MAY 29, 2010 It was cold and rainy when I left Seattle for this hike near Leavenworth. I was hoping for a sunny day, and is usually the case, I left the rain behind me as I drove east of Stevens Pass. After a stop at the Ranger Station to chat with the rangers about the area trail conditions (mostly snowed under, due to the unusually cool weather), I headed out on the Sauer's Mountain trail.
That this trail was different was obvious from the start. The trailhead and much of the trail is on private land, and the private sections are decorated with whimsical carvings and signs. I met a pair of hikers from Seattle who had hiked the Ingalls Creek Trail last weekend--when I was backpacking on it. Small world! We leapfrogged up the trail a ways and reached the ridge in no time at all, where they discovered a young albino animal (I think a Douglas' squirrel) in a tree. After taking several photos of the little squirrel, we parted ways for the last time, and I hiked on to the summit about 2 miles away. The trail stays on the wooded ridge, which is liberally carpeted with wildflowers. Balsamroot was past prime, but the lupine were in peak condition. I also saw cats ear lilies, Nootka rose, penstamen, phlox, red rocket and others. The birds were also colorful, and I saw swallows, western tangiers and spotted towhees. Although I didn't see the woodpecker, there was one on the other side of a tree on the steep downhill side of the trail
The final push to the summit is steep, but the views are worth the effort. It was too windy to stay up there for very long, so after a short break, I headed back down.