Monday, July 25, 2005


We got back from the Cady Creek, PCT, and Cady Ridge loop last night. It was incredible. Speaking, of course, as a slightly biased Northwesterner, I have to say that there must be little on this earth to rival the beauty of the Pacific Crest Trail in July. The wildflowers were out in force, painting the high meadows purple, blue, yellow, and white. The sun was shining through a sky so blue it hurt to look at, the huckleberries were ripe and in abundance, and the grass and salal were green-green-green, just as they should be.

The trail itself is more of a triangle than a loop, climbing slowly along Cady Creek, meeting the PCT at about the 5.5 mile mark, climbing more steeply to the crest of the North Cascades, then trolling along through alpine meadows and over rock-falls from 7 miles to about 10 miles. We stopped for the night at Lake Sallyann, an aqua-blue tarn tucked into a dip on the side of the trail. We had been warned that the mosquitoes were terrible, and they certainly weren't great. I have 32 bites on my legs alone.

The next day we headed out along the Cady Ridge trail, which passes through an achingly beautiful saddle meadow and up along a high ridge, from which we could see the North Cascades stretching out around us for 360 degrees, with Glacier Peak in the North and Mt. Rainier in the south. The trail kept a steady elevation for about 3 miles, then plunged rapidly for the last 3 miles, losing over 2,000 feet in elevation until we reached our starting point at the bridge over the Little Wenatchee River.

All in all, it was a glorious hike and a wonderful weekend, despite the fact that I now groan like an old woman whenever I have to walk up stairs or get up from a chair. My knees don't like hiking very much, but I should be back to normal in a couple of days. I highly recommend this hike from both an aesthetic and an athletic point of view. As long as it's completed in a clockwise direction, the elevation gain is reasonably slow (I wouldn't want to attempt to climb up the Cady Ridge trail unless you enjoy scraping your nose along the ground as you climb.) and the 16.5 mile length is a nice stretch for a two-day weekend.

Now I've got to go find some calamine lotion for all those mosquito bites...


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