some more pictures from Iron Peak of the Teanaway, where the neighborhood is going downhill because the wolves moved in
Several days after hiking up Iron Peak, exciting news broke that wolves have been spotted in the Teanaway, the fourth pack in Washington state! Four adult wolves were seen on motion capture cameras. Unfortunately, certain people are convinced they’re the only ones trying to make an honest living in this world and that wolves are bloodthirsty socialists who would deprive children of Happy Meals and therefore it’s necessary for the state to have them delisted from federal endangered species status. Then again, I’m just a meddling, out-of-touch-with-reality Seattleite (that’s the tired political card a lot of cattlemen and other ranchers like to pull out of their pocket at the slightest provocation). Ah, when worlds collide!
Personal rant aside, these are a few pictures for now from Iron Peak with Ken, Kelsie and Lance, because I’ve been delinquent. Gosh, we had such a good time. It was a warm, sunshine-filled day of dry forest incense and rugged mountain views and cool snow breezes! Above you see Lance, Kelsie and Ken taking a breather below the saddle that leads to Iron Peak. At this point we’d gained a couple thousand feet and the real fun was just starting, the views were unfolding and the long, broad summit ridge was tantalizingly close. Lance is digging around in his camera bag as he prepares to enter full shutterbug-geek mode. The rest of us were doing the same thing, so I don’t really have any room to talk. Lance, Kelsie and Ken were abuzz over the views of Rainier, I think it was partly the excited jitters of Ken and Kelsie’s impending Wonderland Trail backpack, which is set for late next month. With our snowy winter and cool summer, there is even more mystery than usual surrounding the 90 mile journey around one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world. And these three are all from the other side of the water, west of Seattle, so they were happily disoriented at the perspective of The Mountain from this vantage in the Cascades.
Just below the summit ridge, we were greeted by a curious doe standing on the precipice between snow and blue sky. We were twenty or thirty feet below the backlit ridge and the blue and white starkness of the scene from my vantage was like looking into a lightbox. It set a tone for the rest of the day, I was preoccupied with our serendipitous glimpse of that pretty deer. I looked for her in the open forest below us as we crested the ridge, but she was long gone.
On the saddle of the summit ridge separating Iron and Teanaway Peaks, we started the pleasantly gentle upward climb southeast through mushy snow to the top. Lance and I had traded turns leading, but I asked him to hang back for a few hundred feet so I could get some pictures looking down at him, Kelsie and Ken.
This is Kelsie at the top, seated on an airy perch just east of the summit proper. Mt. Stuart is the bigger, snowier peak to the right of her shoulder. It’s an impressive mountain of the Cascade Range, with a 5,000 foot rise in just two miles.