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.
View of Rainier from parking area
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.
Views to the NE
Rainier as seen along the trail
Views to the SW
Castle Mtn. in the distance
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.
MM on the trail
MM relaxing @ viewpoint on the way to Lil' Ranger
Rock knob & MM
Sign about trail
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.
Looking up the Wht. River valley
Airstrip in the valley
Pink blooms just shy of Lil' Ranger summit
MM & Rainier
LittleRanger summit cairn, Rainier behind
MM admires Rainier
Zoom of Rainier from Lil' Ranger Pk.
Pks. to the south
Pks. east of Little Tahoma
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.
Phlox on slopes of Noble Knob
Green meadow & Rainier
Heading up to the knob
MM checks out ants inside this plant
Rainier as seen from west side of NK
Zoom of Rainier from NK
Shades of blue
Mutton Mtn. & Castle(?) behind
Tarns below Mutton Mtn.
Twin knobs below
Squirrel on the summit
MM on the summit of NK
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.
MM decides to scale the knob
He gets a little higher...
One more step...
He got it!
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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