Kendall Peak & Ridge Lake

     With 85 degrees forecast for Seattle I needed to get into the mountains. What's better than a close in summit in the morning and a cold mountain lake in the afternoon? I had a moderately early start and was up to Snoqulmie Pass and on the trail just before 8:00 am. It was nice to have a short drive for a change. The freeway thermometer read 58 degrees at Denny Creek and the cool morning was great. The trail is in excellent shape with no snow, no mud, and no downed logs all the way to Ridge Lake. After about 2 3/4 miles I passed a group of three. Other than three more coming down they were the only people I saw all the way to Kendall Peak. After the switchbacks I reached the scramble section. It was exactly 10:00 here and there was no glare or haze on Rainier or any other peaks. Perfect conditions for looking at peaks from a summit. The "trail" up Kendall is more distinct than I remember it. For about the first time I was able to follow it all the way up and down. The scramble was short but fun and I was on top less than 20 minutes later. Rainier, Adams, and Glacier Peak are all visible from the top. I could barely make out the Olympics and even a little of Puget Sound. Mt. Stuart was clear to the east. It was just too nice to head right back down. I spent 1 1/4 hours on top and easily could have spent all day. There were a few flies on top but the bugs were not much of a problem. That was a great relief after spending last weekend as mosquito bait at Waptus Lake. One of the most interesting things about Kendall is watching the stream of hikers going by below who are completely oblivious to my existence. It is only about 400' vertical feet but I felt like I was a world away. I finally decided it was time to head off for part two of this trip.

     I was careful descending and actually took longer to come down than to go up. Once back on the trail it was just a short distance to where the trail turns east and goes around the north side of Kendall Peak. Once around the bend the drone of the interstate vanished. With no sight or sound of the freeway it finally seemed like wilderness. A few ups and downs and I reached the Katwalk. I had the usual great views here though they paled compared to what I just had on top of Kendall. It was now after noon and it was much warmer. I continued on towards Ridge Lake. I passed a few groups but less than I expected on such a fine summer day. There was one small snow patch across the trail but it was no problem and will be gone in a week or two. It's been a while since I have been to Ridge Lake with no snow. If I had more time and a pair of trunks I would have been tempted to cool off in the water. Ridge made a nice spot for lunch. After a bit of a break I headed a little farther up the crest trail. Shortly after Ridge there is a nice view down to Alaska Lake. You can also see much of the next 10 miles of the trail. This was far enough for me this day and I headed back. The crest trail is such a gently graded trail that it is very easy on the legs coming down. The downside is that it wanders all over the mountain in order to remain so gentle. I took my time coming down as I was not in a great hurry to get back to my blast furnace of a house. All totaled I hiked about 13 miles with 3600' gained. It was a very nice day to not be in the city.

Photos Coming Soon!!