Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mount Adams
Second to None

Washington's second highest summit is by no means second rate. While Mount Rainier is certainly Washington state's "mountain," 12,276-foot Adams deserves more respect than being the runner-up. Adams is bulkier than Rainier making it a more massive mountain. And being located farther east than Rainier and Washington's other snow cone volcanoes, the terrain here is much drier. Lacking are the lush wildflower meadows that make Rainier famous. But Adams has its own mystique-pumice flats and alpine tundra and massive lava flows. This week I was able to make it to Devils Garden, the highest point on the Mount Adams Highline Trail. Here at the border between the Mount Adams Wilderness and the Yakima Nation you can stare out at an expanse of golden eastern Washington hills as well as glacial draped Rainier, the jagged Goat Rocks and the serrated spine of the Dark Divide. And mountain goats! My hiking partners, wife Heather and brother Doug, and I were able to watch over 40 goats ply the rugged alpine flats between the Lyman and Wilson Glaciers. Many years ago I was forced to turnaround on the Highline because I could not get across a swollen glacial melt creek. Not this week-the creek was negotiable and we made it to the Devils Garden. Its a 20 mile round trip from the Muddy Meadows Trailhead-and yes, its a featured trip in my upcoming Backpacking Book. You have one more day this month before the weather turns nasty to reach this spectacular destination. Otherwise, put it on your 2010 hiking calendar!

(Photo-Heather hops across a fork of Muddy Creek)

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