Saturday, October 31, 2020
Today we headed up into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest for several short hikes north of Trout Lake: Natural Bridges, Sleeping Beauty, and Steamboat Mountain.
Our first stop was Natural Bridges. This is a neat site where you can see an old lava tube from lava flows 12,000-18,000 years ago. The ceiling of the tubes collapsed, leaving a ditch-like crevice in the ground, except for a few places where the rock held and did not collapse, forming bridges:
After that we drove up to the trailhead for Sleeping Beauty and started up the trail:
At the base of the summit the trail has some tight switchbacks and some amazing rock work. According to the Forest Service “Rock work in the walls along this section was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.” It was pretty impressive:
Sleeping Beauty was once the site of a fire lookout. Then:
You can find some photos and history about Sleeping Beauty here.
After that steep 1.3 mile hike to the top we sat down for awhile to enjoy a snack and the amazing views. Mt. St. Helens:
View to the west:
We could see a patch of larches below:
I had not spotted them but another hiker pointed out some mountain goats nearby, so I used the super zoom on my point-and-shoot to get these shots:
We enjoyed the summit for awhile (along with DOZENS of other people; busy day!) and then began our descent:
We didn’t feel up for Steamboat Mountain so we skipped that and headed home.