Davis Peak (Jun 29, 2014)

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davis_pk_coverConditions: day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Davis Peak
Area: Cle Elum
Reference: Day Hiking Central Cascades
Stats: 7.69mi, 1703' gain (round trip)

I tried doing Davis Peak a few years ago as a snow trip. Didn't work out so well. Knees weren't cooperating. I've been wanting to head back. A friend had been up there recently and there was the hope that most of the snow would be gone.

I like solo trips and I like getting an early start. I was out of down and made my turn off I-90 (exit 80)early, still plenty of time to get started before 9am which was my goal. It's easy to get to the trailhead, from exit 80 it's Bullfrog Rd to the 2nd roundabout, then north on 903 (Salmon La Sac Road) through Roslyn and Ronald, then continue to the north end of the lake, continue on Salmon La Sac Rd to the fork and go right (left crosses over the river towards Red Mtn), then just past "China Point) there is a sign for Davis Peak on the left. I'd heard the last bit of road to the trailhead was rough so I parked at the first lot right off the main road. In hindsight, my little Jetta could have made it a bit further to the second lot a bit further down the road. Higher clearance cars (Subies) would have no trouble getting all the way to the trailhead.

I was first in the lot and after packing some last minute gear, I was off (8:26am, 2773'). The road first drops a bit (about 250') as it wanders down to the trailhead (passing small cabins tucked in along the way). I reached the official trailhead at 8:37am (.63mi, 2520'). The nicely roaring creek and trees dripping with lichen greeted me. The trail drops down a short bit from the trailhead and quickly crosses over the creek on a recently redecked bridge. It's only a short bit of somewhat level hiking before the trail starts uphill in earnest (1.06mi, 2768').

This trail really doesn't waste time going uphill. Yes it's steep...but I've seen steeper. Lots of switchbacks and very little flat spots for relief and up, up, up you go.

I reached the start of the old burn at about 2.5mi (4100') and from there the trail opened up. But good gosh...I was getting soaked. The trail is a bit overgrown down low and there are some small trees down. But...higher up in the burn area the brush is really overgrown. It was a bit like walking through a rain forest. I brought my rain jacket but had decided to leave the rain pants in the car. I should have done the reverse.

Up, up, up the trail continued nearly directly on the south ridge of Davis. Then, at about 3.9mi (5340') the trail heads over to the west side of the peak through a short traverse in a nice open rocky section of trail before it (the trail) remembers it was supposed to be steep and resumes a few more short and steep switchbacks before it reaches the top of the southeast ridge of Pt 5988. Lots of charred trees here and the remains of a cornice I knew I needed to get around. I walked neat the edge and it was a steep drop (about 10') to the north side of this ridge. I looked further uphill and it looked like I could head that way and just walk around one edge of it which is what I ended up doing. Then...hmm...I poked around and couldn't find the trail. Last winters snow was still pretty thick in the basin. I knew a boot path was there but travelling solo made me cautious. The lack of views didn't help either. I had plotted a route on my GPS so I wouldn't have had any trouble following a route but...why. No views. So I headed back downhill intending to head to the open rocky area for lunch. Then, I bumped into Rick and Taehee. Wow....what a nice surprise. Our group of three headed back uphill but made the same choice I'd made earlier. So we sat on the ridge 4.5mi (5796') from the car, and decided that was a nice lunch spot. The views south towards Cle Elum Lake were somewhat open but the top of Davis was completely socked in.

After a nice relaxing lunch we headed back down and...got suck in traffic on I-90 for no reason at all. Ick.
Davis Peak Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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