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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Indian Head peak, Cady Ridge & flowers, 8.2-3-2008
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3342 | TRs | Pics
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:35 am    Indian Head peak, Cady Ridge & flowers, 8.2-3-2008
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After a lot of back and forth regarding destinations Sadie's Driver, Bad Dog, and I set out for Cady Ridge saturday morning.  The three humans were outnumbered by the four dogs on this one, forsaken by Trailpair, Yumi, and Barry.  wink.gif  clown.gif

A long drive found us leaving the Little Wenatchee Ford parking around 10am, heading across the bridge and up Cady Ridge.  We encountered a nice guy with a cross cut saw logging out parts of the trail.  Shortly thereafter we were passed by a pair of horse riders and their dogs.  Back on the way we pushed up the ridge and into the glorious green meadows on top.  The clouds were low but bright and occasionally parted, promising a blue sky trip.  We had some flower delays as we made our way along the ridge.  Spirits were high.

Soon we were nearing Wards pass and stopped for a lunch break.  Off in the distance we could see the riders climbing up past the Sally Ann junction.  We took off after them, crossing a few snow fields, eager to find a camp.  Passing around the backside of Kodak peak we ran into a solo hiker.  Over the trip we talked to everyone and casually asked if they read NWHikers, hoping to meet a new face.  We didn't even have to ask this time, GaliWalker recognized all the dogs before ourselves!  Not wanting to interrupt his marathon dayhike, and hoping to drop our heavy packs, we pushed on and picked a sheltered site on the shoulder of Kodak.

And promptly everything went to hell.  As soon as our tents went up the clouds, which stayed high and bright this far, dropped down and encircled us.  Temperatures plummeted and views disappeared.  It was only 3pm and we'd already abandoned our dayhiking plans.  Instead the evenings entertainment consisted of alcohol.  I'd packed in a beer, Suzanne had her customary red wine, and even Joanna brought some too.  The bad dogs were sporting handy Gulpy bottles for their water so the humans decided to put them to use as well - by filling one with red wine!  A must have hiking accessory for sure.

With solid clouds, mist, and still dropping temperatures Suzanne retreated to her tent.  Joanna and I tried to tough it out awhile longer, each putting on all our layers and, in Joanna's case, wrapping in a sleeping bag.  But it became too much for us and by 8pm we were also retreating to the warmth of the tents.  I noticed the  suggestion on my can of Boddington's Ale directed a serving temperature of 41 F - right on target!  None of us were optimistic about the next day and we discussed abandoning the trip, hiking out in the morning if the clouds remained.  I stayed up reading until late at night, wishing I'd brought something more light-hearted than Into Thin Air.  Overnight it rained.  Big droplets pounded the tents and a solid breeze blew through.

We were all up early, dismayed to find the clouds remaining.  At breakfast we discussed a simple backtrack, avoiding the soggy brush on the Little Wenatchee, and breaking our loop.  But then, by some amazing twist, the clouds started to fade.  Indian Head popped out first, then distant peaks to the west, and even Kodak peak!  Immediately the character of our trip changed - there was hope!  We had to take advantage of this so we packed up and headed to Indian Head.

Losing the 500 ft to Indian Pass put us in the clouds but we knew we'd rise above, regaining that and more on the way up the peak.  Then shortly after the pass a near disaster occurred.  The dogs were snuffling upslope and suddenly all of them bolted down the steep hill, disappearing into the woods.  We never saw anything but believed they were after a deer.  Lots of yelling, whistling, waiting, and even a jolt to Emma's shock collar failed to bring them back.  Eventually Holly and Gusto came back, panting heavily, but there was no sign of Emma and Banjo.  We continued calling before Joanna suggested Suzanne and I go up Indian Head while she waited for the dogs.  Reluctantly we set off, hearing cries for "Emma!" much of the way up the peak.

Our hearts weren't really in the climb and we slowly pushed up through the wet brush, not really sure where we were going.  Neither of us had planned to go up Indian Head this trip and we didn't have a map or know the route, only a quick description from Joanna.  But partway up we emerged from the clouds, spotting the summit and beautiful meadows covering the whole slope.  We could see where we needed to go.  Even better, behind us, we could see the tops of every peak sailing like ships on a sea of fog.  It was amazing.

