. In reality, the section that extended south before the stream crossing no longer existed. And pup and I soon found ourselves in dense brush and we returned to the main road.

We crossed the stream and headed south on north slopes. But the closer we got to the summit the denser the brush. Meanwhile, it took some strategic route finding to bypass the massive slide alder. Finally, we reached Road 500 below the radio facility and walked to the summit.

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Summit Views on Boundary Butte

Being 500′ higher than Numbers Hill, views were for sure better up here. To the west, we saw more of the Icicle Creek Canyon plus Cashmere Mountain. But then we lost the expansive views out to the east from this summit.

The other notable high points included Horse Lake Mountain, Mission Ridge, Tiptop, and Natapoc Mountain. From here we got a full view of the City of Leavenworth.

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Outro

We followed Road 500 for different scenery on the way down. Then we headed north on the adjacent ridge before scrambling down to connect up with Road 553. But before we could reach Road 550, Road 553 ended as the map indicated.

Glad we only had to scramble a bit to get on Road 550 and hike down to Mountain Home Road. Then a quarter of a mile hike on the county road got us right back to the car.

Thanks for a day with good views

See more trip photos here.

The post Numbers Hill + Boundary Butte / 數字山丘+邊界孤峯 appeared first on One Hike A Week / 每週一行.

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