I heard that the trails in the Teanaway basin were open. The warm weather has opened the eastern slopes of the cascades earlier than last year even with our heavy snow fall. We decided to go to Iron Peak, one of our favorite trails in the area. We hiked this last Tuesday - June 23rd.
We have been hiking this region since the early '80s. I have a photo on my desk that was taken on our first trip to Iron Peak way back in early July 1986. I think we've been up this trail 4 or 5 times. The trail is not that hard since the wide switchbacks spread out the elevation gain. It was fine for me even being out of shape.
The drive takes about 2 1/2 - 3 hours from north Seattle. The last 13 miles are on dirt road. The road used to be pretty bad but it was regraded and improved about 5 years ago. But time is starting to takes its toll - man were the potholes killers this time - especially in the bright sunlight.
We got to the trail head around 11am. The parking area at the side of the road was empty. It was Tuesday and few people were to be seen. In fact we never saw another hiker on the trail the whole day.
The trail starts along side of El Dorado Creek. It was running fast and full but it was a lovely sound. The forest is Douglas fir and pine with very little undergrowth. But what makes this area special is the serpentine soil - a unique soil poor in minerals. It creates a botanical wonderland with species of wildflowers that have adapted to the soil. About half way up, we came across a large blow down. Fortunately, it was easy to pick our way through the broken trees.
On the upper slopes we saw lovely anemones, glacier lilies, shooting stars, and snow douglasia. Off in the distance we could see Rainier and close by the rocky sides of the peaks in the Esmeralda Basin.
We reached the saddle by 2pm. Yep - it is taking me about 1 hour to climb 1 mile. The rest of the way to the summit still had snow patches and we were content to explore the saddle. We sat on the rocks, ate our sandwich and watched the lovely view down the opposite side to Beverly basin where we hiked last year. The wind picked up and the high overcast cooled us off. We headed back down to the car and back to Seattle by 7pm.
- Beverly Turnpike - August 2008
- Esmeralda Basin - July 2006
- Iron Peak - Ingalls Loop - July 2004 (a 16 mile loop!)
- Miller Peak - June 2004