We set course for the ridge, planning to traverse over to the summit.  Along the way the bad-dog gene kicked in for Gusto and he would frequently disappear over little rises chasing marmots and scents.  Even the whistle didn't bring him back.  After a few of these he found himself attached to the end of Suzanne's trekking pole, dog-catcher style, until we cleared the marmot dens.  Past these scented dog temptations we crested the lower part of the ridge, rewarded with an awesome view of Glacier Peak just across the valley.  It was so close we could reach out and touch it!  But an even better sight was down in the meadows far below; three white spots coming up the hill.  The white dogs were accounted for!

We scrambled up a steep little way trail to the upper ridge and traversed along scree and dirt steps to the base of the summit.   From here it looked like a nasty scramble but we remembered Joanna said the top was "not intuitive".  I continued on around the corner of the ridge and found easy heather and grass slopes to the top, bypassing the scramble.  We were soon on top, enjoying the view and reading the register.  Several familiar NWHikers names were found, including one old entry by Jamin and Justus S - hope that stomach flu didn't dampen your trip Justus.


After lounging around, taking tons of photos, we were joined by the Bad Dogs who had powered up the mountain at blistering speed.  We all signed in, had a snack, and had to start the descent.  Our trip down was nearly as slow as the ascent due to frequent flower breaks!  The meadows were amazing - lupine, paintbrush, phlox, aster, everything.  Colors everywhere.  The sun was now firmly in place and the whole hillside glowed.  Last night we were drunk on wine, today on flowers.

But we were burning daylight and had a long trip out ahead of us.  We made it back down to the trail and parted ways with the Bad Dogs here.  Suzanne and I had to hike out but Joanna was planning one more day.  We headed back to camp while she went on for some White Pass explorations, t his time with Emma, bad dog numero-uno, tightly leashed.  It was now early afternoon with many miles to go so we sped along back to camp, stopping only to scoop up some water and let Gusto cool off in the occasional small pond.

Back at camp the breeze had died off and now the bugs were out.  We packed quickly and headed out, but not before one more peak.  Dropping packs near the trail junction we walked up the few hundred feet to Kodak peak.  Partway up the bad-dog impulse again kicked in for Gusto who went tearing down the hill.  Eventually he came back up, more or less climbing Kodak twice.  Views from the top were great but considering the splendor we found on Indian Head a bit underwhelming.  A quick snack on top and we were heading down.

As we slowly dropped down to Meander Meadows on the rutty, muddy, heavily eroded Little Wenatchee trail we could see the freshly constructed section of trail on the opposite side tempting us.  It would certainly have been easier and more direct but sadly wasn't open yet.  At the valley floor the trail meanders, true to the name of the place, and occasionally fades out.  We crossed the meadow wondering when the downhill would begin.  Once through it began and continued in spades.  The brush here overhung the trail to hip height but was thankfully dry.

Once through this we had only a long flat slog back to the car.  The sun  was getting very low but the brush only became higher.  Gusto disappeared altogether beneath it, the only sign of him was the scraping noise his dog-pack made while he pushed through.  The trip alternated between meadows, stands of trees, and more meadows.  Each group of trees had us thinking it was the last only to find yet another meadow.  One last surprise awaited up the hillside - a black bear sitting there, watching us, before walking off!  I caught a photo before he disappeared, rendering my big zoom lens more than just dead weight this trip.

At last we passed the Cady Creek trail crossing and the cars were in sight.  And what a welcome sight!  It was now after 7pm.  We'd awoken early and left camp for Indian Head around 7:30 am - nearly twelve hours of solid hiking time with minimal breaks.  Sitting down in the car never felt so good.  It felt so good for Gusto that he stayed down the whole trip back, despite two stops for food!

This was a fantastic trip, if much more difficult than planned.  Never give up on your trips!  All three of us were set to write this one off as a dud, right up until the morning, but everything turned out great!  One heck of a summit, a nice hike in, some adventure, and great company.  Suzanne and I are now junior members of the Bad Dog marathon-hiking club; we'll be expecting merit badges when Joanna returns.

We didn't return to Seattle until after 10pm so I still have a lot of photos to sort through.  Here's one for now, Suzanne will have more.

Trip stats:
25.6 miles
7581 ft total gain
3 humans
4 dogs

Bad dog ranking, for those keeping score:
#1 - Emma
#2 - Banjo
#3 - Gusto
#4 - Holly

Click here for lots more photos.

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BPLlama
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Joined: 07 Sep 2006
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:11 am   
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Looks like both the humans and the dogs had a blast on this trip.
I figured you guys must have returned late since I didn't spot a TR last night.

