Trail No. 1104
NOVEMBER 6, 2010 I hadn't been on a trail since my trip to the Enchantments, and despite the soggy weather forecasts, I decided I needed a hike. I headed to White Pass, thinking to hike the PCT to Deer Lake. It was a rainy drive, and the nearer I drove to Mount Rainier, the harder it rained. When I finally arrived at the pass, it was too rainy for a hike even for me, so I decided to explore the area east of White Pass. A wise choice--I found sun and western larches still in fall color and decided to hike the Sand Ridge Trail. The trail climbs steadily through nondescript woods, and in less than a mile enters the William O. Douglas Wilderness. There are no views to be had as it climbs the ridgeline, but judging from the carpet of larch needles on the trail, I suspect I would have struck gold if I had hiked it a week sooner. The trail had just leveled out when I heard the sound of elk crashing down the hillside not far above me. The lead cow turned onto the trail and then stopped when she saw me. She blinked her eyes, changed course and headed downhill again, followed quickly by her two companions. Not much further up the trail, the forest opened to a view over the valley. It was a fine lunch spot and a good turn-around point, but a chatty hunter and his two horses were already there. I only spent a few minutes admiring the view and talking with the hunter, then headed back to the trailhead.
Not quite ready to go home, I stopped at the Clear Creek Falls overlook as I drove back toward White Pass.
Approximately 6 miles
Approximately 1200' gain
Clear Creek Falls