Archive for the ‘Teanaway’ Category
Monday, June 17th, 2013
Another year has passed. Since last year I’ve grown a little bit wiser, a lot happier, and noticeably grayer of fur (but let’s not talk about that).
As I’ve done the last four years, I celebrated my birthday on Iron Peak. For a while, it looked like it might not happen this year; I felt sick all day Friday and we had to turn around and go home that night when an overturned semi closed Snoqualmie Pass for three hours.
I woke up feeling better, if not well, on Saturday, and we caravaned to the Teanaway with Scott, Dani, and a ridiculous amount of dogs.
There was much less snow on Iron Peak than usual! I don’t think we’re actually having an early melt, though, it’s just that the snowpack has been so insane the last couple of years that we’ve become used to finding snowbound trails long into August. Either way, I’m happy. This, I think, will be the summer.
We enjoyed brews on the summit (except for Scott, who had enjoyed a few too many the night before), played with our six dogs, and traded war stories of past trips. Scott pointed out the route he climbed up Mount Stuart, and I resolved to never, ever do anything of the sort.
Did you know that there’s a trail up the ridge to Iron? We didn’t, since it’s been hidden under snow on all our previous ascents. I still managed to find a couple of good snow patches to glissade on the way down, though.
We made our way back down to the cars, said goodbye to Scott, Dani, and their pack of dogs, then set off to find a place to camp. Instant success – our favorite campsite was free!
– Iron Peak | 7.5 miles | 2600 feet elevation gain –
We stayed in this exact site in 2010, and it’s simply perfect. It’s hidden from the road, so it offers full privacy, no need to leash the dogs, you have your own babbling brook, a separate cooking area, and a pretty field of shooting stars.
One of my favorite things about the Teanaway – and the Eastern Cascades in general – is the sweet smell of the vanilla-scented ponderosa pines, nature’s Wunderbaum. My nose hadn’t fully clogged up yet, so I spent a lot of time just leaning back and inhaling. Aaaahh.
I woke up on Sunday morning, my actual birthday, with a full-blown cold. It quickly became apparent that there wouldn’t be any hiking that day, so instead we spent our time reading in the sun, drinking coffee, and eating birthday cupcakes (courtesy of Andreas, who has perfected a gluten-free version of my favorite vanilla cupcakes).
I told JK it was my favorite birthday yet, and it really was. I think 31 will be a very good year.
Oh, and we stopped at the Pass and walked the dogs around Gold Creek Pond on the way home, so we kinda sorta hiked after all.
– Gold Creek Pond | 1? mile | just about 0 feet elevation gain –
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Our first weekend home was rather dark and soggy, but I had my heart set on hiking anyway. JK was busy with the Washington Alpine Club, so I cajoled Dani and Josie into driving east towards Blewett Pass in search of sun.
We found said sun, as always, in the Teanaway. We also found dry trails, balsamroot, paintbrush, trillium, glacier lilies, larkspur, and, most importantly, morels! Big, beautiful, fresh, amazing morels.
Since we had porcine peakbagger Jasper with us, we chose the treed, viewless summit of Teanaway Ridge instead of the panoramic bumps of Iron Bear and Jester. You see, Jasper is this close to having summited 300 different mountains, which would be impressive for most humans, and certainly for any canine.
He already had Iron Bear and Jester in the bag from an earlier trip, but Teanaway Ridge became his summit #294.
We probably could have tagged the other bumps as well, but, well, the mushroom-hunting slowed our pace to a crawl. We’ll do it next year – there’s no way I’m not returning to this trail. I loved it.
I’ve realized that my favorite trails are the ones with good memories attached to them. Noble Knob, Iron Peak, and Melakwa Lake aren’t the most scenic trails I’ve hiked, but they remain my favorites for sentimental reasons.
Whenever I think of this Teanaway Ridge, I’ll remember the feeling of reconnecting with good friends. Oh, and the morels. I’ll remember the morels.
I will definitely remember the resulting gluten-free morel and asparagus pizza which made up for all the pizzas I couldn’t have in Rome. Hells yeah!
Sunday, June 24th, 2012
Eager to finally tackle my annual birthday hike to Iron Peak (see 2010 and 2011) and rescue our Norwegian guest, Jolli, from the soggy Seattle phenomenon known as Juneuary, we packed up the car and sped towards the magical land of the Teanaway.
