Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mission Interrupted 10.27.09

I had hoped to get out and stretch the legs today and on that front, mission accomplished. I was excited to hear the predicted heavy snows in the mountains and hoped to see it first hand. As I made my way over Snoqualmie Pass it was really coming down and the plows were out in full force, so far so good. As I made my way to 97 the weather was clear, this was a surprise to me. I was hoping to use the Mission Ridge Trail to summit the ridge high point which is included in the Back Court 100. Since I had never been in Cashmere before it took an extra minute to locate the Mission Creek Road. Once on the road I was startled to find the multitude of broken down cars and trailers that litter a portion of the road. There was a man surrounded by 7 small dogs that looked scary enough for me to consider turning around and going home. To make matters worse I wasn't able to find the trailhead that I was looking for. I soon realized after backtracking a few times that the road is closed just past the junk piles which doesn't allow access to my trailhead. After thankfully passing Mr Mass Murder for the third time safetly I was forced to use the Sand Creek trailhead which thankfully separated by a few miles uphill from my source of uneasiness. I parked frequently looking over my shoulder as I suited up. My only consolation that somenone looking like that would never get away with anything that I was imaging. There was a trail going to my intended target but adding another 10 miles roundtrip on top of the 12 miles I was already planning I knew I had to make a change. There was a branch trail going to Red Hill, a named summit! Seemed like a worthy backup plan. The trail is graded for mountain bike riders and is lacking in steepness. Portions of the trail are muddy and extremely slick, but I managed to stay upright for the entire day. Since the grade was so easy it seemed like an eternity before I reached the first junction at 4.2 miles. Since I had no map I was unclear which direction to proceed. I hung a left, North, and climbed to a nice viewing spot that I assumed was Red Hill. My altimeter didn't match the right elevation so I checked it with my GPS. I was dismayed to find my perch to be lower than Red Hill's summit. I was able to get a cell signal which I was able to confirm that I was not on Red Hill. I backtracked to the junction and continued South and crested another higher point. I still felt 100 feet short but the next bump was quite a ways off and I didn't want continue any further without knowing for sure where I was. The way back seemed endless but I made it back to my car still in the shape I left it. I thankully passed by the junk yard for the last time without incident.

Approx 11miles 2400ft of climb 4:15 car to car.

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