My birthday was coming up: I was excited, and above all, what I wanted to do for my 14th, (also dad's 54th) was to either hike or climb. Originally, Cannon was looking mighty fine, but I opted not, Dad wouldn't be up for something like that. Then I thought about it more...Why not Pyramid? No, again, dad wouldn't go for the 18 mile dayhike. But the larches were turning, the Chelans sounded like the place to be...but where? Pulling out the USGS topo, I saw the gentle meadowy summit, only 10 miles RT to get there: 7297 ft Graham Mountain. It'd be perfect. Weather should be perfect too, right?
View from trailhead
I got up Sunday morning, looked outside, and gazed up at the just awesome overcast.
Well, at least I could still see the larches. But no views. Then the optimism started kicking in. What are you talking about? Weather will be perfect! Right? Right...?
We coaxed the gold pickup (it has a name, but well...thats irrelevant)up the rough road to the trailhead, which defineately hadn't seen use for awhile. Then the crew piled out: mom, dad, me, and Cane, the spaztic 3 year old Chocolate lab.
And we're off...
Already we had seen the fantasmal larches and excellente views of Clark Mtn, Glacier Peak, the Entiat Mtns, and Pyramid Mtn.
And so much for bad weather! It was perfect..sort of. Lighting wasn't great, but so what. And when we looked back, we could see Rainier and Daniel, many miles away, and the Stuart Range, home to our last big adventure.
The hiking was already pleasant, great temps, it's all good.
The views got better as we went - Maude and Fernow (Fernwho?) came into view, then Cardinal and Bonanza - stellar! And the larches were awesome. We were lovin' em, but not quite as much as some people.
The trail was in great shape too. Probably better than the road. I don't think it sees much use, but it is well maintained. Alot of fungi too, some our funny little canine companion tried to enjoy. We stopped him.
Then we came to Point X. That nondescript point on the trail, where Captain Trip Leader (me) suddenly says "We go this way!" points off in an odd direction, and his tripmates look at him strangely and ask if he's carrying identification so S & R can identify the bodies. He says no, and we all start chuggin' up the hill - straight to the cairn that marks the 7297 ft summit of Graham Mtn.
Chugin' up Graham - Mt Stuart is the highest bump in the distant center, the long high ridge at right is the Chiwaukum Mtns.
Graham summit - with new Black Diamond trekking poles!
We took it in and had a nice lunch. Gazing across Lake Chelan to the Sawtooth Mtns, we could see Courtney, Star, Cheops, Martin, and Switchback. The Gardner Massif to the NE looked like the Stuart Range as seen from the SW. And then one of the coolest parts - looking down, 6200 feet to Lake Chelan, and seeing a plane flying 4000 feet below. Dig that and dig it deep. On dry land, above a plane. Only in the mountains, huh? We also saw a cool little rock monster someone built at the top.
Vancouver 2010 Olympics!
Then it was time to head down. We grabbed the stuff, and went. Flushed a few grouse, then happened to see a semi-fresh bear track. Nice!
Track of bear
It was a good hike back - Cane (who never gets called that. Usually Cane-o, Volcano, or, more often, "NO!")enjoyed himself in the shallow headwaters of Butte Creek.
Such a dog sometimes.
Stumbled on back to the trailhead, hopped in the truck (don't ask about the name!) and drove it on back. An awesome trip, and a happy birthday. (a day early)
2000 feet (est)
4 1/2 hours (taking our time)
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