Keystone Point (May 11, 2013)

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keystone_point_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: water...lots of water...
Map: USGS Ardenvoir, USGS Entiat, USGS Rocky Reach Dam
Area: Entiat
Reference:
Stats: 8.13mi, 3,652' gain (one way)


Late in the week...looking for a trip...late emails looking for a trip partner. Seems this is my pattern lately. Thankfully Suzanne had an idea. Another series of late emails to Barry and Jim and we were now a group of 4.

We all met at the Monroe smokestack and began the long drive over to Wenatchee to meet up with Suzanne. We wanted an early start to beat the heat. We should have started earlier...

Suzanne got this idea from TomS, I should know better about signing up for what Tom calls his training hikes :) We also were doing this as a one way trip with the need for a car shuttle. We scoped out Rob
s Subie parked along 97 south of Entiat. We continued up 97 and turned left (west) onto Entiat River Road and then left again (south) onto Mills Canyon Road. We were doing a slightly different trip than TomS...instead of dropping down the north ridge of Keystone we would instead head SW from the point and follow a series of roads back to where we had left a car parked at a sharp switchback in the road along Mills Canyon Rd. After the car shuttle was arrange, we drove back out and pulled in behind Rob's car. He'd have a good 1+ hour head start on us.

From the "parking area" along 97 we could see a good boot patch making no waste of time heading straight uphill. Yikes. Good thing we got an early start (nearly 10am) so we could beat the heat (already 80+). The trail for the first .6mi gains just over 1100' before it gains the ridge and the grade eases up a bit. Loose dirt and rock on steep trail. Oh joy. I was really glad when we finally were on the ridge.

From here it was all open ridge walking and I mean open. Barely a burn up tree or two from here all the way to Keystone. Good thing I brought plenty of water cuz there is nothing on the ridge. The ridge is a bit of up and down broken by short stretches of steeper up and down all the way to Keystone. We stopped a few times to take in the views, huddle under a long tree to get a break from the sun, and boy of boy...take photos of the flowers. Bitterroot on this ridge was so thick it should be called a cluster flock. Wow. Balsamroot, lupine, an interesting clover I'd not seen before (springbank clover) and a white larkspur (D.xantholeucum), death camas, penstemon, mariposa lilies, scarlet gilia, tritella, and oh...the rattlesnakes. We saw/spooked three of them along the way. Yep...rattlesnakes are out. That makes 4 rattlesnake sightings in a week.

We took a short break just below the last steep hill to the top of Keystone and after this...the heat started getting to us. I know I slowed down. Finally on top the point we all took shelter in the shade of the radio tower building. After a proper lunch we headed SW off the top and picked up a dirt road about 100' below the summit and followed this...ever so gradually...over so slowly...down to the car waiting for us along Mills Canyon Rd. Very little shade along the road but one last treat was in order...Tweedii blooming nearly the whole way back to the car!

 
Keystone Point Slideshow

keystone_point_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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