Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sleep Deprived for Sleeping Beauty Peak.

Mountain Goat before Sunrise
When summer arrived at 3:51 a.m., I was marching up to Sleeping Beauty Peak.  I’d been on top for a sunset, but never for a sunrise.  The hope, of course, was that I’d experience something wonderful and not trip in the dark or stumble upon a protective mama Sasquatch with her quatchlings.   

This is my 5th summer solstice with my phony hip and the 5th anniversary of this Blog, which I began in hopeful anticipation of a great summer of 2009 and grateful recognition that I’m able to hike, walk, and write.  Today, I’m going to tell the story of the Sleeping Beauty Trail. 

Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty Fire Lookout
In 1697, Charles Perrault published La belle au bois dormant, “The Beauty Sleeping in the Wood.”    Someone, whose name is lost to history, noticed that this volcanic rock outcrop, which rises to 4,907 feet, looked like a face, with the forest clothing her breasts.


Flat spot of nose / lookout
Local lore says it looked even more like a face before the Forest Service dynamited the nose to level off a spot for the fire lookout, which they built in 1931.  Packhorses took 11 days to haul the materials from the Glenwood Mill.  Tony Guler, for whose relatives they named the town of Guler, assembled the fire watch, some say. The lookout served as a nose-job until destroyed in the 1970s.  So, it takes a little more imagination these days to see the woman's profile.  

Leaders changed the name from Guler to Trout Lake, Washington, hoping to attract even more tourists.  As of 2014, the name is false advertising, because, although the wetlands is beautiful and sometimes resembles a lake, anyone arriving with a motorboat -- even anyone with long arms who wants to swim -- will be sorely disappointed. 

So, I started this summer with some very heavy breathing.  Most of the 1.4 miles to the top is steep: 1,200 to 1,400 feet elevation gain in the first mile.  The Civilian Conservation Corps helped build part of the trail.  Now, the feds don't want to pay anything.  A family volunteered to maintain the trail themselves:  Thank you, Prestons!  

Back to the trail.  Second-growth trees lead to bigger, older trees, some covered in stringy moss.  Wildflowers also interest hikers on their way to the view.   

I made better time than I expected, arriving about 4:35.  The transition between black and sunlight comes with fierce winds at the top.  So, I sat down among some rocks to wait.  Maybe 20 minutes later, I stood up, looked over my shoulder, and saw that papa mountain goat pictured at top about 10 yards away.  Had I stayed down, he and his family would  have walked right past me.  Instead, they turned around and went down, for now.  
video


Mt. St Helens (click to enlarge any photo)
The almanac said sunrise was at 5:15, and it did start getting pink early.  But with Mt. Adams blocking the Eastern horizon, I did not actually see the sun until about 5:40.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed how the light unveiled over the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  
Mt. Hood







When the sun finally broke free, the wind died to nothing, but the show was not over.

Mt. Adams
The mountain goats.  The family of four worked their way down and back up.  But they were not alone.  Another two kids and three big ones had joined up as they walked and jumped their way from east to west and up.

They kept a wary eye on me as they made their way around, grazing on whatever green stuff they could find.

Here's a link to more photos.   Below are videos of the 360 degree view and the goats.


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