Kirsten planned a birthday
hike and Kim, Deb, Kurt, Janet and I came along. Reports were that the
Corral Pass Road was still closed (it wasn't). Kirsten had done the
hike one time before via the Dalles Ridge Trail. There is yet another
route via the ridge above George Lake. I
have been up twice via the Deep Creek Trail. We had no info on the road
Dalles Creek and the trailhead is at 5400'. We hoped that snow on the
side of the ridge would not be a problem.
We met in Seattle just before 7:00 am. After a stop in Enumclaw we made
it to the trailhead by 9:30. Here is info on getting to the
trailhead . The road had been logged out and most rocks
removed. There were a number of smaller rocks we had to drive over and
a few logs we went around. Otherwise, the road is in very good shape
for most passenger cars. A little before the trailhead we stopped for a
great view of the morning light on Mt. Rainier.
There was one other vehicle at the trailhead. Parking is not overly
plentiful but seven or eight cars would fit fine. Based on trip
reports, this is not a very heavily used trail. It is only about 2 1/2
miles to Noble Knob. There is 700' of elevation gain plus ups and
downs. Something like about 1000' of
gain out and back. Flowers began almost immediately. We saw beargrass,
a few trillium, glacier lilies, and more. Not a huge flower show but
A short ways along we came to the Ranger Creek Trail. This one comes up
from Highway 410. We met the owner of the other vehicle soon after. He
finishing a 10 mile ride to Corral Pass and back. He did mention some
up ahead. Since the trip would be short we spent a lot of time on
Kim more than most. We went from no snow to a few feet very quickly. It
easy enough to walk on the consolidated snow. I doubt it will last much
The snow did not last very long as we crossed a sloping meadow and
climbed up the other side. We soon met the trail from Corral Pass. A
little farther brought us to the short descent to the saddle below
Noble Knob. It was getting pretty warm by now and a little breeze was
appreciated. Bugs were not much of a problem all day. Nice flowers here
as we crossed the meadow and followed the trail up and around Noble
Knob. As we climbed Mt. Rainier came back into view.
Magenta paintbrush here along with stonecrop, penstemon, and others.
Even the backside of the summit is now snow free. We had just a few
foot long patches
left. After a very leisurely ascent we arrived at near noon. The sky
clear and the views outstanding. Mt. Rainier is really close from here.
were looking right across to Steamboat Prow. To the north we could see
Chair, Rampart Ridge, Daniel, and Mt. Stuart. Glacier Peak was visible
the distance too. Lots of clear cuts to the north but most are growing
We could even pick out Kelly Butte across the Greenwater River.
Since we were in no hurry we spent a good long time on top. Others came
and went. Deb broke out the watercolors to draw a scene of George Lake
right below us. We found a patch of very bright penstemon below the
summit. It is
a color I don't recall seeing before. Folks started down one at a time
eventually we all headed down. We met up at the end of the saddle
meadow. There was still a good sized patch of snow I used to cool off.
It's refreshing to lie down on snow on a hot day.
Just as we passed the Corral Pass Trail junction we met a group of very
young kids coming in. They were running and screaming and having a good
time. Just as well we left the summit before they arrived though. The
of the way back was just a nice walk in the woods. It was getting very
but most of the way was in cooler forest. We did have a few looks out.
one of them I was able to see and photograph the lookout on Sun Top
We did come out a lot faster than we went in. The drive home was
strangely easy as the roads did not seem to be as busy as I'm used to
on summer weekends. Maybe theat $4.30 a gallon gas is starting to have
an effect. We concluded the day with a birthday dinner for Kristen. Deb
did most of the cooking and Kim helped out. The mileage and elevation
gain was not impressive but we all
had a very good time. I made it home at 10:30, some 16 hours after
leaving. A good time was had by all.
Kirsten's trip report is here:
Nwhikers Report & Photos
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
Mt. Rainier From Road
Old Bleached Log
Long Indian Paintbrush
Mt. Rainier From Summit
Group On Summit
Penstemon Close Up
Trips - 2008