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Keechelus Ridge
posted by John : June 15, 2007

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End of the road

At the bright and shiny time of 10:45 we pulled out of the driveway. Amy was taking Henry to visit some friends and run errands. Rather than sit at home and relive the days before Henry we (I) had decided we'd go looking for Baker Lake on Keechelus Ridge.

Crossing Snoqualmie Pass the rain made it hard to see more than a few lanes away. As we climbed on Forest Service roads the rain drops got smallers, but only because we were now in the midst of the clouds. Visibility was even worse, but the roads were familiar so not a big deal. (The same roads provide access to favorite spots like Lake Lillian.)

Unfortunately, at 4,300 feet we ran into snow. We knew it was likely we'd find snow eventually, but this patch was only a hundred feet wide and a foot or so deep. Deep enough, though, to block our way. Had we been with someone else I think we could have driven through it, but with just the girls and Tokul it seemed more prudent to get out and play for a bit.

Strangely, there was a tent right before the snow, but no vehicles. (There was a single track through the snow that might have been a motorcycle.) Nobody came out in spite of the noise the girls made so I assume nobody was home.

We walked through the snow a bit, found a swampy little lake, and climbed some rocks. All in the misty rain soaking us thoroughly. I tried to get Clara to wear my gaiters, but they really didn't fit and clearly weren't her style.

The highlight was probably finding some beargrass just starting to bloom. Clara's been fascinated by beargrass since we saw it on a show about Mt. Rainier. I see it frequently on hikes into the mountains, but where Clara usually gets to she doesn't see it so when we saw it, and blooming, she was thrilled. She surprised me by touching it (I never have) and declaring it felt just like corn. Go figure.

Back at the truck I stripped the girls and changed them into their travelling clothes, aka sweats. We had some hot chocolate and headed down the mountain to a lake I knew we could drive right to. Resort Creek Pond was a destination of a nightshoe last winter and right on the road. We parked and ate lunch looking out foggy windows at the lake where the rain "sparkled" on the lake (according to Clara).

In total, we walked about half a mile round trip and gained maybe 100 feet. The snow will be melted out in a few weeks so we'll probably head back to try for Baker Lake again.

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