Nice hike today with Derek, his call, Granite Mountain. This is a tough hike but not a killer. However, winter has come early to the mountain as we hit snow at maybe 4,700 feet (summit is 5,600). Near the summit we were slipping and sliding.
Maybe .3 mile from the summit there is a discouragingly steep section, considering how much effort it takes to get to the point where you can look up at this:
But having come so far, you might as well keep going and so we did. It really is beautiful in the snow on a mountain:
About 8 miles, 3,700 feet of elevation gain, great hike. Saw not quite a half dozen people on what is, during the summer on a weekend, like downtown Seattle with the crowds.
Great hike today with Carl. We went up the Change Creek Trail, took the Pond shortcut to the Olallie bike trail (still not officially open) to the Great Wall, south to the service road, east along that road a mile or so, then north to Songbird Peak. Same route back.
Perfect day. It was cool and cloudy in the early going, just right for that steep beginning, but by the time we got to the bike trail the sun was out and the views were incredible.
13.1 miles, about 3,600 feet of elevation gain, a really nice hike.
I did my new conditioning hike today. When I do this I will not put in a new post, I will just add a note to this one.
This is Squak Mountain in a very vanilla way. No forest trail – this is the South Access Road, it goes almost straight up to the top, where there is a microwave tower. I have no idea what kind of maintenance they do on a microwave tower, but whatever kind it is, they use this road (which has a locked gate near the start) to get there.
However, it is not at all illegal to hike right up this road. I saw a couple of other people today, and near the parking lot, which is on SE May Valley Road (and requires a Discover Pass) there are three or four houses.
This is pleasantly steep and you can get as tough a workout as you like, just adjust your speed accordingly. As usual, my speed was slow (75 minutes to the top) but fairly steady.
Anyway, if you look at the picture above, you see a short stretch close to the bottom (they are building a new home on the right) that is level, and notice the hill. Well, that’s about how it is the entire 2.6 miles up.
When you get there, you know where you are:
And the “view” is not exactly spectacular:
But this is a conditioning hike, not one for views or spectacular forest. It is like a 2.6 mile long treadmill, but outside in the woods. More fun than the gym.
Awesome hike today with Carl. We started up the Ira Springs Trail just after 7. I am a slow poke and didn’t make it to the summit of Little Bandera until about 9:40 or so. But don’t let the word ‘little’ in ‘Little Bandera’ fool you.
It is ‘little’ only because it is a false summit. Another 1/2 mile or so on a ridge gets you to Bandera Mountain, but most people settle for Little Bandera since the summit has no views (trees block the view) and the short hike there is not interesting.
This hike is interesting in spades. Here is what it looks like near the summit – it is a boulder scramble:
Generally, I would say this hike has 3 distinct sections.
The first section, about 1.5 miles, is on a nice trail and has a relatively gentle elevation gain. We make pretty good time here.
You hit a very obvious spot where it is suddenly steep. And it stays steep up until about 2.7 miles, where there is a sign directing you either to Mason Lake (go left) or Bandera (go up).
This is the third section and it is what makes this hike so challenging. It is pretty much straight up for more than a half mile, including sections where you are not “hiking”, you are looking for ways to make progress over and across boulders. Very tough coming down as well.
But it is rewarding, as the views up there are awesome, and the workout to get there is the best.
On the way down, Carl noticed a plane or glider slipping by. Looked like this person was having fun. Hard to get in the frame, it is in the lower right of this picture:
6.8 miles, just under 3K elevation gain, check out the elevation profile in the track below:
Another solo hike, nice day, good workout but still a fail because I was unable to achieve my goal.
I wanted to continue south on the Change Creek trail, past the pond trail, around the Change Creek gorge to check out the bottom of a trail I spotted going down from the Great Wall. But the trail south of the pond trail is gone, replaced by a solid wall of bushes and small trees.
So I made a quick decision to take the pond trail and see what it looked like on the other side. I knew the new Olallie bike trail was on the other side of the ravine but I had forgotten whether or not it was steep.
A view from the Change Creek trail:
It is pretty steep, and I calculated the bottom of the trail, if it existed, would be a good 1.5 miles south, since I spotted it not all that far north of the place where the Great Wall splits, going west to Mt. Washington or south and then east to Songbird Peak and Greenway.
