Poet - Cady Ridges Loop
Page 2

Day 2
Day two was slated to be the shortest hike of the trip so we slept in. After 5850' of gain the day before it helped. I was up last at 7:30 am. We were packed and on our way at 8:20. At the PCT junction with Kodak Peak we had a good look at Glacier Peak. Indian Head Peak would provide a real close up shot. First we had to drop down from 5600' to 5000' at Indian Pass. The PCT is very gently graded. As we descended we entered some forest. At the pass we found the meadows were in full bloom and at their peak. Progress dropped to a crawl. Densely packed colors in blue, yellow, and white. Even after the wildflower show the day before this one stood out.

We saw the open meadows of Indian Head Peak the day before. The only trick was figuring out where we wanted to start. We chose to climb out of the pass to the north. Thick brush did not provide a good spot at first. We went until we reached some forest and headed up. We had to avoid some logs and thicker brush before breaking out into the open. Views began immediately and only improved as we climbed higher. Even the steeper sections were no problem. The climb to the upper ridge and traverse along the ridge looked to be very steep but as we climbed it looked better and better. The grade eased for a while and we went in and out of wildflower filled meadows. Really a stunning place. Since Longfellow Peak the day before we had seen a group camped at the PCT junction and one hiker in the morning on the trail. We did not expect to find anyone else on Indian Head.

Well, we did find a camper. He had a tent in some trees at the edge of the ridge. He was another hunter out to scout for the coming season. He was as surprised to see us as we were him. A real nice guy. From there is was more uphill. We entered another meadow with even better flowers. There was even a swath of Indian paintbrush, one flower we had not seen much of so far. We traversed over to the upper ridge farther right. As we reached the ridge views to the north popped out. They included Glacier Peak and even Mt. Baker. While our view of Glacier was clear at the Kodak junction it was now hazy from smoke. A bit of a disappointment.

We followed the ridge top to the next steep climb to the upper ridge. We found paths on and off on the way up and there was one here. Once on the upper ridge we traversed to our right towards the summit. At the base of the summit things became more interesting. Some crappy rock above and sloping scree above cliffs ahead. What to do.? We did not have much beta so we started poking around. I went farther to our right along the base of a rock wall. There was one sketchy 10' step across really loose scree to gentler terrain. From there the route turned a corner. I decided to try scrambling straight up before trying that.

I climbed up a short way into more loose scree and came down. Back at the start of the summit block John found a ramp heading up right. I tried it and found a big step I did not think I wanted to down climb. Another short ramp to the left was more promising. More crappy scree and big steps plus one good solid rock. It provided solid steps up to gentler terrain. From there I poked around avoiding the loosest scree and found enough pretty easy rock to climb up to where I easily walked around to open slopes. In a minute or two I was on top. Other than the smoke to the north the views are outstanding. I found the register under a pile of rocks. It is the strangest register I have ever seen. Half a dozen pages filled out then a dozen blank then more signed then more blank. The dates go from 2001 to 2008 then back to 2003 and so on. I found one entry from 2011 but I'm sure there are more in there somewhere.

My stay was short as the others did not know exactly where I was. The scramble down was easier than I expected. John pointed out the one solid rock step and I was back down within just a few minutes. The others were fine with the view from just below the top. Checking other reports after the fact it seems that the traverse to the right along the base of the rocks would have turned the corner and lead easily to the summit. We spent another hour or so right at about 7300'. Great views, some wind to keep us cool and keep the few bugs at bay. Much better than back at camp in the middle of the bug zone. The day was supposed to be in the 80s down at trailhead elevation but I had on my jacket to keep warm. Just the way I like it. We finally decided to head down.

We climbed along the upper ridge then steeply down to the lower ridge. This time we followed the ridge all the way to the end. Another great viewpoint. This one was a bit buggier but again much better than camp. More steady wind. We could now see a whole lot of the Pacific Crest Trail. The game was picking out tiny hikers miles below. At a long skinny snow patch we made a discovery. Hikers wearing light colors went onto the snow and they appeared black. A strange optical illusion. Once off the snow they were light colored again. We saw quite a few more people than I expected. Most of them were traveling south.

At 4:00 pm we started the rest of the descent. The hunter had packed up and left. The spectacular flower show was great with the late afternoon sun. Well down the ridge we saw an open slope heading to our right and we took it. A foot path wound through small meadows and allowed us to make it almost down to the PCT before reaching any brush. The walk back along the PCT went pretty fast. The 600' climb was on very tired legs but the easy grade made it fairly painless. We brought water bags and filled them up as well as pumping water for the next day. Back at camp we had dinner and took some evening photos. Gary and John saw a big buck and we saw several campfires down below in Meander Meadow. I went back to the PCT and had some nice sunset shots of Glacier Peak. Two women who had climbed Glacier in the morning set up camp right at dusk.

It was a great second day. We only hiked 7 miles but had another 3450' of elevation gain. I added a fun new summit and we all had great views from over 7000' for a big chunk of the afternoon. The wildflowers were even better than the day before and that is saying a lot. Day three would complete the loop out via Cady Ridge. One more trail I had wanted to hike for decades.

Indian Head Peak
Half Of Glacier Peak
Gary At Indian Pass
Flowers At Pass
Meadow Color
Great Color
Black Background
Hey, That's Me!
Last Meadow At Pass
Onto Open Slopes
Summit Is In Sight
Covered In Color
Snow Patches
Sloan Peak
Red Indian Paintbrush
Kodak Peak
Flowers & Upper Ridge
Field Of Color
And On & On
All The Way Up
Johnson Mountain
Red Mixed In
Color & Smoke
On Lower Ridge
White Mountain
Gary On Steeeper Slope
Looking Down Ridge
Summit Of Indian Head
North Side Ice
Just Below Summit
My Scramble Route
Heading Down
Red & Yellow
Green & White
Red & Floppy
Down Open Slope
Western Anemone
Still Going
Indian Pass Again
Glacier At Sunset
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

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Poet - Cady Ridges Loop Report