Miller Peak (Jun 6, 2014)

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miller_pk_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Liberty
Area: Teanaway
Reference:
Stats: 9mi, 3240' gain (round trip)

I have a three day weekend coming up. What to do? A message from Dani early in the week (I like those) asking if I was interested, then a suggestion of Miller Peak...I was in. I love the Teanaways this time of year. I thought there would be some flowers. I hoped to find some morels. I'd also get to tag a new named high point.

We met 6:30am at a Park and Ride then carpooled over Snoqualmie Pass. We turned onto Teanaway Road then at the 29 Pines junction turned onto NF 9737, then just after Stafford Creek a turn onto NF 9703 which we drove to the end, the Miller Pk trailhead (3200'). The last mile (past the Stafford Creek TH) is a bit bumpy. Looks like the road is a bit churned up from logging trucks driving the wet/muddy road and then the mud dried. Gertie, the trusty Jetta, did fine getting to our TH, I just took it slow in a few places. NF 9737 itself has seen better days. Lots of big potholes in the road. Best to take it easy.

We found ourselves the only car at the TH, big surprise on a Friday :) That was fine with us, we'd have the trail to ourselves. We were hiking up the trail by about 9:10am. The first creek crossing was minor, boots stayed on. The second crossing was a little deeper (over the tops of boots) so we waded bare foot (though on the way out we did try to jump the deeper section with boots on and only the tops of my socks got wet). The trail heads uphill, following the creek closely until about 1.5mi (3827') when we crossed a creek again and the trail started to climb uphill more earnestly. We were looking for mushrooms, Dani found one first, I found another one right after that, then...nothing else the rest of the day. We looked hard. This year looks like a real bust for morels.

The trail was snow free most of the way. A few minor snow fingers at some creek crossings higher up but nothing that couldn't easily be crossed. The trail continued steadily uphill until we reached the ridge at a nice pretty little spot filled with blooming balsamroot (3.2mi, 5210'). We got our first views up the ridge towards the top of Miller (can't see the top from this first spot). Miller's southwest slopes were blanketed in yellow balsamroot. The ridge area had thousands of blooming glacier lilies too.

From this first spot along the ridge, the trail doesn't' stay on the ridge top, instead it follows the just below, on the northwest side. We were still following trail that was nearly all snow free. The trail hit a couple of minor switchbacks, we hiked through the junction with the Country Line Trail and then, at about 3.95mi (5750') we hit the first real snow. The snow was still clinging to the north sides of the ridge likely because the trees helped insulate the snow from the direct sun. Instead of trying to find and follow the snow covered trail in the trees, we instead headed more directly uphill towards the ridge. We got to the ridge, again picked up the ridge at the top end of the long switchback, and the rest of the trip to the top was all snow free.

Dani found one long ladybug at the summit (4.65mi, 6432'). We plopped ourselves on the summit rocks, turned toward the Enchantments, and enjoyed lunch for nearly 90 minutes with great views. No summit register.

About 2:25pm we figured it was time to head down. We wanted to try to avoid the snow patch we hit on the way up so when heading down, we stayed high, on the ridge. It didn't take much effort because we kept thinking the snow patch must be coming up but in fact we had completely bypassed it.

The trip down was uneventful as in dang...we didn't find any mushrooms! :(

Notes: Near the trailhead the trail is a bit mucky. A small stream is running down the trail. Not boot sucking deep, just minor mucky. Stream crossings were not that big a deal. If I was a better jumper, I could likely clear all of them.
 
Miller Peak Slideshow

miller_pk_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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