The preview glacier peak picture is  awesome. Looking forward to more!
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Eric
Peak Geek



Joined: 21 Oct 2002
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:23 am   
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Indian Head is a great viewpoint isn't it? We did that one about five weeks ago via Indian Creek. I think our route may have been shorter but that ridge route looks like it would be more scenic.
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TrailPair
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:35 am   
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It was almost an epic weekend for you....Looking forward to seeing the rest of the photos. up.gif

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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BigSteve
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:50 pm   
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Cool area.  Thanks for sharing.   up.gif   There certainly is a lot of vertical on steep heather on that route.

We descended from Indian Head summit to Indian Pass two years ago at the end of a traverse from Mt. Saul (I'll provide beta for anyone interested in doing that rarely done traverse, or anyone wanting to visit Airplane Lake and/or Mt. Saul).  You may have seen our names in the summit register.  On our descent, we saw a big black bear N of Indian Pass -- maybe that's what spooked your dog.
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:40 pm   
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Indian Head peak ruined my knees and I think was the beginning of the end of PiB's knees.  Gorgeous summit; but I don't recall flowers on the slope, only annoying marmot holes.

There's a cinder cone on the side of Indian Head; visible from the PCT.  It's not cone-shaped any more, it's just a big ole pumice spot, and is where all the pumice on the PCT at the point comes from.

--------------
"How much does a case of beer weigh?

Z, NWHikers' Backcountry Travel Consultant
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:47 pm   
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BigSteve wrote:
On our descent, we saw a big black bear N of Indian Pass -- maybe that's what spooked your dog.

Just past Indian Pass I heard a large amount of thrashing in the brush below me. I felt sure it was a bear (though I didn't see it), so I would agree with BigSteve.

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography site: http://galiwalker.zenfolio.com/
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Location: Welcome Pass
Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:20 pm    Re: Indian Head by Cady Ridge, consolation for clouds 8.2-3-2008
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Opus wrote:
After a lot of back and forth regarding destinations Sadie's Driver, Bad Dog, and I set out for Cady Ridge saturday morning.  The three humans were outnumbered by the four dogs on this one, forsaken by Trailpair, Yumi, and Barry.  wink.gif  clown.gif

Not to mention Jim K and Gary  shakehead.gif  But, alas, we carried on and on and on . . .  I want more than a merit badge, Opus!  But, he's right - what we thought would be a dismal, failed hike, was fantastic!  He got all of the details - here are my pics.  Joanna is back and she will add hers, too.  Thanks, guys!  Great hike and wonderful company.  up.gif  Here's the rest of the story in a 1000 words!  s.d.

Whew!   winksmile.gif

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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Bad Dog
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:01 pm   
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I'm back and still "drunk" with the flower views.  Will post a White Pass report later.  A couple of peeves to note, however!!  The BDC strongly disagree with the rating.  We think it should be as follows:

#1  Emma
# 2 GUSTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! naughty.gif
#3  Banjo
# 4 Holly.

OK, the other peeve is about the photos where I look like a "bloated chipmunk".    toothless.gif   Henceforth you are not allowed to take photos when I am eating or when I have my abominable snowman hat on.   : eyes.gif
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TrailPair
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:58 pm   
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Bad Dog, now you know why I have that rule...."no close-ups in the wilderness!"  K smile.gif

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:36 pm   
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Opus, great photos of the dew, sun rays, misty forest. You're an artist with your camera.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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trailjunky
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Post Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:53 pm   
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Way to go Opus, great shots!
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14006 | TRs | Pics

Post Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:30 am   
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Yesss, great photos, Ope.

You should have seen tons of bear - I always see bear in that area.  Even when I had lost my bear mojo, I saw bears there. (mojo is back, I've seen 2 cinnamons this year).

So yeah, can't wait to see more pics from you (and galiwalker).

--------------
"How much does a case of beer weigh?

Z, NWHikers' Backcountry Travel Consultant
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Don
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Post Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:46 am   
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Excellent account and pictures as usual Opus!   up.gif   This is an area definitely calling me.
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
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Location: The big rock candy mountain
Post Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:10 am   
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Thanks all!  I was expecting to see more bears too.  Reading over a bunch of past trips to the area, nearly everyone saw a bear.  I hauled along my big 300mm zoom just in case.  We found lots of bear evidence - fresh scat, very fresh tracks, and some shredded trees.  At least we saw one bear!

Flowers on the side of Indian Head seemed about their peak, but the ones on Cady ridge out towards Dishpan gap were still just starting.  I'd love to make another trip out there and do another loop out Cady Creek.
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