Friday, January 30, 2015

Rattlesnake Ledge

 Rattlesnake Ledge

On 12 December 2014 I put up a blog post about going to Rattlesnake Lake, near North Bend on the way to Snoqualmie Pass, but we had to abort our hike to the ledge that day due to an icy trail.  We made another attempt and this time were successful.  Even though this is the end of January and the middle of winter there is hardly any snow so far and when we saw the weather forecast was for sun and not too cold we decided to chance it.  

The climb up to the ledge is an 1160-foot vertical gain with the round trip 4.4 miles.  No pass is required although we did hang our Discover Pass on the mirror just in case.  It would be advisable to come early to get a parking spot even on a weekday since this is a very popular hiking trail with a spectacular view from the ledge.  The steepness of the trail qualifies the hike as moderate.  The day was beautiful and brought out lots of other hikers many with unleashed dogs.  Bob says about 200 people and 30 dogs.  On most hikes my cell phone will work in the parking lot but not always on the trail so it was a surprise to get a call when I was sitting on top of the ledge.  The caller knew something was up as I started to laugh when he asked where I was.  He was surprised to find out I was on a mountain.

The trail winds its way through a forest of second growth trees.  It is rocky and steep for most of the way.

 The sunlight shining through the moss hanging off the tree branch

Once again, this is winter so there are no flowers and bare trees among the evergreens but lots of moss, a few mushrooms, chipmunks and squirrels, we heard waterfowl and other birds. 

 These enterprising little guys picked up cracker crumbs left by hikers who stopped at the top for lunch. 

This tiny mushroom was poking up through the moss.

 Looking down on Rattlesnake Lake from the ledge

The views from the top were beautiful on this clear, sunny January day.  It got up to about 42 
degrees F at the top but the wind was blowing and made the wind chill closer to 32 degrees F or freezing.  We were wearing extra layers.

Going back down the steep trail was just as difficult as going up.  This was the most vertical gain I have tried and my legs were already tired before we started down.  

Near the bottom we spotted this odd contraption attached to a tree.  Bob went over to get a better look and discovered that it was a counter.  We don't know if it was counting animals or people. 

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