What the heck were we thinking!!!!!!!
The weather was hot!!!!! The elevation gain was epic!!!! The route was steep!!! And one of us already had a broken arm!
Gimpilator and I found ourselves pulling off the Mountain Loop Hwy and driving down road 49 to the N Fork Sauk Trail #649 by 7:20am.
The TH had a few other cars belonging to folks presumably climbing Glacier Peak.
About 1/4 mile down the trail we connected with the Red Mt #651 trail and we were hiking through a dense forest that offered us some very nice shade from the blistering sun and heat. The route starts to get steep and doesn't let up very often as we gained elevation quite rapidly. There was a nice viewpoint to Sloan Peak to our west that made for a decent spot to stop for a moment and answer the call of nature.
We continuted up with our feet covering pine needles all over that were rather slippery. We knew that more than a few wipeouts would ensue on our way back down later in the day. Gimpilator has a broken arm so his right arm/hand was useless for him as he can't lift more than 2 pounds, so when he fell when trying to get over a large fallen tree I was hoping that he hadn't re-broke what had started to heal already.
After a while we broke out of the trees and were in the sun . Looking up we saw a nice heather filled gully lined by trees on either side.
We first tried to skirt the edge of the trees to avoid the heather and possible falls but soon decided to just head straight up and take our chances. The views got really good very quickly.
We approached the summit ridge and got our first glimpse of Glacier Peak to our east.
We took turns leading up the ridgeline with the summit in full view above us.
By high noon we arrived at the summit and the local welcome commitee , the resident bugs started to swarm around us as we snapped photos of the area.
Adam decided to check out the small ridge to our northeast.
After some quality time on the summit with the bugs we headed down to Ruby Lake to take a dip and escape the heat.
At the lake the bugs were even worse!!! They'd follow us into the water and hover over our heads in hopes of sucking a meal from our skulls.
The swim felt so good after getting over the initial shock of the cold water it felt so good to cool our bodies down.
The last bit of elevation gain to get out of the lake basin pushed our overall elevation gain for the day over 5000'!! No wonder we were so tired!
We descended the heather slope and by butt found the fastest way down after I slipped. I tell you what, the ground around there is quite bumpy when one's butt gets to feel the way down.
As we got lower the temps got higher. The temperature at the summit was probably about 75 degrees with a bit of breeze. One could almost feel the air temp go up as we made our way back down the trail.
My butt made a few more appointments with the ground as we headed over the pine needle covered trail under the big trees.
We were back to the car by 4:20 and I was really looking forward to driving through Granite Falls and getting a nice cold Pepsi-Cola. We cranked up the A/C and were very happy and excited about our great trip.
The rest of our day is summed up in this
Thanks for a great hike idea Gimpilator and I look forward to what you come up with for us next!!
"There was a nice viewpoint to Sloan Peak to our west that made for a decent spot to stop for a moment and answer the call of nature."
funny you should mention "the call".
That spot you describe is the site of the Red Ridge lookout built 1936, destroyed 1967. Here is the outhouse that was still standing (and open for business) in September 1984. A picture window on the west (lit) side would have been perfect.
Thanks for that tidbit of info on the lookout location. The pano that I took of Sloan was taken where the lookout must have been then.
I knew that it felt right to find a nice spot to squat when we stopped there
The only wildlife that we encountered was a small grass snake who's slithering in some leaves spooke the crap out of us. That was near the lookout location.
We did not see any fish in the lake, but there were plenty of flys on the water to support a large school of fish.
Total elevation gain for the trip was over 5000'. The TH sits at 2100' and the summit at 6975'. The journey down to the lake and back to the "trail" was about another 300'. I don't know the distance as I don't have my TOPO disc 3 with me right now to draw up the route.
As for a route to the lake, there is a slight trail for about the first few hundred feet along the route then it's just pick your way through.
This trip is worth a repeat sometime, granted next time I'll wait for the air temp to drop and the bugs to subside a bit.
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