Tuesday, August 14, 2012

North Ridge (Cle Elum) 8.14.12

 I had hoped to do something a bit more substantial today but as is the case far too often I didn't have enough time to fit much more than a half day. I had hoped to run the whole North Ridge until I reached the high point of the ridge which lies on the Southern end of the ridge. I had the misfortune of running into construction and road closures that put that plan into trouble. I had been up the road that reaches the North Ridge Trail head earlier in the year on a snowshoe outing. It sure went faster to drive up the road instead of ploughing up it on snow. Once reaching the trailhead I was surprised at the intense heat. I had expected cooler weather today and I was not too optimistic of running into water for the dog on this route. I thought I would give it a go to see how far I could get.

After descending a short ways and crossing a logging road I reached a junction with the Big Creek Trail. The trail finally starts the long climbing traverse to the ridge proper. I reached an area that descends and I thought about taking the open sub ridge instead of the trail. After consulting with my map and seeing that it would actually add mileage and sucked it up and descended. Thankfully I was rewarded with a creek crossing with enough cool water to get the dog tanked up. The forest was mostly shaded and there was enough of  a breeze to keep me from overheating. I crossed a few more water sources before finally reaching the ridgeline. I had hoped to at least see my objective but the views are blocked to the South preventing that. I did spy some an unusual outcropping to the Southeast. Not sure what exactly it is but it might warrant some exploring in the future.

I plugged away on  trail which mostly keep rising without any annoying drops in elevation. I reached 5268' which I hoped would allow to assess how much time it would take me to get to the highpoint of the ridge. Since there wasn't any views at all and after doing some math I decided that I had not nearly enough time to reach that and be back in time for a family function. I ate a quick lunch before beginning the long descent to the car. The footing on the way down gave me some issues but I was able to stay upright for the balance of the trip. Thankfully I was able to make it back in time for my function. The descent provided some views of the Chimney Rock area along with some more distant views of the Stuart Range.

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