a blue sky day in the Teanaway

I had a really good time yesterday hiking in the cozy Teanaway with my friends Ken, Kelsie and Lance. I was excited to introduce them to this dry, rain-shadowy nook of the eastern Cascades. We enjoyed spectacular views of the Stuart Range from Iron Peak, a rather unassuming summit with a supreme ridge-top aerie.

We crossed a lot of easy snow en route to the summit, my brain got baked fast by the bright ground and endless vistas over the Columbia Plateau. It was exciting to see everyone- I hike with these three basically once a month- the breeze at the summit felt amazing as we admired the ripsaw ridges to the north and the open country all around. I ate chocolate chip cookies Diana made the night before, Ken and Kelsie had burgers. Lance was enervated by the crisp alpine setting and was shooting like a kid in a candy store. The day started off bluebird, but by early afternoon isolated cumulus started drifting in and we were presented with still very bright yet dramatically improved conditions for photography (we’re all shutterbugs). The walk down the summit ridge was a lark, we stopped a lot to take pictures and grin at each other from a distance.

Ken went down the ridge ahead of us, he’s trying to round himself into shape for an epic trip around Mt. Rainier next month (with Kelsie) and was feeling good but on the hot side.  Everyone got a lot of sun, especially Kelsie. I was alarmed when we stopped at McDonald’s on the way home for a snack and I saw how red the back of her legs were. Somehow I emerged unscathed, I probably should have met the same fate.

The last time I hiked Iron Peak it was scenic but hot and brown. The Teanaway is famous for Spring hiking. This year in the Cascades, July is Spring. It was a magical do-over, I felt like I was up here for the first time! I saw this little fir as we made our way down the summit ridge. I liked the green needles against the impossibly blue sky, iron-rich rocks and remnant snow. I promise to share more pictures this week……

2 thoughts on “a blue sky day in the Teanaway

  1. Holy cow, look at that snow! I love the details that you always manage to find on your hikes; this photo is great! It sounds like you four had a great hike. It’s cool that you get out on a regular basis as a group!

  2. Great combination of elements in your photo! The perfect blue sky with the snow and the little evergreen… very nice!

    I remember when we stayed at Paradise Lodge, seeing all the Rainier hikers coming down with horrible sunburns on the backs of their legs. It was close to 90 degrees when we visited, so I guess a lot of them hiked in shorts and gaiters. The snow made for a ideal reflector and sunburned so many of them. There was one girl in particular I remember – she was beet red and blistered. It looked so painful!

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