Last year I failed to reach the summit of Hawkins Mountain during my annual family camping trip to the Cle Elum river. I took a non-traditional route in order to first visit Huckleberry Mountain. From the end of the old for road I ascended to the top of the ridge with 2 dogs in tow. We quickly got cliffed out, then ran out of water. This year I used Big Boulder Creek Trail #1392 from the trailhead at the end of Forest Road 128.
I started down the trail with Automahn at dawn. I fought the urge to leave the trail earlier than planned at a few overgrown jeep trails before the first junction at trail 1393 .7, knowing that we could climb another few hundred more feet on an actual trail before passing the base of Hawkins Mountain's South ridge. A half mile past the next junction the trail crosses back to the North of Big Boulder Creek.
From there I could see the length of the ridge up to the false summit as well as the Thimble to the east. We followed the occasional game trail and stayed to the west side of the ridge top, out of the wind. The wind picked up just below the false summit as the Sun danced between clouds. The rising Sun cast Mount Stuart, Ingalls Peak and the Navajo Range as silhouettes. The last stretch provided a fun ridge scramble with some exposure to the east.
Everything South of I-90 was draped in low clouds, but most of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness was clear. The Mountaineers summit register had four blank pages left. The lid to the canister seems to have been cross-threaded beyond use but luckily the pencil and register were dry. Hopefully someone heading up in the next few months can bring a replacement register and maybe even a backup container. I stayed on the summit for about an hour enjoying the view and trying to soak up some sun, but with the wind steadily picking up speed it was no use.
We followed the same route down but stayed to the top of the ridge. The meadows to the south east looked lush and green but several scars from 4-wheeled vehicles are still decades from being healed. Just after crossing back to the North side of Big Boulder Creek I noticed a perfect place to leave the trail on ascent when it's covered in snow to avoid some extra milage and a potentially tricky creek crossing.
A few hours after returning to camp dark clouds moved back in and afternoon thunderstorms rolled over, just like the day before. The drive over Snoqualmie Pass we got hailed on, then back in Seattle that evening we were greeted with blue skies and sunshine. I love Washington! My Blog
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