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Trip Report

Tumwater Mountain — Friday, Jun. 1, 2007

great horned owlet
Tumwater Mountain is actually a long ridge running roughly north/south ending where Highway 2 enters the town of Leavenworth. While there are several dirt roads that wind around on parts of the mountain, the ridge itself is free of roads. When Doc suggested we explore the ridges above his place, I jumped at the chance. The forecast called for mid-nineties and that was a concern but we brought lots of water and sun protection. We started where Titus Road turns and becomes Ski Hill Road, heading past the gate and straight up to the point on the easternmost part of an east/west ridge that goes from the cross country ski trails to beyond the ski jump hill. Running this ridge was a lot of fun with a bit of up and down but slowly gaining more altitude. On this ridge near a large rock outcropping we flushed a baby great horned owlet from next to the trail (see Pic 1). I think he wasn't quite able to fly yet and mama was perched in a tree above the trail. Not particularly wishing to feel talons ripping through my scalp, we moved on quickly. At the west end of this ridge we came to a dirt road. Rather than hike a very long winding way on this road we opted for heading straight up the side of a ridge towards a radio tower. Just in case anyone tries this, this radio tower is not the one shown on the map but actually higher up than the marked one. The road also intersected at this tower and since it went in the same direction we were heading we followed it to just below the edge of Tumwater Ridge at its northern end. From there where several roads converge we left the road for a trail that headed straight up the ridge to its northernmost point. From this vantage point we had a great view of the entire Leavenworth valley all the way to Wenatchee. We couldn't see the Stuart Range due to the rest of the ridge we were on and I doubt we were high enough anyway to see over Icicle Ridge. To the north we had incredible views from Mount Baker to Glacier Peak and beyond, including Dome, Logan, part of Bonanza and many others. Looking west across Tumwater Canyon a huge waterfall dropped down to the Wenatchee River. The map shows the point south of us as the summit of Tumwater Mountain but it looked like the southern end by the entrance to Leavenworth was higher according to the contour lines. Since it was brutally hot we decided to call it a day from the south point but plan to go back in the fall, drive up to near the north point and traverse the ridge to the south end overlooking Leavenworth. Maybe next time we'll bring Abbzug and Seldom. Starting elevation: 1,420' Ending elevation: 4,160' Elevation gain with ups and downs: est. 3,200' Distance: est. 8 miles RT
waterfall across Tumwater Canyon
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