Kazuyo and I had been wanting to go to the top of Red Mountain for a long time. Red was on her short list of peaks she must do before returning to Japan. We took the old Commonwealth Basin Trail for the first leg of the hike.
This trail cuts off approximately a mile from the trip and while the views are not as spectacular as the new upper Pacific Crest Trail to the Katwalk, the forest is lovely and creek crossings are fun. The water level of the Commonwealth Creek was surprisingly low and the crossings easy. For an "abandoned trail" it is in wonderful shape.
The old trail intersects with the sanctioned Commonwealth Creek Trail shortly after it splits off the new PCT. Two miles later there is a cairn on the trail. If you continue straight ahead, the trail takes you to Red Pond and on to Red Pass. Turning right instead takes you straight up the side of Red Mountain.
Previous trip reports mention loose rock. This is an understatement. Red Mountain is one big rotten rock whose pieces come off in your hand while you are hanging on to it for dear life or which gives way under your feet to slide onto your unsuspecting hiking partner. It is best to go on this hike alone or with few people unless you wear a helmet and other armour to protect you from falling, sliding, slithering rocks, boulders and dirt.
However, once you make it to the top, all is forgiven as the views are spectacular.
We relaxed and ate lunch; Kazuyo with her usual masterpiece and me with a satisfying but less spectacular roll up.
After photo session
and building a small cairn on the summit
we cautiously descended. There was nice breeze on our descent and we were not very bothered by mosquitos. I can imagine that usually Red Mountain is normally a vertical red "frying pan" for hikers so we were pleased that at least radiating heat was not part of our challenge.
There were a surprising number of flowers on Red Mountain.
Also many flowers, mostly white, along the Commonwealth Trail.
For an added bonus on our return, we took a side trail over to Commonwealth Creek Falls. The falls were nice, but I bet earlier in the season they are spectacular.
We had a party to attend in North Bend, so we took showers at Ken's Truck Stop. Felt sooo good to get the trail dust washed off.
Then had wonderful salmon at our friend's camp site and then on for revelry at the party. What a great day!
Nice TR and excellent beta on the $10 showers! I vote for putting Kazuyo's Lunch picture on this year's calendar That looks so delicious and I'm not even that hungry - I can imagine how it tasted after a long hike.
Fun trip! I have to confess that I stared at Kazuyo's lunch for a few minutes. Gonna miss her gourmet photos when she goes back to Japan! She sure knows how to have a great time while she is here, though. Thanks for posting the TR, KarenP. Red Mtn is one of my favorites!
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