Ignoble Knob

Memorial Day Weekend and Gary, john, and I were trying to find a hike. We wanted a strenuous trip without crowds. A tall order on a rare sunny Memorial Day Weekend. Our first choice was a loop of Devil's Gulch and Mission Ridge near Cashmere. The 17 miles with 3800'of elevation gain qualified as strenuous. That trip requires the creek level to drop low enough for the fords and the heat to be tolerable. This year we had a higher than normal snow pack. The creek flow was still 2.5 times higher than our 2018 trip. We kicked around a number of possibilities before settling on Ignoble Know via the Ranger Creek Trail. The name is our term for Point 5781 located above the spot the Ranger Creek Trail meets the Dalles Ridge Trail. On 3-13-10 Gary, John, and I headed up the Ranger Creek Trail for an attempt to summit Noble Knob. This route is longer than the Deep Creek route Gary and I have done before. March is early for a 15 mile trip at least partly on snow. We made it to the Dalles Ridge trail junction and the snow was deep enough we had no hope of reaching Noble Knob. We chose to try for Point 5781 just a few hundred feet above us. We slogged through deep snow and made it to find minimal views through the clouds. A fun trip nonetheless. In 2020 Gary and I headed up on an August trip and made it to Noble Knob with a side trip up Ignoble Knob. With snow likely the last 1000' of so we chose this trip.

For just the second time in over a year with both in the past week we carpooled together. The coronavirus had stopped our carpooling since the previous March. Now all vaccinated we drove together. We arrived at the trailhead just before 8:00 am. Light traffic on the second day of the holiday weekend was nice. There were no other cars there. We packed up and were on the trail by 8:05 am. It was a little chilly but no cold. The route is in forest most all the way. Higher up there was a recent burn that lets light in. Down low it is darker forest. There is not much ground cover on most of the route. I had read a recent report mentioning blooming calypso orchids. They are very colorful but also very tiny. We looked for them and after awhile John and Gary began to spot them. I have had several hikes this spring seeing them. After a few photos stops we were done with the pictures but kept seeing more of them.

The trail grade is steady. Not all that steep but it climbs consistently. Just before the 3 mile mark is the short trail to a viewpoint. We checked it out last year and did not go there on this trip. Higher up we were on the edge of the burn. Some trees along the trail have had the trunk burn most of the way around while the entire tree still stands. I'm amazed that they have not yet blown down. I mentioned that I had not seen any marsh marigolds and soon enough we started seeing them. There were also some trillium in full bloom. Oregon anemone were also seen blooming in many places. At about 4.75 miles we reached the site of the old shelter. In 2010 it was standing. On our 2020 trip it was entirely gone. Just a few pieces of metal left. This makes a good place for a break. We arrived at 10:22 am and stayed until 10:42 am. It was still early. Just after the shelter sight was a small tree across the trail then a great patch of marsh marigolds along a creek. There were also a bunch of small mushroom. The fires really seemed to bring these out.

Up through the recent burn we hiked. At about 5300' we finally had a little snow. As we neared the Dalles Ridge junction it began to cover the trail. The last bit up to the junction was completely snow covered. Heading right on the trail towards Noble Knob would all be side hilling on snow with no trail visible. We decided to go up Ignoble Knob first to see the trail from up high and decide if we would try for Noble Knob. We hiked up to the saddle then up the ridge towards the summit. After climbing a little we came off the snow. The last part was back on bare ground. Our ice axes never left our packs. Gary reached the summit at about 11:28 am and John and I minute or two later.

There were a few high white clouds but mostly the sky was blue. We could see Mt. Rainier with just a few burned trees in the way. Below us to the west was Suntop Lookout. To the north we could see a sea of snowy peaks. I could make out Glacier Peak and many of the peaks along the Cascade Crest from Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass and beyond. The wind was low and it was comfortable on top. We could now see Noble Knob. The trail cut around Ignoble Knob to a saddle then was on the north side of the ridge heading for Noble Knob. As expected the north side held much more snow. It was clear we would have a slow slog if we headed to Noble Knob. Instead we enjoyed a long summit stay. Views along the ridge showed a forest of dead trees. The silver snags were actually scenic now.

The summit had a good selection of blooming wildflowers. More Oregon anemone, some glacier lilies, lots of different varieties of phlox, and more. The week before Gary and I spent two hours atop South Bessemer Mountain. This day we topped that. We walked on down to the other end of the ridge and spent most of our time there. We hiked back to the first end and headed down at 1:41 pm. We spent 2:13 on the summit. We quickly dropped to the Dalles Ridge junction. We did not see a sign. We may not have been at the actual junction. A little more snow travel and we were back on dirt for the rest of the hike.

We had another short stop at the shelter site and then continued down. Arriving at the shelter site we noticed the tree we went around in the morning had been cut out. Someone had been at work there while we were summiting. The hike down seemed to go on and on which is not unusual. There are no views out and few landmarks. The trail just keeps on going. Part way down we met a hiker coming up. In an 8 hour day he was the only person we saw. That was pretty amazing solitude for a sunny holiday weekend. We finally reached the trailhead at 4:24 pm. There were two other cars there. The drive home had no slow downs. Much different than Monday would be. We did not get in the really strenuous hike we had hoped for but 12 miles with 3400' of gain is a good day. We definitely gad the solitude we had hoped for.

Heading Up
Trail Sign
Vanilla Leaf
Calypso Orchid
Dual Calypso Orchids
Last Calypso Orchid
Burnt But Standing
First March Marigolds
Peaking Trillium
Yellow Violets
Shelter Site
Small Mushrooms
Many March Marigolds
Closer Look
Gary Reaches Summit
John Nears Summit
Mt. Rainier
Noble Knob
Mt. Stuart
Cascade Crest
Glacier Lily
Summit Ridge
Gary At Work
Cloudy Mt. Rainier
Many Burned Trees
Colorful Phlox
Snow & Crest Peaks
Heading Down
Oregon Anemone
On Snow
Hiking Burn
Last Trillium
Barely Standing
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2021