The road to this hike starts at the west end of the Tumwater Canyon on Highway 2 out of Leavenworth. The road allows you to drive in about three miles to the trailhead and is in good shape with minor washboarding and almost no traffic. The trail starts out fairly steeply and stays that way for about 2 1/2 miles. It levels for a very short section near the junction with the Badlands trail and then takes off steeply again for about another mile to the top of the ridge. In mid summer this trail can be very dusty, but right now it's still slightly moist which provides very good tread on the steep upper section. As we approached the ridge we ran into some patchy snow which disappeared as we crested the ridge. We were able to traverse another mile or so, through the burn area, before we got back into the live trees and still heavy accumulations of snow. We decided to go uphill as far as we could on the south facing ridge as there was no snow on that face. At the top of the ridge we stopped and had lunch looking up at Big Jim mountain and out across the Badlands towards Glacier Peak. The snow is gone in the sun to about 6500 feet, but in shaded areas it lingers to about 4500-5000 feet. If you want to get to Lake Augusta without crossing snow I'd give it a couple more weeks.
There were no blowdowns and very few mosquitoes... so far.
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