As the trail turns - changing plans, the sequel!!! OK - so, flexibility is an important attribute when you are talking about organizing NW Hikers! So, we delayed our departure this morning so Trailpair Bob could get his dreadlocks cut ; but then, the folks that were supposed to meet up with them were late, so they suggested Barry (Middle E), Jim K, the driver and Gus should go on ahead without them. Plus, we lost Opus (David) to holiday demands - sorry, David, we used up all of the sunshine today - looks like you're going to have pretty crummy weather tomorrow! The original plan was to meet at the Ira Spring trailhead and do Bandera - the real summit. So, the possibilities now opened up. Barry had been lobbying for a Putrid Pete/Banana Ridge/Defiance/and possibly Bandera route to become the new destination. Neither Jim nor the driver were quick enough to think of a good reason why not! Now, any of you who know Putrid know that it's a steep little puppy! Oh sure, it starts off innocently enough, but you end up gaining about 2500' in about a mile! So, we got to the parking lot about 8:40 a.m. and we were on our way about 8:50 a.m. There were maybe six other cars in the lot at that time.
You are barely started on the Ira Spring when you reach the first switchback - it's here where you head straight, rather than continuing on the Ira Spring.
The route is fairly gentle - a little gain, but nothing spectacular for the first mile - most of that is through the trees and the crossing of a boulder field.
It's right on the other side of the boulder filed that the route gets serious. I can't really call it a trail now - but up until this point, it was a good, well maintained trail. Now, you head UP and it's a steep little pitch! But you are soon out of the trees and the views really open up.
About all I can say is that it's up until you hit the summit - when the weather is as clear as it was today, all you need to do is just keep heading up.
This seems to be the view I usually have of Barry!
Before long, we were all on the summit - although it had been quite sunny and almost warm on the way up - should be, it's a bit of hump to get up to the summit of Putrid Pete - but there was a nippy little breeze on the top and we needed to bundle up. The summit register was intact and we added our names - there was another treasure inside the register box - a picture of Pete!
We took some pics
and grabbed a snack - it took us about 2 hours to reach the summit.
So far, my new boots were doing well - not as comfy as the old ones, but it was time.
From the summit of Putrid - the run of Banana Ridge looked a bit dubious and a little scary - but off we headed to conquer Defiance.
Along the ridge, Gus found a refreshing drink!
Along our way, we spotted a view of Granite - little did we know that Trail Pair had headed there (we thought that they might do McClellan)
The ridge walk was absolutely lovely! Not difficult at all - a real surprise. We took one last look at Putrid
and then entered some trees and soon found the connector trail from Thompson Lake to Defiance. We opted to keep heading straight up the ridge and cut off a little of the distance to get to the intersection of the trail up to Defiance. We ended up running into the Defiance trail higher up and soon arrived on the summit of Defiance, where the wind was a little nippy there, too! But the sun was still shining. Of course, it's a small world and who should be on top but a friend of the driver's, Susan
and two women, Laura and Laurie.
Laura knew us by our trip reports on WTA.
We had a fun time chatting and talking about various trips. After our lunch, we decided that we had spent a little too much time chatting and that didn't leave us enough daylight to hit the true Bandera summit, so we headed off Defiance and to complete a loop, we decided to head down to Mason Lake - where "someone" (hint - four-legged) just had to take a dip in the lake - where there was a very thin layer of ice -
and then out the old Mason Lake trail.
As we headed down, we got one last look at our original summit goal.
A beautiful day in early December - with a brown trail so no schlepping all of the winter gear - but where is the snow? We figure about 9 or 10 miles, about 4000'+ of gain and a great day for an outing!
Yeah, the ridge "walk" from Web to Putrid didn't look nearly so friendly! Definitely recommend doing it in the direction we did - rather than the reverse - the drop off of Putrid is (to put it mildly) steep !
the Lykkens wrote:
Thanks for the photo tour from those of us stuck indoors today ~Jo
. . . and Jo, gonna' have to talk to you about staying indoors on a SUNNY Saturday in December!
Well, it looks like you missed all the ice! We could have had a hockey game on Granite.
TP - Real sorry to have missed it! But the hockey skates were left at home next to the snowshoes!
Putrid is lots of fun - a little initial trail thru the woods to get warmed up, then turn and go UP!! Good to see this loop works so well - I considered it earlier this past summer but never got around to it. From the looks of your nice pics, it is a very worthy loop trip.
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