Polallie Ridge by Cooper Lake / 靠古柏湖的波拉里脊

Polallie Ridge high point
Polallie Ridge high point

See more trip photos here.

With a change in the weather, we had a low-key outing last week and weekend before last. In other words, our big mountain adventures most likely had come to an end. It rained hard last night, so I postponed my initial plan up north to avoid wet brush. So today, the mostly sunny forecast brought us out east to Polallie Ridge in Salmon La Sac.

The Lowdown on Polallie Ridge

Access: Pete Lake Trailhead
Round Trip: 12.3 miles
Elevation Range: 2940′-5560′
Gear: microspikes
GPS Track: available

Pete Lake Trailhead to Tired Creek Trail

We’ve been in the Cooper Lake area one other time. On a freezing-cold winter day when the pups and I made an arduous snowshoeing trip out to the lake. The road to the trailhead was in great shape. But there were many potholes from the junction to the parking lot. We started hiking under a cloudy sky with one other car in the lot.

Pete Lake Trail was mostly flat to the first trail junction. Along the way were views out to the marshes. But the ridges weren’t yet visible due to low clouds. We turned onto Tired Creek Trail and then hiked a short distance to reach the upper service road. Then we made a right and walked to the next part of the trail by the creek.

Marshes
Marshes

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Tired Creek Trail to Polallie Ridge Lookout Site

The trail made over a dozen switchbacks through the steep lower forest. Other than the sound of my breathing, it was quiet with spotty views through trees. Patchy snow appeared at 5000′. There I noticed days-old boot tracks under the fresh powder. Sunshine couldn’t have made its way to the shady area soon enough.

Microspikes worked well in the slick snow. There was more fresh powder up in the meadow. From there, I got a clear view of today’s destination. But to get there, we first needed to hike north to the ridgeline. Then we’d make our way south through a few ridge bumps. At the next junction, we turned onto the Polallie Ridge Trail and hiked up to the former lookout site.

Polallie Ridge lookout site
Polallie Ridge lookout site

See more trip photos here.

Southbound Ridge Traverse to Polallie Ridge High Point

I could see out to the east fom the lookout. But the tall trees blocked the bulk of the views to the west. After a quick photo pause, we then began to travel southbound on the ridge crest. The 1.5-mile, straightforward traverse through the forest wasn’t very exciting. But we continued to enjoy the scenery as we made the final scramble up to the top.

There were great views out to the east, just like on the lookout site. Though, I could still see most of the partially cloud-covered high points toward Salmon La Sac. There were Davis Peak, Goat Mountain, The Cradle, Red Mountain, Harding Mountain, and Solomon Mountain. I also saw Mount Daniel and Cathedral Rock to the north.

Lemah Mountain
Lemah Mountain

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Outro

After 45 minutes on the occasionally windy summit, we then began making our way back to the lookout site. Right before reaching Point 5575, we curiously followed a game trail to the west of the ridge crest. I got a better look at the western landscape as it began to flurry. There were more familiar high points: Three Queens, Lemah Mountain, Chimney Rock, plus others.

Contrary to the forecast, dark clouds filled the sky as soon as we were back at the lookout. But thankfully, the dreary weather only lasted about an hour. Soon, we were hiking in the sunshine once again. There were now new boot tracks in the snow. Back on the main trail, we met a family of four with a pup. They all looked to be enjoying the beautiful weather.

Thanks for a beautiful afternoon
Thanks for a beautiful afternoon

See more trip photos here.

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