Iron Peak (Jun 17, 2018)

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iron_pk_coverConditions: Day Hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Mount Stuart
Area: Teanaway
Reference: n/a
Stats: 6.87mi, 2601' gain (round trip)

Hmm...where should I go hiking. Originally the plan was to head out to Thorp Mtn LO but at the last minute I decided to head to Iron Peak. It has been a few years since I'd been there. I thought it would be fun to head back. I decided to get an early start to avoid the heat that I knew would be coming. I was out of the house by 6am and pulled up at the TH parking area (really a wide spot along the road) about 8:30am (3955' elev). I was the second car. So...that meant there was someone else higher up.

The trail starts out in light forest but doesn't waste too much time before the forest thins to clearings and the flat trail gives way to heading uphill. Some flowers out down low. I spotted a lousewort but can kick myself for not getting a photo (I forgot on the way down). I trail is pretty consistent the first 1.27mi gaining about 1133'. It then eases up just a bit for about a mile before it pick up again until the trail reaches the saddle (2.77mi, 6132').

There is a small patch of snow blocking the trail right at the ridge. There are a good set of steps kicked across it. On the way back down I was able to bypass the snow altogether. There is also a bit of snow along the ridge but for the most part one can run the whole ridge out to the highpoint without touching snow. With the heat this coming week these few remaining patches of snow won't last long.

Right above the saddle I met up with a long hiker who was separated from his Mountaineers group. He had stopped to get water. His group must have been higher up the ridge. He looked like he was heading down. We chatted a bit and it seems he wasn't sure of the route to the top so I told him he was more than welcome to join me. Not much later, his group passed us heading down. We all stopped, Brian (?) would head up with me and this he would regroup with his group later. We were so close to the high point that his trip up wouldn't delay his larger group too much.

There are some flowers blooming along the ridge. Not a lot of color but just enough to make the trip interesting.

We arrived at the high point (3.4mi, 6485') about 11:20am. I dropped my pack because it was time for lunch with some views! Brian signed the summit register and then headed back down to meet his group.

The wind was steadily picking up while I ate lunch. Seemed like there were some pretty good gusts (maybe 25mph?). I was getting just a bit chilled so I decided to head down. By now the gusts were getting pretty strong. Strange maybe because I don't recall reading about strong gusts in the weather forecast. Once I dropped off the ridge though the winds nearly died back completely. I took my time hiking down...time to look for interesting flowers and just soak in the views. On the way down I hear a really melodic sound of a bird singing. I was surprised that the bird was preoccupied enough that I could get right under the tree it was perched in. I think, I'm not sure, that it was a hermit thrush.

I made it back to the car by about 1:45pm and packed up my things into the car to head home. I got to Cle Elum and traffic on I90 westbound was at a standstill. Even the entrance ramps were backed up. Waze to the rescue. It diverted me onto some side streets into Roslyn then over 90, then onto more side streets... I took a somewhat convoluted route trying to stay off 90 but each time I got close to it I could see traffic was still standing still. Eventually I didn't have a choice but to get onto the highway. Oh well...gotta love summer construction. I do think my route saved me about 45 minutes of sitting in traffic. I was still home in time for dinner.
 
Iron Peak Slideshow

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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