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wildernessed
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 12:08 pm 
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Location : South of Wenatchee, Wa
Access : Wenatchee Ave. > Alcoa Hwy > Colockum Rd > Tarpiscan Rd
Maps : TOPO, can buy large maps at Colockum Wildlife Center
Stats : This route / loop : 9-9.5 mi, 2000' r/t

Tarpiscan - Cape Horn - Hedge Hog Ridge Loop
Tarpiscan - Cape Horn - Hedge Hog Ridge Loop

Steve and I were down here not to long ago, but it was a little to early, looking back the best time for wildflowers and cactus blooms seems to be the 3rd or 4th week of April, Big Horn Sheep sightings probably early to Mid April.
The weather looked promising, so I gave Kyle a call, who I like to think of as the "Chief Science Officer" on our trips, and he seemed interested, so Steve, Kyle, and I hoped for good weather and a good wildflower show, and maybe the privilege of seeing some Big Horn Sheep.

We arrived to an empty TH with mostly blue sky and some thin high clouds, everything had greened up nicely and we had wildflowers right from the get go along the road grade and surrounding mountain slopes which just became better as we progressed in both varieties and sheer numbers, so it was stop and go. But that is what a wildflower trip is all about, running up slopes, running down gullies, laying in awkward positions in dirt and basalt talus etc..., the Phlox is truly spectacular along the route.

Cape Horn from near the TH
Cape Horn from near the TH
Kyle enjoying the wildflower swathes.
Kyle enjoying the wildflower swathes.

Once we crossed Tarpiscan Creek we headed up the Eastern side of Cape Horn where maybe 300' below the summit, mainly in and around rock you begin to run into the Hedge Hog Cactus, they were in bloom, not peaking, but still well enough along to hold your eye. The cactus last in varying density from there to the summit and back around and down the ridge we took down.

Looking North from the summit.
Looking North from the summit.
Sweet !
Sweet !
Indian Paint Brush
Indian Paint Brush

We had a nice lunch in the sun, it was the warmest day of the year and certainly the most comfortable, full on sun it felt good, but it was also a warning shot that it's about time to head for higher elevations. Anyhow we arced across and down the ridge to our West and found  swathe after swathe of Hedge Hog Cactus in bloom then descended down through Phlox and Balsam Root to Tarpiscan Creek where we close our loop refilled our water and hiked out. It was quite a rewarding day, great to get out with Kyle again, and Steve exploring. Thanks Guys !

Ridge down across from Cape Horn.
Ridge down across from Cape Horn.
Must be catholic.
Must be catholic.
Beautiful Hedge Hog Cactus Blooms.
Beautiful Hedge Hog Cactus Blooms.
Following a game trail and avoiding the basalt talus for the most part.
Following a game trail and avoiding the basalt talus for the most part.
Balsam Root going down the ridge to Tarpiscan Creek
Balsam Root going down the ridge to Tarpiscan Creek
Kyle looking at West Bar from the West face of Cape Horn
Kyle looking at West Bar from the West face of Cape Horn
Ridge route down and both forks of Tarpiscan Creek
Ridge route down and both forks of Tarpiscan Creek

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Layback
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 12:19 pm 
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Looks like a very pretty flower hike Rob.  Shame on me; I had no idea that there are cacti in Washington.  It only seems natural I suppose, but I didn't know that.   doh.gif
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Quark
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 12:26 pm 
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Wow, the hedgies already in bloom out there!

This place is on my list for this year. More Cowbell wants to go, too.  Your pic of West Bar shows the giant current ripples from the Bretz Floods!  THis is accessed via Colockum Road, isn't it?  Have you driven the entire road this year?

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JimK
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 12:36 pm 
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Thanks Rob. I've been waiting for more flower updates from east of the crest.

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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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Location: Wenatchee
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 1:01 pm 
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Quark : We saw a car on the road going towards West Bar, but I don't know which way they came in Ellensburg vs. Wenatchee, I haven't been on Colockum Pass road for 3-4 years, that is one road you have to be prepared for. I would think it wouldn't be passable from the Wenatchee side yet. We have been looking at going around the West face of Cape Horn and down to West Bar, but it's cliffy, loose basalt, and last year we almost got killed when a rock slide blasted through a gully we attempted to go up. I'm thinking a kayak or canoe is the way to go, otherwise it's going to be a 18 - 20 mile r/t which wouldn't be to bad as an overnighter.

Jim : The flowers are fantatstic out there, the cactus are plentiful from below the summit ridge to the summit and around the ridge to the West we took down. It's a good one off the beaten track. Kyle will probably as usual have some great pics.

