I got off work on Wednesday August 11th and jetted up North to Highway 20. The weather was beautiful and I had plans to summit Sauk Mountain and Dock Butte in one evening. On the map they were pretty close to one another, and they both were short hikes. Sauk Mountain being 4 miles RT and Dock Butte Being 3 miles RT. Both elevation gains were a touch over a thousand feet each. I was prepared for some short jaunts, but nothing to get all worked up about. I knew that I would be cutting it close on daylight, but felt that I could squeeze them into one adventure. I was mainly hoping that they would have good, visible trails because I figured whichever one I did last I would be walking out under headlamp.
As I went through the major city of Concrete I saw a really sweet looking mountain up ahead. I knew that I would soon be approaching my objective, but when I first saw the mountain I thought, "wow I would really like to check that bad boy out." Well it ended up being Sauk Mtn, so Sauk it to me!!!
I headed east on highway 20 and was soon taking a left on the Sauk Mountain Road. It was a very easy turnoff to find and well marked. You can see Sauk Mountain from Highway 20 as you close in on the turnoff.
I followed the road for 6 miles and parked at the TH. The temp was hot and I headed up knowing I needed to make good time. I left my truck around 4:30pm. The wildflowers were amazing and are currently in full tilt on this hike.
The trail switchbacks up a steep slope and gains the ridge to the old fire lookout site.
Once I got on the ridge I came to a vantage point that had a great view over to Bald Mountain and down to Sauk Lake. This is where I met a guy and two chicks just coming down. I asked him about the true summit, but he said that the true highoint was where the old lookout was at and you could still see some remains there. I tried to explain the class 3 scramble over to the true highpoint, but he wasn't interested in hearing my apparently "made up" story. He said that he has been there like 8 times and the old lookout site was the highest you could go. I smiled and was on my way.
I followed the easy trail to the old lookout site. There was a little loose rock and some snow patches, but a very easy stroll. At the top I met a nice lady with 4 kids. First thing I did was look over at the true summit and saw that it was higher. Not by much, but you could for sure tell. I dropped my pack and scramble along the knifes edge to the highpoint. It was actually the best part of the whole day. Took some pics of the benchmark, which I was hoping to show the guy on the way down. He was about 20 minutes in front of me though.
It was sweet to see my truck parked at the TH while I was balancing over a thousand feet above. I got to the true summit around 5:30.
I then headed back and was to my truck around 6pm. Never ran into the guy again, but no big deal. The old lookout site is a real nice place to go... but if you want to get all huffy about highpoints, its an exposed scramble... lol
All you could see was a cloud of dust as I raced toward Dock Butte.
I headed West along Highway 20 and took a right on the Baker Lake Highway. Headed 12 miles and took a left at FSR #12. This turnoff wasn't marked very good, or better yet it was marked kind of funky. Took this road for 7 miles and took another left on Road #1230. Took this for 4 miles until it finally ended at the trailhead. Ya I know. This burned up a lot of time, but it was a pretty drive.
I threw on my gear and left the TH around 7:30pm. The trail was easy to follow. It felt like it was longer than 1.5 miles, but I reached the summit at 8:30pm. I was able to enjoy the amazing sunset and then headed back down. I would have taken a dip in Blue Lake if time allowed.
I will probably do Sauk Mountain again only to explore Bald Mountain and also Sauk Lake below.
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