Sunday, July 13, 2014

Little Mason Lake 2014-07-13

6.99 miles and 2,837 feet of elevation gain.

Rather than start at the Ira Springs trailhead, we parked on the north side of I-90 Exit 42 by the "shooting range".  A nice boot path follows Mason Creek up the hill and intersects with the road about 0.2 miles from the trail head.  We crossed the road and continued uphill.  It's an easy hike until you're almost to the main trail then it is a bushwhack the last few hundred feet to the trail.  You do get some good views of the creek cascading down the rocks.  On the way down, we just stuck to the main trail, it didn't seem to take much longer even though it is much farther.

Google Maps link

Mason Lake

Blue enjoyed wading in the lake.


 Amazing, a picture where you can see Sly's eyes.
 Little Mason Lake with Mt Defiance

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mount Constitution 2014-07-08

10.6 miles and 2,879 feet of elevation gain.

We did a counterclockwise loop which provided us with a descent when we were in the sun exposed area.  The down hill portion of the hike is on a mountain bike trail with many ad hoc jumps added along the way.  Fortunately, no one came speeding down the trail while we were on it, but it would have been fun to see people take some of the jumps.
 Google Maps link

On the trail

Almost to the top.  You can drive to the top of Mt Constitution and with the summer crowds we didn't have an opportunity to take any pictures. 

We did come across mountain bikes on this trail.  It was at a turn, I heard them coming and got of off the trail.  They slowed down, caution on a blind turn or did they hear me calling Blue?

This isn't a very big jump but as soon as you land you have to make an immediate 90 degree left turn or end up falling into an eight foot deep rock raven. 

Blue checking out another jump.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Orcas Island Wild Rieley's Ranch July 2014

We were invited to Orcas Island for a stay at Wild Riley's.  This is our friends vacation house located on eight acres with a guest cabin, a pond, and open areas for the dogs to run around and chase balls.  It is very relaxing, so much so that I forgot to take pictures of the cabin or the house.  The house has a gorgeous river rock chimney.  We did a couple of small hikes on Turtleback Mountain and a big hike on Mount Constitution (separate post). 

Google Maps link to Orcas Island

Wild Riley's

Turtleback Mountain from Crow Valley.

Looking down on the south end of the valley.  The sun was not in a good position for taking pictures.

West Sound

 The next day we did a short walk up to a viewpoint at the north end of the mountain.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Navaho Peak 2014-06-23

12.37 miles and 4,271 feet of elevation gain

This hike is in the Teanaway area outside of Cle Elum, WA.  We drove over the pass Sunday afternoon and camped at the one campsite adjacent to the Stafford Creek trail head parking area.  I never noticed this campsite before, but then I was never looking for a place to camp.

Nf-9703 is a notoriously bad road and a couple of years ago a portion was closed while they were logging along the road.  That portion of the road has been graded and, while not a good road, it is at least reasonably flat with no large rocks sticking out of the ground.

We hit the trail before anyone else arrived and had the trail to ourselves until we hit the main trail after completing the loop.  There is an avalanche area you pass through and you can sometimes see that a few trees where snapped off during the winter.  This year, almost all the trees were snapped off and most had the tree carried some distance down the hill leaving only the stumps.    

After leaving Navaho Peak, we quickly worked our way through the trees and attained the ridge much early than our trip last year.  This avoided a steep rocky section we hit last year.  Some snow was still on the ridge in a few spots.

After crossing the County Line trail, a boot path exists along the ridge that you can occasionally see.  This is the trail for the Three Brothers mountain.  Sly and I just followed Blue, he has a real knack for finding the trail as long as there aren't any squirrels to distract him.  The route along the end of the ridge and the descent into the saddle is on a steep slope with loose rocks.  I make sure I know exactly where I'm stepping.     

Google Maps link   Switch to Terrain for a better view

Along the lower portion of the trail.

The edge of the avalanche area.

The hill is not very steep at this point.  The avalanche still had a enough force to snap almost all the trees and carry them down hill and across the creek.

It is hard to see in this picture, but many of  the snap off trees were carried to the other side of the creek.  Notice the damaged areas on the larger trees on the other side.

The only real creek crossing along the trail.  This area also had an avalanche.

A wet area full of flowers.

Chasing sticks in the meadow, popular camping area.

Sly taking his last cool break about 1/3 of a mile from Navaho Pass.  This is the last water until we close the loop after ascending Navaho Peak.

Navaho Pass

Happy dogs on top of Navaho Peak

Mt Rainier and, if you look closely on left side, Mt St Helens 105 miles away.

 The Stewart Range

Looking back up the ridge towards Navaho Peak.

Looking down the ridge

The intersection with County Line trail.

 Almost to the end of the ridge.  Blue kept stopping and looking back.

 He was looking at the deer that were looking at us.

 The end of the ridge.  Descending this ridge is the only risking part of the hike.

Water at last!  Almost back to the main trail.

Color along the trail.  These are all from the lower part of the trail.

If you have never eaten a ripe wild strawberry, you have never actually tasted a strawberry.