Crossing Snoqualmie Pass felt like driving through a car wash, but if Tom has taught me anything, it’s that it never rains in the Teanaway. And it didn’t, mostly. We hiked in hot sunshine up to the saddle, somewhat intense wind along the ridge (luckily Wellie didn’t blow away – we would need him later), and enjoyed a light two-minute sprinkle on the summit.
After devouring summit Subway sandwiches and summit Kona Wailua beers, we had time for a satisfying summit snooze before heading back down.
On the way up, we had told Jolli about the different kinds of wildlife we see on hikes here – adorable marmots, majestic bears, and mountain goats that follow you if you separate from your group because they want to lick your salty fluid deposits.
Naturally, we mentioned the fatal goring in Olympic National Park a couple of years ago…which was the first thing that popped into Jolli’s head when he ran into a mountain goat on the way down.
I’ve met a lot of goats throughout my almost five years of hiking in the Cascades and they’ve never really made me nervous, even when they’ve cornered me mid-pee and moved close enough to touch. This one, however, moved right towards us with such speed and determination that it gave me pause.
The boys got their hiking poles ready for battle and I hugged my camera tightly (ALWAYS SAVE THE CAMERA FIRST), but just when the goat got within goring distance of us, Wellie let out a sharp bark which scared the bejesus out of him. The goat literally jumped into the air and ran up the ridge to get away from the terrifying 17-lb canine. Brave Sir Wellie saves the day!!
– Iron Peak | 6.5 miles | 2500 feet elevation gain –
Thursday, July 7th, 2011
We’re in full-on summer mode here in Washington. Ok, so we spent 4th of July at a ski resort, but still. It’s summer. My skin has even acquired a vaguely pinkish hue which, given my viking complexion, will have to pass for a tan.
Last weekend (not the holiday weekend – I’m behind on photos as usual), JK, Wellie and I camped in the Teanaway and got our first real taste of Summer 2011…and an even better taste of a Norwegian campfire classic, stick bread. I’ll blog about it later so y’all can partake.
On Sunday we rolled out of camp at the crack of noon to hike up Bean Peak. Mmm, beans…I’m thinking of making a Favorite Foods Peak List, but so far I only know of Bean Peak and the Chocolate Glacier. Hopefully there’s an Avocado Ridge out there somewhere.
Anyhoo, we hiked up to the basin and scrambled up the southeast ridge. There were two moves that really got my heart pumping, but then again I am a certified weenie. I’m always anxiously picturing the worst possible outcome of any given situation.
Thankfully the rock was nice and grippy, and I know that every time I push myself like this, I’ll be just that little bit stronger and braver next time.
After a snack and some oohing and aahing over the views, Wellie and I had ourselves a good, old-fashioned summit snooze. Pure bliss.
We spent over an hour on the summit, then decided to descend the easier southwest gully. Unfortunately it ended up being much harder than the way up due to melting moats and very steep snow.
It didn’t help that we, being dumbasses, had left our hiking poles at the base of the southeast ridge and our ice axes stashed safely in the car. I got to do my first ever face-in downclimb with nothin’ but my bitten-down talons for purchase on the snow. I wish I had a photo of it, but I snapped angrily at JK when he tried to pull the camera out mid-climb.
As terrifying (I told you, I’m a weenie) as that downclimb was, it didn’t take long before I longed to go back and do it again. When we were snailing along in I90 vacation traffic on the way back to civilization, there was nothing I wanted more than to (grab my ice axe and) run for the hills.
- Bean Peak | 6.5 miles | 3100 feet elevation gain -
Sunday, June 19th, 2011
Since we (I) all agreed that I deserved a more scenic birthday celebration than the Pratt Mountain TNAB, a group of us drove east the following Sunday in search of sun, views and shrooms.
Group photo courtesy of Josie
Unfortunately (for everyone except fungus-phobic Tom) there wasn’t a morel to be found on the trail, and we could confirm, yet again, that summer will come late to the mountains this year. %#$@!!
Oh well, who needs morels when you can lounge on top of Iron Peak for hours, eating cupcakes, drinking wine, burning your scalp to a crisp (I’ll wear a hat next time), all while taking in a gorgeous panoramic view of the Teanaway!
Even Josie, who had forgotten her boots and was sporting soggy trainers (with cardboard inserts!) from the Cle Elum Farm & Home Store, couldn’t keep a smile off her face.
Thank you, friends (and Jasper), for such a wonderful birthday party. Maybe this whole growing old business isn’t such a bad thing after all.
- Iron Peak | 6.5 miles | 2500 feet elevation gain -