Tired Creek - Polallie Ridge

The first day of the Forth of July holiday weekend. Trails would be packed. I suggested to Kim we take a path less traveled. I did the Tired Creek - Waptus Pass - Pete Lake loop last year. This time we did the trip up Tired Creek to the old Polallie Ridge Lookout site and back. The big crush of travelers was on Friday afternoon/evening. Saturday morning was not too bad. I met Kim in North Seattle and we headed east on I-90. We headed on to Roslyn and up along Lake Cle Elum. A left on Cooper Lake Road to the lake and then to the parking lot for the Pete Lake Trail. The drive took just about two hours and we arrived at about 8:50 am. We grabbed one of the last spots in the main lot. There were mosquitoes right at the start. We were packed up and on our way by 9:00 am.

The Pete Lake Trail is pretty flat. There are just a few short climbs and drops in the first mile. We had a couple views of the Cooper River at first then it is out of sight.  We saw a lot of queens cups in bloom. There was some lupine though it was past prime. Tired Creek was running deep enough to require some easy rock hopping.  A few minutes later we reached the junction with the Tired Creek Trail. It's about another half mile to the old road. More flowers here including some bunchberry and spirea. The bugs were not bad while moving but at a break at the junction they were bothersome. I had on a short sleeve shirt but zipped off pants legs. Up at the road junction there is still no sign. Turn right and proceed down to Tired Creek. I put on bug dope and of course, the bugs thinned out significantly.

An old clear cut is just above the road. The route goes more or less straight up until meeting the old trail. It then begins a long series of switchbacks. With a few exceptions the grade is pretty moderate. We found a few trees down across the route but none were much of a problem getting over or under. This trail is on a southern facing slope but is mostly in forest. The trees kept it cooler. We stopped for one break then reached a short trail off a switchback to views. Three Queens was in the clear. The peaks along the Cascade Crest were mostly in the clear though clouds were backed up against the crest on the west side. The clouds were thicker to the south near Snoqualmie Pass. The summit of Chikamin Peak was mostly in the clouds. Lemah Peaks north were mostly in the clear.

A little higher there was another viewpoint. At this point we saw an Alpine Wilderness sign. It is the smallest one I have ever seen. The trail at this point stops with the switchbacks. The slope is now less steep. The trail heads straight up the valley. It was getting warmer. As the forest thinned we met the first folks since leaving the Pete Lake Trail. The forest thinned more and meadows began. Some wildflowers are nearing the end and a few have not started yet. We saw a few patches of Indian paintbrush along the trail. In the meadows were some shooting stars, elephant head, marsh marigolds, and more. There were a few creeks still running into the meadows. It was now much warmer in the meadows. We reached the Polallie Ridge - Waptus Pass trails junction. Time for another break.

A few minutes later we turned right and headed out for the lookout sight. it is not far away. The sky was mostly clear as we reached the top. Great views in most all directions. On my first visit in 1988 the trees were very low. All the peaks were unobstructed. The trees have grown in the past 28 years. Views ares still pretty good but trees are starting to get in the way. We arrived at 1:36 pm. I would have stayed a longer time but the bugs were epic. The group we met earlier warned us. They were right. I put on my rain jacket and kept moving around. The views really are great. Even with the bugs it was well worth it. The mosquitoes were annoying but there were no biting flies.

Summit views started with Mt. Rainier to the south. Next were Three Queens, Alta, Chikamin, Lemah, Chimney Rock, Overcoat, Summit Chief and the Chiefs, Bears Breast, Hinman, Daniel, the Cradle, and Mt. Stuart. Those were just the major peaks I could recognize. Since there is no higher peak close by, the views are tremendous. There is nothing to block the view.
We reluctantly headed down at 2:00 pm. Lunch was finished down at the junction. There were bugs but not nearly as thick as son the summit.

It was about 2:30 pm when we headed down. More stops for flower photos in the meadows. After that the cameras mostly were put away. Lower in the meadows we met another group coming up. The second and last group seen on the Tired Creek Trail. Even on a holiday weekend we found a whole lot of solitude. The forest was still fairly cool in the head of the day. This is still not a trail I would take on a hot summer day. This day the conditions were excellent. We made steady progress on the descent. The moderately graded trail is easy on the knees coming down. Back at the old road we stopped to clean up at Tired Creek. The bridge is long gone but a jeep road goes down to the creek.

We kept moving the rest of the way to minimize the bug problems. Back at the parking lot there were two open spaces and many more cars parked along the road. We arrived at the trailhead at 6:10 pm. We quickly packed up before the bugs were able to zero in. One of the best parts of a holiday weekend is that on day one the roads are mostly open on the drive home. Even Seattle had no slow downs.

This was a good choice for the day. We started on a very busy trail and quickly turned off onto a much less used trail. The result was a lot of solitude all day long. The west side of the mountains was in clouds much of the day. we could see them over the crest. We had sunshine. It was warm but not hot. Excellent once again. The views from the summit are terrific. All in all a great day in the mountains.

Queen's Cup
The Cooper River
First Viewpoint
Cascade Crest Peaks
Forest Trail
Small Meadow
Clouds Roll Over Crest
Wilderness Sign
Vanilla Leaf
Marsh Marigold
Indian Paintbrush
Kim On Trail
Elephant Head
Meadow & Ridge
Trail Junction
Bears Brest View
Lookout Site Ahead
Mt. Daniel
Trail Down Ridge
Mt. Stuart
Big Waterfall
Little Big Chief
Zoomed Bears Breast
Lemah Mountain
Mt. Hinman
Kim On Summit
The Chiefs
Mt. Rainier
Anti Bug System
Shooting Stars
Indian Paintbrush II
Chikamin Peak
Chikamin Close Up
Lemah Close Up
Tiger Lily
Back To Old Road
Panorama From the Polallie Ridge Lookout Site
Near Last Junction
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2016