Yellow Hill (Jul 1, 2012)

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yellow_hill_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Teanaway Butte
Area: Teanaway
Reference: 100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes
Stats: 10.84mi, 3745' gain (round trip)


I've always done Yellow Hill as a snowshoe trip. JimK and Gwen made it a group of three. I guess it was Gwen who suggested heading on over to Elbow. I'd never done that trip so I was game. It was a while since Jim had been out that was so he didn't mind a repeat trip.

Once again, heading over the pass and at about Easton, the east side blue sucker hole made it's appearance. Thank goodness!

for this trip up Yellow it was mostly on dirt. Lots and lots of wildflowers were out. What a nice change. It was honestly weird seeing the route up yellow covered in a carpet of color instead of a blanket of snow. On the previous trip up Yellow (April 2011), there was a pretty bad slump in the road. By now, the edges of the slump had been softened and with a Subaru, we got to the summer trailhead just fine (elevation about 2850'). There is some serious berming going on blocking the old road after the TH. It's kind of a pain going up and over, and into, the dips and berms but really it's easier to just take the direct route than go around all the obstacles. The first 1.5+ miles of the "trail" is old road. All the way up, from the TH to the top of Yellow Hill, the flower show never let up. It was something else, probably because it was completely unexpected.

While motorcycles are permitted on this trail, we thankfully never saw any.

Lots of flowers...tiger lilies, paintbrush, lupine, salsify....and oh did I mention...lots of lupine?

Temps were warmer than expected. Thankfully down low the trail has plenty of tree cover. Up higher, at least on the ridges there was a decent breeze.

At the end of the old road the trail takes of a heads steeply uphill (in the trees). I recall a couple of switchbacks but the route is pretty direct so it's pretty steep. When we finally reached the ridge, over 2 miles in, we stopped for a short break. Here we found some Tweedii blooming. Some beautiful penstemon, phlox, arnica, too. Nice...

Like any ridge hike there are lots of ups and downs. I guess this kind of rambling is why I like ridge runs so much.

The trail started to contour around the east and then north side of Yellow Hill. We say our first glacier lilies here. At some point, less than 100' below the summit and tired of contouring, we left the trail and headed straight uphill. We found a benchmark at the summit. So strange to see the summit blanketed in yellow glacier lilies instead of white snow. The summit was a great place to break for a late lunch. Then...it was time to head on over to Elbow Peak. Not wanting to push the knees too far, I stopped when the ridge narrowed and got steep. Jim and Gwen continued on to Elbow. I found lots of interesting flowers to photograph and plopped myself on a nice vantage point. I could see Jim and Gwen making their way back over to my spot.

We had a short bit of gain to climb back to the trail below Yellow Hill and then it was pretty much all downhill, retracing our route up.
 
Yellow Hill Slideshow

yellow_hill_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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