Monday, September 29, 2014

Dege Peak

Last week the weather was supposed to be nice with temperatures around 70 degrees F and we decided to do one last summer hike.  We will still do hikes in the fall but as the season moves into autumn and the weather deteriorates some places will not be as accessible as they are in the summer months.  Dege Peak in Mt. Rainier National Park at slightly more than 7,000 ft elevation is one of those places.

We parked in the lot by the Sunrise lodge and started up the Sourdough Ridge trail.  It would be approximately a 4 mile round trip hike with about 700 feet of elevation gain from the parking area.  On a previous trip we had turned to the left toward Frozen Lake and the Mt. Fremont lookout, this time we headed right toward Dege Peak.  The trail is sandy and quite broad at the beginning but it narrows and gets rocky as it goes up.  The last section is steep and very rocky.  When we got to the top I was surprised to find out that the two men who had passed us on the way up were professional photographers and had been carrying about 100 lbs of camera equipment.  They were setting up a tripod and taking pictures of Mt. Rainier and the surrounding area.  Three young women also reached the summit while we were having a snack.  They had had to take rests about as often as I had so I didn’t feel to bad about the slow pace after that. 

It was a beautiful day with the mountain visible at all times.  There was a lenticular or cap cloud hovering over the summit that changed throughout the day.  Clouds below us were creeping in between the other mountains and foothills.  Rain was forecast for late afternoon and I thought we might get wet before we got back to the car but although we felt a couple of drops the rain did not start until we were safely on the way back to town inside the car. 

Not many flowers were still in bloom, most had gone to seed but only a few were decked out in bright fall colors like the Mountain Ash.

Mop head

Blue bell of Scotland



Mountain Ash

Pine White butterfly on Pearly everlasting

Looking east from the top of Dege Peak toward Sunrise Point

Dege Peak from the trail

Craggy views along the trail

The cap cloud had worked its way down the mountain to form a ring and left the top free of clouds for just a little while.

Almost back to the trail head and the parking lot with only a couple of rain drops . . .

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