Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sauk Mountain

I've had Sauk Mountain on my hiking list for over seven years...even longer than Icicle Gorge. (last week's hike) Back then a friend told me she would take her little kids on it (like, really little--barely walking little) and so I figured it was a hike even I could do. (this was before I hiked at all...though, I can't really say seven years later I'm any better at it)  I realize now that my friend is not your ordinary person with ordinary kids.  She's your up at dawn, makes everything from scratch, pioneer type person...and so of course she'd take her toddlers on this hike. Honestly though, after doing it, I can't even imagine taking anyone under 10...but, I'm sort of ordinary that way. ;) So, all that to say, last Saturday (post 4th of July and wonderfully sunny) I thought maybe it was time to finally cross this one off my list as well. When I told my husband I was seriously considering it, he said he'd like to come along--so that sealed the deal.

My husband (the "naughty boyscout" in my July 2011 post) can always be trusted to be prepared by printing out the directions, packing surplus water, making sure the tires in the car are properly inflated...all the things I would have failed to do. (and yes, one of the tires was dangerously low. Lesson #17, check tire pressure before leaving!) Although, this time I was the one to remember the bug spray. (which we didn't even need...figures)

I was extra glad to have Ken along when we pulled onto the mountain road and saw the gigantic sign announcing that a female hiker went missing two years ago and has never been found.  Another woman was mistaken as a bear and shot and killed in this is not a hike I would recommend doing alone. 

Reading the trail reports before leaving, we were aware that there was still some snow that would prevent us from driving all the way to the trail head.  I had foolishly thought that now that we had a SUV with four wheel drive, this might not apply to us...but trust me, there is no car that's getting past that snow block for at least a few weeks.
Looking good next to our sporty SUV ;)

We took a little short cut to get to the upper parking area by huffing it straight up. It was at this time I realized I forgot my brand new trekking pole my daughter bought me for my birthday. Dang it, I've been so excited to try it out, and this was the perfect hike to have one!  Oh well, at least we remembered lunch--and so we sat down at the picnic table to eat half of it before starting.  Ken pointed out the hang gliding launch at the end of the lot and told a story about his friend who was in such a hurry to get flying, he forgot to clip in.  Can you even imagine jumping off this (picture below) only to realize you are just dangling from your hang-glider bar? (he lived, but messed up his ankle severely when he crash landed)  It puts knots in my stomach just thinking about it! After eating, I took advantage of the bathroom facility (thank you lesson #14) and we began. 

Ready, set, die!...uh, I mean go!

Cutest outhouse ever, right? Still stinky though.

Right away we came to some big snow patches.  These were not a big deal at first, but the farther up we got, the sketchier it got to cross them.  In fact, we passed a woman coming down with a huge fat lip and quite a few bumps and scrapes.  She told us she had slipped when crossing one, and had barely stopped herself before sliding right off the edge and down the hill.  There's not a lot to stop you from tumbling a very long way if this happened, which is obvious when a rock gets dislodged and comes hurdling down. (it happened twice while we were hiking...kind of freaky because you do NOT want to get nailed with one)  Needless to say, I was a little edgy the rest of the way up...but not as bad as the woman we passed who was just laying down in a grassy spot.  Ken commented, "looks like you found a nice place to rest", but she explained she was not great with heights and had just witnessed the other woman's fall, therefore she decided she'd just lay down for a little while before getting the heck back down.  It's too bad, because the top view is not something to be missed. 
We went along the ridge as far as we dared...easy bouldering which normally wouldn't have affected me, but I'll confess I was flipping out a little.  I was glad when we found a nice flat spot to eat the rest of our lunch...what a glorious view! 
Eating my brownie on Chocolate Day.  Seriously, look it up.
The view from our lunch ledge...see the switchbacks?
Boyscout Ken taking a picture for the nice ladies.

On the way back down I took some pictures of the beautiful wildflowers, though I could tell there were MANY more to bloom soon.  I think I'll come back in a couple weeks to see the you think I'd look funny wearing a helmet? ;)

Just a preview of what's to come!

1 comment:

  1. That's a great hike in nice weather and the views are unbelievable!

    Years ago I took our 6 year old up there and she hiked all the way to the top, willingly... I couldn't believe it.

    We went back as a family a few years later and the drive to the trailhead on the steep road really unnerved my wife. After just a couple switchbacks and some cherished photos we turned around because she was so freaked out. The drive down just about burned up the brakes. I'd love to go back but my wife insists 'Not in OUR car!'.


    Anyway, it is a great hike and your write up captured it well!