The temperature was climbing and I didn’t feel like adding a possibly fruitless three mile back-and-forth on a steep trail so I reluctantly turned right and headed back via the Great Wall connector trail and the Mt. Washington trail.
A perfectly nice hike, great workout, fun, but not doing what I set out to do kind of stings. So I will be going back on my first weekend chance (I am avoiding the Great Wall on weekdays) to scope out the mystery trail from the top.
Speaking of mystery trails, I have, a couple of times, noticed a steep bank just off (south) of the IHT where someone has attached a rope to a tree to help boost yourself up. Every time I have noticed this quasi-trail it has been at the very beginning of a hike and I have forgotten exactly where it is located by the time the hike was over.
But today, having parked at the 2nd Exit 38 lot but having come down via Mt. Washington main trail, I had to walk east on the IHT. I noticed the rope and here is where it is: it is on the west end of the Change creek bridge. Another little trail to investigate.
Lots of rock climbers today:
At the very end of the hike, as I was about to walk underneath the Hall Creek bridge I heard what sounded like an explosion to my left, in the vicinity of Hall Creek. I was taken aback; I looked up to see several idiots on bikes tossing big rocks off the bridge. I yelled at them to let them know there were humans down there. I passed 3 people coming up and warned them.
I am not sure how to understand the thinking of people tossing rocks – big ones! – off a 150-foot high bridge onto an area where you can expect hikers to be hiking. Takes all kinds.
A nice solo hike to the summit of Mount Washington. I took the main trail up and the Great Wall down.
Turns out they are still doing some work on the trail during the week, as I was almost spied by a vehicle chugging along (I slipped a few yards down a ravine and made myself scarce before I could be seen) and near the junction of the Great Wall and Change Creek trail there was a cache of equipment.
So I guess I will stay off the Great Wall during the week until they officially re-open it.
I saw exactly two other hikers, both when I joined back up with the main trail on the way down. Truly, mid-week hiking is the way to go.
Our whole crew was spending a few days at Lincoln Rock, a wonderful state park/campsite near Wenatchee, in central Washington. The park is on the Columbia River, just upstream from the Rocky Reach dam. The dam has created a nice lake on which we have been known to swim and kayak. (no kayaks this time, weren’t able to haul them on top of Jill’s car)
We had no plans to hike so neither Derek nor I were quite prepared. In particular we did not have our hiking boots, which, as it turns out, would have come in very handy. But Derek looked up a hike called Devil’s Spur and we headed for that.
Turns out we were not real close to that trail but we did park next to the trail for Marion and Clara Lakes. We parked next door to the Mission Ridge ski lodge and headed up the trail.
We went a bit farther than the official trail and Derek’s phone app said we did 5.2 miles and it was about a thousand feet of elevation gain – not a huge effort but it was fun.
The trail head is at about 4,400 feet and we got up to about 5,400 feet which means we were in Marmot territory. We saw a few of those cute little furry creatures, along with chipmunks and some other sort of rabbit-like critter. Plenty of birds and flowers and the forest is beautiful.
This is a snowshoe trail in the winter and we talked about maybe coming back some time with the snow shoes and giving it a try. Plus, a half mile or so past the end of the trail we encountered the basalt talus and we were eyeing it for a potential adventure to the summit of the two peaks in that area.
This is where the hiking boots would have been nice since they would have offered protection against the scree. I decided to stop at the beginning of the scree field to save my shoes and feet from a beating.
Derek took a bunch of photos on his phone and when he gets a chance to send them I will update this post with those.
A fun hike on a beautiful day. I highly recommend this to anyone in the Wenatchee area looking for a moderate hike or healthy snow shoe.
No track and no pictures from last night. I met Derek and his brother Ryan and their friend Tommy last night when Derek got off work, after 9PM, and we drove to the Exit 38 picnic area parking lot to hike up to our view point on Hall Point.
Too dark for pictures, I didn’t record the track since I have done so many times.
Just wanted to note the event. The viewing was sub-par due to all of the smoke in the air (our area has been under assault from the BC forest fires, the air quality and visibility has been terrible for a couple of weeks) but we all saw at least a few meteors.
But meteors or not, just hiking with these guys, and the awesome music they brought along, in the dark, was more fun than you might think (not everyone, it is true, likes to hike along steep trails in the woods to the light of headlamps) but really, we had a terrific time.
We will head out again next year and hope for better viewing conditions.