Bluff Mountain traverse

At sunrise my Sister dropped Dad and I off near the confluence of the Washougal River and Silver Creek. From here we intended to hike west over a few mountains to my parents' house, no turning around since there was no car to return to.

Dad and I hiked through the rain on a logging road that runs just north of Silver Creek until the road petered out. The rain turned to snow as we climbed north to the top of the east ridge of Bluff Mountain (the ridge running between Silver and Bluebird Creeks).

Except for the last couple hundred vertical feet, the ridge was laced with brush. We climbed over, pushed through, and crawled under brush for hours. It was fortunate that freezing rain had fallen recently, covering the brush with a slick coat of ice that made it easier for us to push branches aside.

Finally we broke out of the brush onto bare, windswept slopes covered in knee-high huckleberry bushes and bear grass. This provided me with the novel experience of kicking steps in ice-encrusted grass to the summit of Bluff Mountain, I had bruised shins the next day.

From the summit we descended NW to the pass between Bluff Mountain and Little Baldy and found the trail. Here we took our longest break of the day -- 15 minutes -- before following the trail west up to Silver Star Mountain, down to Grouse Vista, then up to Larch Mountain. We had hoped to take a cross-country short-cut from Larch Mountain to my parents' house, but with 15 minutes of daylight left we resigned ourselves to walking the remainder of the trip on the roads. Over two soggy hours later we made it home.

A pretty fun trip in its own wet, miserable way.

Copyright © 2004 Gabriel Deal.