I love Church Mountain, I visit her every year at least once. I like to go early when there is still snow and while there was snow in the lower meadow overall there wasn’t as much as normal. I had the mountain pretty much to myself, there was one other vehicle in the parking area when I got there and they were heading down when I got to the upper meadow so it was just me and the marmots and bears oh my. Continue reading →
I first started hiking about 15 years ago when my in-laws got Miranda, the Airedale shown in the header. They were older and she needed a lot of exercise. She wasn’t the friendliest dog so I started finding places that there would not be any humans and that is all she wrote. It is easy to get in the must summit, must do big miles mentality but sometimes I remember to just go poke around and look. Today was one of those days.
For the last few nights before bed I have been sitting down and planning my hikes for next year. Not my after work or can’t leave town ones, but the others…
I am making two, no, three lists: new hikes, hikes to revisit, and my tried and true up on Baker. I sometimes think that I don’t really hike that much but as I prepare for next year it brings to mind the ones I did this year and I realize I did get hikes in this year…some would say quite a few. I tend to revisit places I have been that draw me back, in this upcoming year I am going to try to add more new hikes. Hahahaha, I just read this paragraph of me whining about not going new places and then remembered I did go to Africa and summit the worlds tallest free-standing mountain, Kilimanjaro! I am an awkward human!
For my next summer break adventure I plan on hiking the John Muir Trail (JMT) in California terminating with a summit of Whitney. While I am down in that area perhaps I will go over and attempt the Wind River Range again. I was there last year after hiking the Teton Crest Trail but the smoke from the forest fires was so thick that my poor asthmatic lungs could not take it and I left and went down to Uintas and went up King Mountain, the tallest peak in Utah. That was a stunning area, highly suggest it!
I had had Ruby on the bucket list for a long time. I first read about it in an old hiking book then found the approach on Summitpost.org I decided to make it an over-nighter. Parking is at the end of the road in the Colonial Creek Campground, NW Forest Pass required. The trail starts along the beautiful Thunder Creek where in just over 2 miles the junction with the trail heading to Fourth of July Pass is reached.
So far the trail had been pretty flat and easy but here is where the up started. In the first 2 miles the elevation gain was only 250 ft or so, in the next 2.5 miles the gain was about 1875 ft up to Fourth of July Camp. A permit is required to sleep here and when I stopped by the ranger station in Marblemount, I was told I was lucky, there was one spot left. I think there must have been a glitch in their computer program because I had the entire place to myself all night…well, except for the bear.
The camp was nice, there was running water about 500 ft away and a pit toilet off in the woods. I hung my food on the other side of the stream before settling down. I had read that the campsite farthest up the trail had the best views and it did indeed.
The next morning I packed up my overnight gear and stashed it in a safe place to be picked up on my way back down later that day. I headed up the trail that was fairly flat until the cutoff to Ruby. I missed the cutoff at first and had to backtrack about a quarter of a mile. Summitpost says “As soon as the first 30′-long bridge is seen, search for a hidden path”. I would like to add that if you come to the bridge you have gone too far. As you approach the bridge the trail is on the left. You will know it when you see it and there is a sign just a few feet up the trail.
While SP says the trail is sometimes hard to follow, I didn’t find that to be the case at all until the last half mile and then you can still tell where you need to go. This is not a maintained trail and there were literally dozens of small downed trees to step over and a few to work around but not that bad all in all.
At this point you are gaining elevation fast as the trail climbs the mountain through thick forests for a bit until it starts to break out into more open territory. Eventually the trail starts to pass through beautiful open meadows heading ever upwards
At this point I lost the trail a bit but just went for the middle of that saddle that can be seen in the above picture. The hill wasn’t at all bad to go up and I soon made it up to the ridge.
Once on the ridge the already amazing views got even better if that is even possible. I could see the structure off in the distance and headed on over taking so many pictures as I went. Once there I signed to register and enjoyed my lunch and the views.
At this point I had gained about 4000 ft in the five miles from camp. I hated to leave, I really really did. I had spoken to a young man heading down while I was on my way up and he had spent the night up here on the ridge. I was regretting not carrying my gear up and doing the same. Sadly, I started heading down and as I was getting close to the saddle I saw this guy just hanging out cooling his belly.
This was an excellent hike, I would definitely consider doing it again. Total was about 19 miles rt with 5900 ft gain. Apparently Ruby has quite the history and it is an interesting read over on Summitpost if you are interested.
I have been doing things, really I have. I hiked the Teton Crest trail last summer, I went up King Mountain in Utah (Utah’s highest peak), I have been going up things, really I have. Oh, I went up Ruby Mnt a few weekends ago, that had been on the list for several years. For the last little bit I have been working on planning and getting ready for a trip and last night I bought my tickets so it is now real…I am going to AFRICA!!! There is a mountain there I am going to go up and then a bit of a safari, should be fun!