Icicle Ridge (Mar 29, 2015)

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icicle_ridge_coverConditions: day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Leavenworth
Area: Leavenworth
Reference: Desert Hikes Washington
Stats: 8.61mi, 2618' gain


Morels are not out yet. I want mushrooms! Consolation prize for the day was a flower hike up Icicle Ridge :)

Weather was looking wet as we left the west side. Heading over the crest is was a bit slow to improve. Finally, by the time we popped out the other side of Tumwater Canyon and headed into Leavenworth we could see bits of blue sky poking out. Still, didn't quite look like the partly sunny day we expected.

We arrived around 9am and as expected, several cars were already there. We found one though right opposite the TH (1196') so hopefully that was a sign of a good day to come.

Just after leaving the parking area we spotted dots of yellow and purple right along the trail...glacier lilies and oregon anemones...I was excited since I really wasn't expecting this right from the start. A bit higher up, on the sunny open slopes, the balsamroot is going pretty strong. I wouldn't say they were at peak but give it another week and it should be. More flowers...ballhead waterleaf, spring beauty, even paintbrush and trillium. It was as if the spring flowers we mashed in with the summer flowers.

We reached the ridge, that first open area that looks like it may be used as a campsite, at about 10:50am (2.7mi, 2885'). There aren't any views to the canyon from this spot so we headed further up the trail. I wanted to at least make it to the knob, the viewpoint that I remember where you can see down the ridge to Hwy2 and the Wenatchee River. The trail does a series of long traverses wit switchbacks on the east side of the ridge. Here we say a fanciful grouse (or as Dani calls it...a wild chicken), a few yellowbells, some bluebells, and so much spring beauty it was just crazy. We reached the knob (the viewpoint) at about 11:45am just in time for lunch (3.89mi, 3558'). I think Dani was impressed with the views ;)

After lunch, we headed back down to that "campsite" on the ridge and headed up over to the knob overlooking Leavenworth. It's a short trip that only adds about a mile and 150' gain to the trip (round trip to the viewpoint). After a really nice break at this spot enjoying the sun, temps, and views, we headed back down to the car. The real treat was nearly running into a snake on the way down. I was in front and saw something move along the side of the trail. I instinctively ran backwards but the snake never rattled and when we looked at it closer it was clearly not a rattlesnake (no rattles, narrower head, much longer and skinnier than a rattler, but it had similar coloring to a rattler). Turns out it was a bull snake. Margaritas were waiting for us in Leavenworth :)
 
Icicle Ridge Slideshow

icicle_ridge_map

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