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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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Location: Wenatchee
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 1:05 pm 
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Layback wrote:
Looks like a very pretty flower hike Rob.  Shame on me; I had no idea that there are cacti in Washington.  It only seems natural I suppose, but I didn't know that.   doh.gif

Leavenworth is still considered The Wenatchee Valley, and there are scorpions back that far West, though not plentiful. NOt to worry they mostly hang out in the cracks in the crags ! hairy.gif

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Z
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Erratic
PostMon Apr 19, 2010 1:07 pm 
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I think we saw you guys up on the rim. We'd kayaked over to the West Bar in the late a.m. Did you see three kayaks pull in below you? We did a loop hike from the upriver end. The cacti were spectacular-saw way over 100. At least 1000 elk were in attendance (a few hundred quite close), as well as a few snakes. Spectacular day!

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"Einstein stating that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, is as a blind man stating that nothing can travel faster than the speed of sound" 1979
They don't make years like they used to.
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wildernessed
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 1:58 pm 
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We saw kayaks around 1200-1300 hr or so on the river, that's the way to go. I have a Perception Carolina I should get out with it. up.gif

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Z
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Erratic
PostMon Apr 19, 2010 3:17 pm 
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wildernessed wrote:
I have a Perception Carolina I should get out with it. up.gif

Best to get out before the jetskis and speedboaters. If you're interested in company, let me know. There are lots of nice hikes (and camping spots) from kayak accessible locations along that stretch of the river; Great wildlife watching too.
EDIT: I can also show you the lower section of the game trail heading up to the top. I've never gotten around to climbing it the whole way, but have seen lots of elk, deer and sheep on it.

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"Einstein stating that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, is as a blind man stating that nothing can travel faster than the speed of sound" 1979
They don't make years like they used to.
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Flora
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 4:55 pm 
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"Shame on me; I had no idea that there are cacti in Washington.  It only seems natural I suppose, but I didn't know that. "

Layback : There are cacti in Montana, too, at 5,000 feet elevation near the Yellowstone River!

Nice looking area.  Bit of a drive from my corner of Washington right now!

Thanks.

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kyle d
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 7:28 pm 
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An excellent wildflower hike at this time of the year.  Very enjoyable in the sun and warm temps.  Thanks for another great trip guys.

We passed two western junipers (Juniperus occidentalis, I think) that were at least a mile apart.  I was thinking this was a bit north of thier range, but obviously not -- unless someone has been planting them.

It's a little early for the cacti bloom peak, but with the warm weather it may be this week.  The phlox, however, were at peak bloom.

Some pics:
Wildernessed snags another primo parking spot
Wildernessed snags another primo parking spot
Collecting ticks
Collecting ticks
Brodiaea
Brodiaea
hairy balsamroot
hairy balsamroot
Larkspur
Larkspur
Western Juniper, seems pretty far north, but we saw two along this hike.
Western Juniper, seems pretty far north, but we saw two along this hike.
Wide open country
Wide open country
The Columbia
The Columbia
Cape Horn and West Bar
Cape Horn and West Bar
West Bar with ripples from ice age floods
West Bar with ripples from ice age floods
Penstemon
Penstemon
larkspur and phlox
larkspur and phlox
Phlox
Phlox
Penstemon?
Penstemon?
Paintbrush
Paintbrush
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Balsamroot and a little phlox
Balsamroot and a little phlox
Overachieving balsamroot
Overachieving balsamroot
Phlox
Phlox
Multiple phlox colors
Multiple phlox colors
Phlox and sagebrush sharing the same space
Phlox and sagebrush sharing the same space
Phacelia
Phacelia
Another nice phlox
Another nice phlox
Basalt, Balsamroot and Clouds
Basalt, Balsamroot and Clouds

The desert shooting stars are mostly finished at these low elevation areas, but here are some gratuitous pictures from Saddlerock a few weeks ago.

Desert Shooting star (Dodecatheon conjugens most likely although it may be Dodecatheon pulchellum)
Desert Shooting star (Dodecatheon conjugens most likely although it may be Dodecatheon pulchellum)
Desert Shooting star (Dodecatheon conjugens most likely although it may be Dodecatheon pulchellum)
Desert Shooting star (Dodecatheon conjugens most likely although it may be Dodecatheon pulchellum)
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Gil
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 8:31 pm 
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Really pretty flowers, guys!

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wildernessed
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PostMon Apr 19, 2010 8:34 pm 
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up.gif Nice shots Kyle.

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Hikingqueen
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PostTue Apr 20, 2010 10:55 am 
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awesome! biggrin.gif
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Z
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Erratic
PostTue Feb 22, 2011 5:05 pm 
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Hey Wildernessed, are you one of the rock climbers who have been doing the face on Cape Horn? Looks like more gear up there than last year. It's a long fall, but into deep water. We went over to the West Bar on Sunday. Lots of wildlife on both sides of the river. Getting green, but no cactus bloom yet.   Gorgeous day for paddle and hike though.

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"Einstein stating that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, is as a blind man stating that nothing can travel faster than the speed of sound" 1979
They don't make years like they used to.
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