Cady Ridge (Jul 27, 2008)

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cady_ridge_coverConditions: Day Hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Poe Mountain, USGS Benchmark Mountain
Area: Skykomish
Reference:  Day Hiking Central Cascades
Stats: 17mi, 3900' gain (round trip)

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Almost exactly 9 years ago I spent a week along the PCT doing a volunteer vacation with WTA. For a while I had heard stories about how fabulous the area was. I felt luck and giddy when I managed to get onto the trip. I had a blast. We spent a week working a stretch of the Bald Eagle Trail while camping near Dishpan Gap.

Ever since that trip I planned to return the area but somehow...I never got around to it. When I suggested to Quark that I was looking for a hiking partner for a return day trip she jumped and I mean JUMPED at the chance. I'd never heard her get so excited so quickly. She even called the night before to make sure I was still planning to go.

I met Q at the Monroe Smokestack at 6:00am. I knew we'd have a long day ahead so I wanted an early start. Plus, I wanted time to just wander the meadows.

We got to the new TH at the end of the road and I think we were hiking by 8:30am. The skeeters were out the first 1000' so we made sure at the TH where the buggers were already biting, to apply the dope.

The trail doesn't waste much time gaining some 2000'+ gain in the first 3 miles. At about 5300' we got to our first of many meadows and enjoyed the long stroll ahead.

Lots of flowers out. Give it some time though. Much of the ridge is freshly free of the snow and the flowers are just starting. Lots of buttercup, anemone, avalanche lilies, lupine, lousewort and so much more.

We rounded Pt 5816 and in the first meadow below the point we startled a bear about 100' down the hillside. We had 10 minutes or so to watch the full grown black before it caught out scent and BOLTED full bore down the hillside and into the trees. What a racket it made!

At the other side of the point I asked Q if she wanted to make a purposeful hike out to the pass. She wanted to enjoy the meadows so she encouraged me to go the extra mile +/- so I did. I headed off to the junction of the PCT and then headed north to Wards Pass getting there soon afterward. No views...only clouds.

Most of Cady Ridge is snow free. There are a couple of very minor snow patches that are easy to step over or around. The PCT north of the junction does have more snow. Nothing all that bad though.

I stayed at the pass long enough to snap one picture then it as off to meet back up with Q and then head out. I met back up with Q about 3:30pm and then we made a real attempt to hike out fast as we had about 7 miles to get back to the car. We did get back to the car about 6:30pm and bolted out to Hwy2 and westbound because we were starved and needed to get to Zeke's before closing. Success! We made it by 8:15.

I'm sooooo glad we did this trip. It was the perfect combination. Weather (how else do hike in the GPW but in slightly wet cloudy conditions), meadows full of color and with a friend who first showed me the area nearly a decade ago.
 
Cady Ridge Slideshow

cady_ridge_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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