Yesterday MM & I headed out for a nearby leg-stretcher...something mellow enough so as to not wear ourselves out before a much harder trip later this wk. LittleRanger Pk. had been on the list for awhile, & since we were nearby we hit up Noble Knob. I'd been to Noble Knob once several yrs. ago but approached it from the south. This time we'd be coming from the west.
From 410 we turned on FR 70 > FR 72 > FR 7250. The rd. is snow-free & not too bad w/the potholes & washboards. We got to the TH ~ 10AM & no one else was there.
The trail starts out more or less flat as it runs the crest of Dalles Ridge. In ~ 0.5 mi. we reached the junction w/the trail to Lil' Ranger.
We turned right downhill, dropping ~ 300' to the next junction where there is a big shelter. Just after the shelter were some rocky outcroppings w/nice views to the south.
We continued on & watched the GPS & map closely for our arrival @ the high point on the ridge. The true summit of Lil' Ranger is reached just before the trail switchbacks @ a viewpoint & starts going downhill back into the trees. We took a few pics from here, then scrambled back up to the pk. Much to my surprise there was a summit register. I figured that this pk. might not be substantial enough to place a register, but here it was. There's a great view of Rainier & peaks to the s/se. Trees block the view back north...but that's OK since it's mostly clearcuts anyway.
We lounged for awhile in the sun, then headed back up to the ridge. Up on top we turned right to continue on Dalles Ridge toward Noble Knob, about 2 mi. away. The trail is pretty level along the ridge, then drops to a saddle & climbs gently to the next trail junction which is unmarked but obvious. We turned left, heading north now to the knob.
One last junction & a bit more of a climb, & we found ourselves on top.
The mosquitos were pretty bad so we didn't hang out too long. We dropped down a bit & MM climbed the rocky "knob", which may be slightly higher than the main summit area but it was hard to tell for sure.
The trip out went pretty fast as it was mostly downhill or level. For the drive down, we took FR 72 directly to 410 instead of back to 70. This rd. was also in good shape & overall is pretty comparable to the other route.
Back in Enumclaw we hit up El Camino once again, & enjoyed overhearing the drunken conversation of the table next to us..."lick it clean, put it away dry" "you're gonna get us kicked out" "can we take this silverware home?".... As they stood to leave they came over & apologized to us "Sorry you had to listen to us, we're leaving now"... I thought it was hilarious.
-------------- Home is where the hiking is.
"Peaks that have come and gone four times should halt a man in his steps." -- William O. Douglas
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