Mt. Baldy

Kim and I were looking for a mostly snow free hike without a very long drive. We settled on the Easton Ridge - Domerie Divide trail to Mt. Baldy. The night before I saw a trip report by Joey that he had just posted. Seems there was little snow before the ridge top. It sounded good. It was overcast as we crossed Snoqualmie Pass. We exited at Easton and followed the dirt roads to the trailhead. The road in was lined with a lot of blooming lupine. I was a little surprised to see another car there. It was a little chilly but I was fine with shorts and a long sleeve shirt.

The trillium at the trailhead were mostly done though we did see a few. We reached the bridge over Silver Creek quickly. I was amazed by the amount of water coming over the small dam. Much more than I have ever seen there. The trail then begins to climb and doesn't let up much. We were alerted by Joey's report and also saw several calypso orchids down low. A few quick switchbacks and we reached the old road. It is really overgrown now. The trail intersection is now very obvious at the corner in the road.

The clear cut section did have some flowers but none of the columbine or tiger lilies I have seen other springs. We saw roses, penstemon, lupine, vanilla leaf, and false solomon's seal among others. It felt plenty warm as we motored uphill. Of course this is the gentle part of the trail. We soon reached the Easton - Domerie Divide intersection. I still have not taken the right choice and headed up Easton Ridge. Perhaps some other day.

The walk along the ridge here is the only somewhat flat spot on the way to the ridge top. We stopped for a break at the overlook. From there we could see Lake Easton, Lake Kachess, and off towards the Cascade crest. Silver Creek Falls was visible too. Some of it was visible that is. The gorge is deep and we could see what looked like 3 or 4 drops in the gap of the gorge. It really is a big falls, it's just not all visible.

From there we had one uphill and a downhill before the trail got down to business. There were several trees down here. Not too difficult to get around but too big to go over. Other than two more trees down by the ridge top the way was clear. There were a few small snow patches before the steep climb began but not on the trail and no more for most of the climb.

As we began to ascend again the flowers changed. Now we had balsamroot, lupine, and a load of chocolate lilies. They were hard to spot but they were everywhere. Kim was much better at spotting them. We went from west side forest flowers to east side desert type flowers. The steep part really isn't all that long, it just feels like it. The trail is not straight up the fall line but it's close. the switchbacks are short and equally steep. This is not a route for those who do not like steep trails.

As we moved higher the wind picked up. It was not altogether unwelcome as the day was warming up. As we reached the ridge top we also reached the snow. The intersection with the ridge top trail had some bare ground but for the most part there was 6-24 inches of snow on the ground. It was noon now and we stopped for lunch. The ridge is forested here so we were out of the wind.

Kim was still feeling good and my knee felt fine so we then headed off towards Mt. Baldy. Joey's report said the ridge was 30-40% snow covered. That was about right. We dropped to a saddle on snow and it was deeper there. As we climbed up the other side the snow mostly went away. After that the way was largely snow free. Farther on we had views down to Cle Elum Lake. We could also see over to Jolly Mountain and Mt. Stuart. Up the valley were Mts. Hinman and Daniel. Thomas Mountain, farther north on our ridge, also came into view. Ahead of us was Baldy.

We saw a lot of glacier lilies and spring beauty along the ridge. It was too early for the balsamroot but there was plenty of color. Usually I follow the trail around Baldy and come up the open meadow on the south side. This time we found snow on the side of Baldy. Instead we followed the ridge up. Most of the way we were on a minimal boot path or animal trail. It went up just fine. It's about a mile from the ridge top to the summit of Baldy.

When we arrived we could see squalls all around us. A little rain to the north, some to the south, and some to the west. Easton seemed to be the eastern edge of the moisture. He felt a few sprinkles but never had any real rain. We had a nice break on the summit then packed up for the trip down. The ridge walk was fun again. Lot's of flowers and nice views. From the ridge top intersection it was all downhill. Steeply downhill. We took our time. Kim's knees can be a little painful on steep descents and my sprained one still hurts a little. Slowly and steadily we made our way down.

The folks in the other car must have gone up the Silver Creek Trail. We never did see another person. It turned out to be a very nice day. We saw lots of flowers but no other hikers. It was nice to finally climb to a summit mostly on dirt. It is late June but snow still covers the high country. It was Kim's first time on this trail. I have been up it more than a few times. I'm sure I'll be back in a few years.

Lupine Along The Road
Lupine Close Up
Reddish Flower
Calypso Orchid
Chocolate Lily
White Flower & Bug
Lake Kachess
Lone Penstemon
Silver Creek Falls
West French Cabin Mt.
Lake Easton
Spring Beauty Clump
Snow Patch
Lake Cle Elum
Thomas Mountain
Ridge Flowers
Glacier Lilies
Yellow Bell
Mts. Hinman & Daniel
Near Summit
Baldy Summit
Coming Down
Pine Cones
Silver Creek
Small Falls
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2008