Tonga Ridge / Mount Sawyer
Sep 22, 2010
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Tonga Ridge / Mount Sawyer
- Region: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
- Agency: Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Skykomish Ranger District
- Trails: Tonga Ridge (#1058)
- Avg Rating: 3.44
- Hiking Companions
- Hiked with a dog
- Be Aware Of
- No water source
We were car #1 at 10:30; we only saw six other groups during the day. The road is in fantastic shape, especially 310 (the last spur).
Our plan was to go the two miles to the Mt. Sawyer cutoff, and then head up the hill. Somehow all three of us missed it, and we went another mile to the Deception Creek sign before figuring things out. But that particular meadow is beautiful, so it was hardly a loss. That having been said, the cutoff is hard to see. The trail guide says to look for an old tarn in a swale. Best to look for campsites along the way, and then once you re-enter the trees, watch carefully. The cutoff is a sharp left, and quite steep initially. This is one spot where I believe cairns are okay.
The berries are mostly gone, but I probably scrounged a handful total along the way...just enough for a taste of blueberry goodness. And the blueberry leaves are all kinds of colorful, especially up the side of Sawyer. The bears have been out; we saw two piles of berry scat and two "regular." Wildflowers are mostly gone, although there's a bumper crop of pearly everlasting. I also saw some penstemon, and an Indian Paintbrush or two. Alas, no pictures, due to technical difficulties.
The trail guid says "amble aimlessly." And somebody recently complained about the "aimless" part. But with a hike like this, isn't the journey the whole point? Head on up, and enjoy the ride.