Chatter Creek (Jun 30, 2019)

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chatter_creek_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Chiwaukum Mountains, USGS Jack Ridge
Area: Leavenworth
Reference: Day Hiking Central Cascades
Stats: 7.16mi, 2998' gain


I'm on a mission to revisit some trails I haven't been on in years. Steve is on a mission to hike all around the upper Enchantments without actually going there :) It's been about 14 years since I hiked this trail. Last time was on a scramble up Grindstone Mtn. I remember it being steep in sections. My memory didn't fail me.

We arrived kinda early (TH 2612') and we were hiking up the trail by about 9:30am. At first the trail is easy, mostly flat, following an old road. Before long that changes to the steep trail I remember. We only planned to hike to the basin area below Grindstone (not going all the way to Icicle Ridge.) because of the weather forecast (thunderstorms). The trail was mostly in the trees until right before the trail steepness eases up near the basin.

On the way up in a slightly sunny and sandy spot Steve spotted a skink. No...not a skunk...a SKINK. It was a quick sighting and then it was gone. We continued up the trail. I was hoping to make it partway up the switchbacks to the ridge but it was already past noon and I was hungry. We looked for a nice lunch rock plopped our packs down with a view across the basin and up towards Grindstone Mtn. We took our time with lunch since we weren't in a rush. Finally, time to head down, the clouds did seem to be getting darker. I dropped back down to the trail and felt a few raindrops on my arms so I dropped my pack and put the raingear on. That was a good decision since it wasn't long before it was raining pretty hard and we could hear the thunder right overhead. We didn't dawdle too long in the openings between trees.

On the hike out in a brushy section of trail that was in the trees I got lucky...I spotted some movement near my feet. At first I thought it was a rubber boa (I've been looking for those for some time with no luck) but quickly realized it was another skink! I mumbles some yips and yelps back at Steve who was wondering what the heck I was so excited about. I pointed a few feet in front of me and he went into action. It was cold out, the skink was moving slow, so Steve was easily able to safely nab it. He knows so much about all kinds of lizards and amphibians and how to safely catch them. We admired it, snapped a few photos, and then Steve let it go in the scrub further off the trail.

The trail is pretty brushy in many sections so having the rain pants on was a big help. But nothing, sky of rubber boots, will prevent keeping wet feet. More and more water got wicked into my shoes from the wet socks. By the time we reached the trailhead we were both squishing in our shoes.
 
Chatter Creek Slideshow

chatter_creek_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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