Exclamation Point Rock

Gwen was free and I suggested she should visit Exclamation Point Rock. I made two visits in 2016 and none last year. We headed east at 7:15 am. After a stop in Cle Elum we started up the Teanaway Valley. We turned left onto the West Fork Teanaway Road, passed the Middle Fork Road and quickly reached the end of pavement. The last couple miles are on a gravel road. Some pot holes and one cut across the road. Gwen's Outback had no trouble but my low clearance sedan might have bottomed out. That was not there in 2016. Hopefully, it will be filled in soon. We reached the gate at 9:25 am to find one truck already there. It was a sunny day but still comfortably cool at this early hour. It was warm enough for short sleeves and shorts soon after. We were packed and on our way by about 9:00 am.

This is primarily a road walk. A short way along is a big meadow below the road. It is very green right now. A row of trees line the river. The old WF Teanaway Road followed the river. It washed out some years ago. The route now switches back and climbs several hundred feet in forest. We saw balsamroot in bloom along the road driving in. We saw small numbers of a variety of wildflowers on our road walk. Serviceberry was in bloom on much of our route. Arnica and dessert parsley was seen early.

The road flattens out and comes to a junction. The largest road is to the left. That's the way. It parallels the river. Just before the junction we met the owner of the truck parked by the gate. He was returning from a morning of turkey hunting. That was already one more person than seen on my two previous visits. We saw Indian paintbrush, camas, strawberries, balsamroot, and chocolate lilies. Gwen also noted several larch trees with their bright light green needles. The road eventually begins to descend back to the river. A truck went by us here on the way out. Likely the owner of the cabin across the river ahead. It was warming quickly but not yet too hot. Down by the river the old road comes in. A little farther along we took the road that quickly crosses the river. The water was flowing high. Till lots of snow melting up high.

The road goes back into forest. The Sandstone Creek Road goes off right and the Dingbat Creek Road goes off left. We kept going straight. The road finally starts climbing and leaves forest. There have been clear cuts in spots along here. I recognized the spot to leave the road. It ascends up slick rock. Rock slabs showing through with grass all around and big pine trees spaced around. The route is just to follow the rock slabs. The last bit is the steepest. Once on the ridge we were only a minute from Exclamation Rock. Since it is in forest it is not visible until you are close to it.

This was the clearest day I have had at the Rock. Sunshine helped and hurt photography. The glare was bad from some angles. I think Gwen was duly impressed with it. We spent about 15 minutes there. Photos with a person to provide scale are helpful. You get an idea of how tall it is. After that we headed to the other side of Mammoth Rock. The rock is quite near Exclamation Rock. There is a bit of a climb to get up on it. We took the walk along the vertical wall on the top of the ridge. In places it is more than vertical as it sits overhead. This was my first visit where the vertical sandstone wall's moss was not sopping wet. At the far end we climbed back to the ridge on dirt. I was looking for calypso orchids that I had seen in late April 2016. Right on cue we walked right by the only ones seen all day. A nice climb in full bloom.

At the start of Mammoth Rock the balsamroot and lupine were in bloom. Some nice color. We than began the long walk across Mammoth Rock. It was quite toasty in the sunshine on the rock. No shade to be seen. At the far end we were back near Exclamation Point Rock. This was the far point of our hike. About five miles from the car. We arrived at just after 1:00 pm. We were in no hurry to head back. The other side of the valley has a higher ridge and it is partly clear cut. Behind the rock is the ridge with Yellow Hill and Elbow Peak and out to Jolly Mountain. Farther up the valley we could see down to more sandstone rocks. Gary and I biked the road and hiked out to those rocks in September 2016. A couple trees grow right up against the vertical wall and are tall enough to provide a spattering of shade in the far corner of Mammoth Rock.

We stayed until about 2:15 pm. We met two mountain bikers on Mammoth Rock. The had come from Roslyn. Their off road sections carrying their bikes had them looking for another way back. We were able to direct them towards Dingbat Creek Road. I hope they made it back okay. We crossed the rock then returned to Exclamation Point Rock. More photos here before finally heading back. Several deer seen here were the day's wildlife sighting. Down the slick rock to the road and then down the road. As we were nearing the bridge a single motorcycler stopped. We saw a group earlier that just went on by. Gwen jokingly asked if he was lost? Yes, he was. He did not have a good idea how to get back to Cle Elum. We suggested he just walk the WF Road back to the Teanaway and then on the highway home. This was a banner day for folks who were not sure how to get back to their cars.

The road walk back was easy enough. We were passed by a tractor. The road was flattened a bit by its front loader. Possibly it is owned by Teanaway Community Forest folks. We arrived back at the car just after 4:30 pm. We had a good day on the road/trail. Both Exclamation Point and Mammoth Rocks are pretty spectacular. they would be no big deal in Utah but sure stand out in the Washington Cascades. We saw a lot more people than expected but a truck twice, a tractor, two motorcycle groups, and a couple mountain bike groups is not really a crowd over 10 miles. I expect I'll visit every few years. It is a most unusual destination.

Parked At The Gate
The Big Meadow
Woodland Stars
Sandstone Cliffs
Road Walking
Lone Indian Paintbrush
Arrowleaf Balsamroot
False Hellebore
More Paintbrush
Pine Trees
Serviceberry Tree
Serviceberry Flowers
Larch Tree
Balsamroot & Lupine
First Slickrock
Chocolate Lilies
One Chocolate Lily
Nearing Bridge
Our Shadows
Yellow Violet
Off The Road
Following Slickrock
Mammoth Rock
Exclamation Pt. Rock
Clear View Of Rock
Gwen On Rock
Back Side Of Rock
Sandstone Wall
Gwen Photographs
Elbow Pk & Yellow Hill
Calypso Orchids
More Orchids
Spring Beauty
More Balsamroot
Balsamroot Close Up
Mammoth Rock Ahead
Gwen On Mammoth Rock
View Across Rock
View South
Walking Under Rock
Last Rock Shot
Descending Slickrock
Really Really Green
Teanaway Peaks
Big Panorama Of Mammoth Rock
Earl Peak
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2018