Ugly Duckling by Mount Margaret via Kachess Lake Campground / 醜小鴨

  • Reading time:3 mins read

Ugly Duckling by Mount Margaret is a lesser-known high point west of Kachess Lake. But the lowly summit harbors rewarding views with a short scramble from the road. On a nice day, one can expect open scenery in all directions.

Ugly Duckling in the mist
Ugly Duckling in the mist

See more trip photos here.

Ugly Duckling at a Glance

Access: NF-4948-120
Round Trip: 6.5 miles
Elevation Range: 3500′-5140′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Box Canyon

Seven years had passed since we were in the area climbing Hibox Mountain. Road 4948 split off from 4930 right after we drove past Kachess Campground. It’s about two-thirds way up Kachess Lake’s west shore.

Soon, the road went up through the steep terrain. At the same time, we continued west to the top of Gale Creek Basin. Then at four miles from the campground, we reached Road 120 junction and parked.

This way to Ugly Duckling
This way to Ugly Duckling

See more trip photos here.

Road 120 to Ugly Duckling

Clouds had moved in earlier, and so views from the roadway were minimal. Along the way, we heard the occasional, distant target shooting sounds. Later we met a guy coming down the road after an overnight trip.

Before long, we were at the 4680′ hairpin turn directly below Ugly Duckling. Then we followed a faint path to the right of the quarry and went up the rocky hill. Then we started scrambling through the brushy slopes.

U-ie
U-ie

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The Final Stretch

The higher we were, the rockier it became. Soon, we reached the bottom of the summit. But the south route didn’t look feasible for the pups. So we went around the buttress to our right and checked out the other side.

As luck would have it, the terrain on the other side of the cliffs was more moderate. So it allowed all of us to climb up the final 100′ without a hitch. A tad rocky, but the pups said it was enjoyable.

South face
South face

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Ugly Duckling Summit Plus Swan Lake

We had no views today even to see Mount Margaret. So we stayed long enough for our selfies. Later I looked down and saw cliffs on all sides except the east, where we came. Though, the mist had made everything look creepy.

I wanted to check out the hidden Swan Lake. So back at Gale Creek, we followed an obscure path and headed west. It was brushy and wet in most places. Soon, in half a mile, we reached the firepit by the east shore.

Swan Lake
Swan Lake

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Outro

On the way out, we stumbled upon a road past the brush. Then it dawned on me that I’d seen the lower part of it earlier en route to the lake. So we ended up making a loop to arrive back at the main road.

From there, it was only another mile to go back to the car. Sadly, it was the pups’ final trip with me before the start of my summer climbing escapades.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

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