Saddle Mountain by Lake Cushman / 靠庫什曼湖的馬鞍山

Today we went up to Saddle Mountain after last weekend‘s outing. At 15 weeks, the recruit weighed in at 25 lbs. So carrying him now was the equivalent of packing my climbing gear. But today, Mr. Connor managed to make the entire trip on his own.

Saddle Mountain west ridge
Saddle Mountain west ridge

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Saddle Mountain at a Glance

Access: Prices Lake Road
Round Trip: 4.3 miles
Elevation Range: 840′-1840′
Gear: none
GPS track: available

Dog-Friendly: on the road

Prices Lake Road

Saddle Mountain sat to the north of Dow Mountain. To my surprise, the DNR gate before Prices Lake Road was wide open. So I drove through and then made a left onto an unnamed road at the first junction. Then I parked next to a fire pit at one mile in from Lake Cushman Road.

Even though I could have driven farther on the road, we needed the exercise. Saddle Mountain sat under 2000′. So I doubted having views on top because of the woods. But in the end, the trees weren’t the reason we couldn’t see much in the beginning. It was the weather.

Road walk
Road walk

See more trip photos here.

Saddle Mountain West Ridge

The forecast was partly cloudy. But then it began to rain as soon as we started the trip. The road we were on wasn’t on the GPS. And I wasn’t sure if it would take us up to the ridgeline. So at half a mile before the road bend, we went up to the west ridge through the light brush.

But the minute we stepped out of the thicket, a road showed up in front of us. It turned out to be part of the roadway we were on before. So we followed it through the ridgeline before it ended all of a sudden. From there, the only way to continue was to go through logging debris on the ridge.

Looking back on the ridge
Looking back on the ridge

See more trip photos here.

Saddle Mountain Summit Ridge

I thought perhaps it was too soon to let Mr. Connor go off the road. But I looked for a path with the least resistance as we went through the rubble. So he could have a real feel of the uneven ground. Sometimes he would even get ahead to try and catch up to the yellow pup. A scrambler in the making.

After going up the ridge through the clutter, we came upon another logging road. Not sure how the pup felt. But I was glad we didn’t need to scramble again. From there, it was just a short and muddy walk to the ridgetop. We went past pieces of logging machinery along the way.

Saddle Mountain summit ridge
Saddle Mountain summit ridge

See more trip photos here.

Saddle Mountain Summit

Some reports mentioned the southwest edge of the summit ridge was the higher end. I thought so as well. So after making a quick stop there, we continued over to the eastern edge. Then we sat under a tree and waited out the rain.

As I surveyed our surroundings, I realized we were sitting among piles of toilet paper. “How gross is this?” I thought. But that wasn’t too surprising since loggers are up here during the day. The company could afford a couple of porta-potties, no? The sun came out half an hour later.

Dow Mountain
Dow Mountain

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Sunny Afternoon Plus Outro

Despite the sunny weather, low clouds lingered over the Olympic Mountains. So we never saw the nearby Mount Washington, Mount Ellinor, or Mount Rose. But I did see a sliver of Lake Cushman. To the east was the Hood Canal, with the Kitsap Peninsula east of there.

After soaking in the heat for another hour, we then left the broad summit. We dilly-dallied our way back down the roadway while enjoying the scenery. We only had to go through the brush in the upper ridge. Then afterward, we followed the road down for the rest of the way.

Thanks for a wet day
Thanks for a wet day

See more trip photos here.

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