Exclamation Point Rock

Heavy rain the night before. More rain set for Sunday. Kim was free and we chose to head east. I have been to Exclamation Point Rock three times. Kim had not been there. What's a little rain? We headed east in steady rain. Then it rained harder. Sheets of rain. Across Snoqualmie Pass where the rain lightened. Down to Easton where we had some sunshine. Sun shining on wet road was blinding. It was foggy around Cle Elum. We headed up the Teanaway Road and the fog began to lift. We turned onto the WF Teanaway. The road turned to dirt and we went the last two miles to the gate. The road was potholed near the end. We arrived at the gate to find no other cars. It was now all blue sky and about 43 degrees. We packed up and were on our way at 9:28 am. The road walk begins above a big meadow that runs along the West Fork Teanaway River.

On my first visit I parked at the end of pavement and hiked 14 miles round trip. On my second visit Gary and I drove to the gate then biked 10 miles round trip and hiked several miles beyond Exclamation Point Rock. This May, Gwen and I drove to the gate and hiked 10 miles round trip to the Rock. Kim and I planned to do that version of the trip. I did not expect any sunshine so the great weather at the start was a bonus. The road soon ends where the old road continued straight ahead until a point where it was washed out by the river. Now the road switches back and climbs up the slope to go around the washout. At the top of the hill is a four way junction. On my first visit each junction looked about the same. Now the road clearly takes the left turn. That is the correct way.

When Gwen and I walked the road in May she pointed out some larch trees with their bright green needles. I was curious how many we would see and if they still had their now golden needles. A ways along the road Kim and I both saw the first larch tree at exactly the same time. We soon saw more. many were well past prime. Others were still looking very good. This is a better larch trip than I expected. At one point a short spur road went off into a nice patch of larch. We headed over for a closer look. These are Western Larch not the Alpine Larch I saw a few weeks earlier up at Ingalls Pass. These grow in larch forests at lower elevations than the more solitary alpine variety. There was little wind and we became a little warm. Time to take off a layer or two. Again, not what we were expecting.

The road drops to cross a creek on a car bridge. The bridge is brand new. This one was not there in May. After a short climb we began dropping down to the river. At the bottom of the hill the old road comes back in. We found some big deciduous trees with bright yellow leaves. The sunshine really brought out the colors. Before long we reached the junction with the road that quickly crosses the river. From the bridge we saw the water level was medium high and the water was muddy brown. Across the bridge the road continues at a flat grade. There were a few puddles that completely covered the road. We just managed to get around the edges with dry feet. Soon the road begins to climb. As we ascended our blue sky turned white then black. Part way up it began to rain. Well, we expected rain just more of it. Out came our umbrellas. The rain fell harder. After 7 or 8 minutes the squall ended. That was all the rain we had all day long.

The spot where the bike trail leaves the road is now more obvious. We headed up the slick rock slabs. They usually have very good traction. Not so much when wet. It was slick rock this day. The route climbs to the side of Mammoth Rock then steeply climbs the slope to the forested ridge. That is where we reached Exclamation Point Rock. Right out of southern Utah not the Teanaway Valley. The sandstone on this ridge is very unusual for our area. The Rock is surrounded by forest. Kim and I took a number of photos including ones with us at the base of the rock providing scale. It really is a big rock. The name is very descriptive as it is much bigger at the top than the bottom. After photos we headed along the north side of Mammoth Rock. The trail is right below the top. In places the trail goes under overhanging rock. There was some wind so we did not expect to stay long on the top of the rock.

The trail continues quite a distance before it is able to get onto the ridge top. From there we headed back to Mammoth Rock. That name is also very descriptive. The rock is mammoth. We headed across the sloping rock back towards Exclamation Point Rock. The wind had now lessened to the point we decided to stay on top and have lunch.  Below in all directions we could see golden larch trees mixed in with the evergreens. We reached Mammoth Rock at 12:18 pm. We stayed until 1:05 pm. On the drive in we were passed by a car. The folks with the cabin have access. That was it for the day. Not another person seen all day long. Almost total solitude on a Teanaway larch hike in late October on a sunny morning. Try finding that at Ingalls Pass.

On the way out we had some short sun breaks and some short light mist. No more full sunshine or rain. Considering that much of the state was under rain most of the day we did extremely well. The hike out went a little faster. We also took fewer photo stops. The road is not hard gravel like many. It was softer than some trails I hike. 10 miles round trip but not hard on the feet. It was 3:48 pm when we reached my car. Still the only one parked at the gate.

All in all, this was a very successful hike. We had much better weather than expected. Kim was able to see Exclamation Point Rock and Mammoth Rock for the first time. While not a great larch hike we saw many more than I thought we would. Yet again I had a hike that provided almost total solitude. I have had a lot of them this year. The drive home was through a lot of hard rain just like the morning drive over. It was a very wet day in most of the Cascade Mountains. In our little eastern corner it started in bright sunshine and never did have much rain. A very successful hike indeed.

New Mountain Car
The Starting Gate
Bright Red Leaves
Leaves On The Road
The Moon
A Little Water
First Larch Tree
Bigger Puddle
Blue Sky & Larch
Green & Gold
Twin Larch
Larch Needles
Very Red
Ferns & Larch
Leaves Are Gone
Wow Color!
Great Color
WF Teanaway River
The Rains Came
Onto Slickrock
Heading Up
Kim Is Coming
There It Is
Kim & The Rock
Another Angle
Overhanging Rock
Mammoth Rock Above
Very Green Moss
On Mammoth Rock
Trees On Rock
Kim On The Rock
Zoomed In Larch
Kim Under Rock
Exclamation Again
Heading Down
WF Teanaway Lake
Leaves & Reflection
Last Larch
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2018