Mt. Baldy, 11/21/13
6.5 miles of hiking • 3250' elevation gain •
What a glorious day: bright sunshine, clear skies, views as far as one cares to look, and not another person in sight. Once the trailhead is found (somewhat tricky, even with directions from recent hike reports) one immediately enters a sylvan sanctuary and quickly comes upon a junction: choose the low road and Silver Creek is heard before seen, the result of a rather wide lovely little waterfall that is crossed upon a well-crafted bridge. The raucous creek is rapidly replaced by an ever ascending trail with increasingly splendid views of Kachess Lake and the surrounding area. The way up is not overly taxing, it is just, well, steadily rising. Arriving at a junction with the Domerie Ridge Trail we were lulled into a state of sheer joy as the way became almost level but we were were sadly mistaken as the way began heading heavenward once again, at a stultifying grade. Snow now became the surface of choice but there was no need for snowshoes or traction devices although the footing could be precarious and the way wearying. Still, there was the beauty of God's creation all around us and our souls, if not our legs, were continually renewed in the clear, brisk autumn sun. After arriving at a junction providing choices to Thomas and Baldy, we chose Baldy and immediately dropped a couple of hundred feet onto snow covered slopes. Desirous of a less exposed route, we headed back into the trees and after a good 3/4 of an hour reached our objective. Baldy lived up to his name, his pate bare, like a monk's tonsure, crowned with rock and a pair of krumholtz. The temperature at the summit was a brisk 29 degrees F with clear skies, bright sunshine, and rather mild winds. After taking in the surroundings and enjoying a bite to eat, we began our descent. Following our own tracks, we saw we were not alone as once thought. A pair of steaming piles of scat were just feet from our trail as we reentered the forest and tracks of a few quadrupeds now appeared in the snow near our own. Alas, we did not see these alpine denizens and so, with ice axe at the ready, we made our way down the mountain with a joyful heart and without incident. If only I could say the same for the drive home but now is not the time. It was a spectacular day to a destination of awe-inspiring views. Could anything be better?
Pacific Northwest Outdoor Adventures