Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rattlesnake Ledge - July 8th 2012

An Outstanding Day Hike...

Today, I headed out for a much needed delve into the wilderness. A friend of mine, Ben Shapiro, wanted to head out to Rattlesnake Ledge in South Bend, WA. All in all there were three of us who headed out, Ben Shapiro, Jesus Cantu, and myself. Late last night to agreed on going on the trip. I packed my backpack for a day hike. I didn't know much of the area when I agreed to go. We left early, around 7 AM, to beat the heat of the day. When we arrived I looked up at the ridge from the parking lot and was in awe of its size. It seemed much larger than what I expected and higher.
Rattlesnake Ledge from the parking lot.

 We reached the trailhead in a matter of minutes from the parking lot. The trail is incredibly well maintained. The trail is a decent climb, all three of us are in good shape and it was tiring. We started up around 8:30 and arrived and at the top of the ledge at about 9:45. The ledge itself offer amazing views of the surrounding area. We took some time on the ledge to rest before we decided to head for the Eastern Peak. The Altitude on the ledge was around 2100 feet. It was a steep rise from the parking lot below that lay at 900 feet. The eastern peak was another 2.4 miles up hill and was a rise to 3500 feet. We didn't know much about the peak but hoped it offered views comparable to the ones at Rattlesnake Ledge. It was early in the day so we decided to press on. The trail leading to the East Peak had FAR less traffic than the trails leading to Rattlesnake Ledge. We arrived at the Peak rather quickly. The trail leading up was more narrow than the earlier trails. When we arrived I was surprised that the views weren't that great. There was one sitting area that was occupied the entire time we spent at the Peak. There is an old radio tower located at the peak. We decided to climb the ladder leading up the tower to get better views for the camera. The structure is old and is easily 100 feet tall. You can only access the ladder as the top is locked. Jesus Cantu was the brave one that went up to check. I was to nervous to climb all the way up but went up far enough to see over the tree line. We decided ,after a nice rest, that we would head back down and stop at the ledge to get some more pictures since the sun was higher in the sky. We ran back down the trail quickly and cut our ascent time by nearly two thirds. We arrived back at the ledge and decided to look around. Jesus Cantu and I explored the cliff and surrounding areas to find a more direct path down that was “off the beaten path.” Most of the ledge was either an incredible drop or was to steep to attempt. Eventually we found an area that looked decent. Ben decided to take the trail since he had hurt his ankle earlier in the day and Cantu and I decided to take the more direct path. We headed back to the area we thought was manageable and started down. We went through what seemed to be an eroded trench where the melted water flowed during the spring. We descended extremely quickly since the side was steep in parts. Soon we broke into the forest treeline and found a “path” that led into the woods and back towards the lake. We climbed down and met the original trail trail when we were about 400 feet above the lake. We found another “path” at this point and quickly arrived at the lake. It took us roughly 20 minutes to descend the 1,200 feet to the lake from the ledge. We were worn out when we arrived and decided to take off our boots to give our feet a rest. We went into the lake to wash the sweat away and cool off. The water was amazingly cool after the long hike and it felt amazing. We got out after a few minutes and took some time to relax in the shade of a tree before departing. All in all the hike was nice and steady and offered an amazing spot to relax at after the hike.

View from the ledge.
Whats your favorite post-hike activity? Swimming, sun bathing, or maybe some napping with ice?
Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Learn. Explore. Survive.

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