Wednesday, June 18, 2014

5520' via Johnson/Medra, Teanaway Doughnut Hole 6.17.14

I had an interesting time trying to choose a trip for this week. I had invited a group of my co-workers many of which had to work the day of the hike making coordinating a trip that would work for everyone challenging. When I saw the less than stellar weather forecast I decided to stick with those who did not have to work and head East in an attempt to find better weather. I again banked on the "Teanaway Effect" to provide some much needed sunshine. I decided to make another try for 5520' which is a few miles South of Koppen Mt off of the North Fork Teanaway Road. I thought the mileage and elevation would be well suited to my companions. I had tried earlier in the Spring but didn't like the creek crossing so I instead headed up a neighboring ridge that didn't make me have to cross any swift water. I met James and Steve at the Issaquah Park and Ride. I got there a bit early and they had some traffic troubles so I sat and waited listening to some music. I thought to myself after some time, that I hoped I wouldn't run my battery down. Well of course when we were all ready to go the car didn't have enough juice to start. Since we were on a bit of an incline I compression started the car and we were on our way.   True to form as we crested Snoqualmie Pass the weather lightened. By the time we reached the North Fork Road it was sunny and warm with just enough breeze to keep the temps comfortable.

    Soon after parking across from the traIhead we were off. The initial portions meanders along the creek without gaining too much elevation. We passed a work crew just before the first creek crossing. They are rerouting the trail to alleviate the need to cross the creek so many times.  As we headed up valley the pitched increased and the flowers started to show. It seems like there was only about 200' of elevation with flowers in bloom. We spotted a Western Tanager which is one of the most striking birds I have seen. Bright yellow plumage with contrasting black and a very bright red head. It was the second sighting for me over the years so it was nice for my companions to catch a glimpse. Soon we crested the ridge and finally had some views of the Peak to the North of us. The clouds were doing their best to knock Mt Stuart off it's lofty perch. To our North we couldn't see Ingalls which was completely engulfed in cloud cover. In fact we were in the middle of a doughnut hole in the clouds. Never once did the sun go behind a cloud on this trip despite we were completely encircled in clouds for the entire day. The wind was a bit brisk so we didn't linger. We headed up the ridge to the junction with the Koppen Mt. Trail. Once reaching the junction we headed South to our day's objective. Their is  a nice camp site along the ridge with the distinct disadvantage of not having any running water. Soon our objective came into view. The footing was a bit loose in spots but without any trouble we found ourselves on the summit in short order.

    We all relaxed and refueled. I had hoped that some of the cloud cover would lift to provide some more views but the clouds had reached a status quo. We gave some debate to heading North on the ridge and summitting  Koppen and dropping to the end of the road leaving us a 4 mile walk back to the car. After some discussion we decided to head back the way we had come. We leapfrogged the work crew a couple of time. I was thankful that they had cut out the two major blowdowns that we had found on our ascent. We all were quite on the way out making it seem like it was taking much longer to return. Truthfully I was thankful I was happy that it seemed longer because it was just so nice to be out on this perfect weather day. It was very nice to have some good company to show off some of what our beautiful state has to offer. No matter how many times I have had the "Teanaway Effect " provide dramaticly improved weather over the surrounding areas, it never ceases to amaze me. I wonder if anyone out there can provide some insight on what allows this phenomenon to continue.

Approx 9 miles 2500' of climb 4;37 car to car

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