Exclamation Point Rock

John had not yet been to Exclamation Point Rock so we set a time. Gary was back from Utah and he joined us. It was going to be a hot day so we met at Eastgate at 6:45 am and headed east. Over Snoqualmie Pass and onto Highway 970 then the Teanaway Road. We turned onto the West Fork Teanaway road and followed it to the gate. We packed up and were on the road/trail at 8:22 am. The meadow is met almost immediately. It is very green. Last October Kim and I hiked this route and the meadow was brown and the road was covered with yellow leaves. Different seasons make for a very different experience on the same hike. We saw blooming arnica right at the start. There were wildflower sightings much of the way. A good variety of flowers but not a lot in total.

It was comfortably cool at the start. That did not last long. We made a number of stops to photograph wildflowers. Other than that we just kept up a steady pace. The road was very wet last November. It is bone dry now. It is even dusty now. No signs of water. This even though we saw some signs of glacier lilies. Those die out soon after the snow melts. This is going to be a dry summer. The road switchbacks above a washout in the old road. Several miles later it drops back down to pick it up once again. On the higher road I kept looking for well camouflaged chocolate lilies. I kept looking and could not see any. John found them. As usual, once you see one many more magically appear.  Last spring on this same weekend we found the WF Teanaway River to be very high as we crossed it on the bridge. This year it is flowing well but is much lower than last year.

The road continues flat for a while then begins to climb. By now it was getting pretty warm. I brought my silver umbrella to reflect the sun and provide me with some personal shade. It was not needed yet but proved very helpful later in the day. Along here John found more chocolate lilies. That patch I had not seen before. We left the road and climbed up the slickrock. Not something you see often in Washington state. The side of Mammoth Rock came into view and we climbed up the last steep trail to Exclamation Rock. This thing is so out of place in the Teanaway. A spire in forest on a ridge top. I am always amazed to see it. We took some time to photograph it from different sides. It looks quite different from one side to the other.

Now it was time to head around Mammoth Rock to the far side where it is easy to get up on top of it. The backside of the ridge provided a cool shady spot. Once atop the rock there would be no shade except for my umbrella and a few trees at the far corner. With the temperature heading into the mid 80s any shade was welcome. At the far end we climbed up and found the small patch of calypso orchids right where I expected to find them. They are right at their peak now. At the start of the rock there is a patch of balsamroot in bloom. The lupine is just starting.

Mammoth Rock is, well, mammoth. We headed all the way across it. We found the tiny bit of shade and sat down for lunch. He had hiked about five miles to here. It was 11:15 am. To this point we saw zero people. While we were on the rock two motorcycles came by but did not stay long. Later two more more motorcycles arrived. We talked with them for a few minutes and before long they left. We walked all around the rock between sitting back in our small shady spot.  We spent over an hour there. We finally packed up and left at 12:20 pm. It was very toasty by this time. Looking north from the rock we could see all the burned forest on the ridge. Elbow Peak still has some snow on it. Yellow Hill has none on the south side. We retraced our route along the north side of ridge below Mammoth Rock. The wall even overhangs the trail in places. We stopped at Exclamation Point Rock for some final photos. It was better lit up now as sunshine filtered through the trees.

We headed down to the road. It was now very warm and warmed more as we descended. There were some shady spots along the road but for the most part it was out in the sunshine. The first mid 80 days of the year feel even warmer after a long cool fall and winter. On the walk out we saw more folks than on any other visit. A couple mountain bikers, an ATV, and a truck. Not exactly crowded but a number of folks. The road seems to go and on and on. We were all ready for the last junction where the we turned right and dropped down to the meadow. At long last it came. From the meadow it was just a few minutes to the gate and Gary's car.

After hearing my stories John finally had a chance to check out Exclamation Point Rock. Gary had a second visit. The wildflower show as pretty good though the shear volume of flowers is not great. There were quite a few different types however. This relatively low elevation road walk will soon by way to hot for me. This is a spring or fall trip. We had good weather though warmer than ideal. For the most part we had solitude though there were a number of folks on the last few miles hiking out. We were back at the car by  2:25 pm allowing us to get home early. Another fun day in the less visited side of the Teanaway Valley.

Big Meadow
Indian Paintbrush
Prairie Star
Road Walking
Larch Tree
Chocolate Lilies
Ballhead Waterleaf
WF Teanaway River
More Chocolate Lilies
On To Slickrock
John On Slickrock
Ponderosa Pine
Mammoth Rock In Sight
Exclamation Rock!
Gary On The Rock
Me On The Rock
Back Side
Along Mammoth Rock
Overhanging Rock
Glacier Lilies
Calypso Orchid
Calypso Orchids
Spring Beauty
Balsamroots In Bloom
Hi There
Blooming Balsamroot
On Mammoth Rock
Looking Back
The Only Shade
Descending Rock
Time To Go
Calypsos Again
Back Along Mammoth
Colors On Rock
Exclamation Rock Again
Heading Down
Endless Road Walk
Slickrock Panorama
Mammoth Rock Panorama
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2019