Hardy Ridge, Phlox Point, a bit of snow, lots of clouds

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Hardy Ridge, Phlox Point, a bit of snow, lots of clouds

Post by Chip Down » January 6th, 2018, 10:30 pm

First hike of 2018! :D

Wanted to see Phlox Point under snow. From Equestrian Trailhead, took the trail that goes up the west side of Hardy Ridge. Where it crosses the ridge at 2500', I was surprised at how little snow I had seen, but I soon encountered significant snow as I ascended the ridge to Phlox Point. It was intermittent though. Mostly, the ridge crest was wind scoured. I was a little disappointed. I had no views, and without the heavy snow I was expecting, there wasn't much reason to be there.

For my descent, I dropped back the way I came, but at the junction I turned left and took the east trail. It was much snowier than the west side, which pleased me. This was my first time on the east side of Hardy ridge. I explored some side roads and trails, but for the most part I took a fairly direct return to the TH. As predicted, it was drizzly in the am, dry and mostly cloudy in the pm. It would have been a better hike if I started later, but with these short days near the solstice, it's best to get an early start.

I want to go back on a clear day. I've been to Phlox Point twice now, and have enjoyed just spotty views. I want an opportunity to linger, sit on the rocks, soak in the sun.
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Looking up at Phlox Point.
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Coming down now.
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A little lower on the descent, where the trail briefly ascends.
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Recommended pairing for a 6 month old IPA: cheese puffs past their BB date. It wasn't even noon yet, but I suspected this would be my last opportunity of the day to sit on somewhat dry rocks.
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A snowy trail through a mostly-bare forest.
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Complete opposite of the above pic.
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Boot Rock! I've seen pics of it, so immediately recognized it. I didn't know it was on this trail though, so quite a surprise.
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The insanely elaborate expensive bridge over modest Hardy Creek. Shocked at how much snow was down in this valley. Ground was completely bare in other places at this elevation.
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A little off-trail exploring in the big rocky clearing just north of the TH.

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Guy
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Re: Hardy Ridge, Phlox Point, a bit of snow, lots of clouds

Post by Guy » January 7th, 2018, 5:05 pm

You have to be the #1 Trip report poster here these days Chip - Thanks!

I'm laid up at home feeling sorry for myself with a winter bug and missing my Sunday in the wild.

Thanks for the pics.
hiking log, photos & maps.
Ad monte summa aut mors

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Hardy Ridge, Phlox Point, a bit of snow, lots of clouds

Post by Chip Down » January 7th, 2018, 6:35 pm

Guy wrote:You have to be the #1 Trip report poster here these days Chip - Thanks!
What I lack in quality I make up for in quantity. ;)

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Hardy Ridge, Phlox Point, a bit of snow, lots of clouds

Post by Don Nelsen » January 8th, 2018, 11:04 am

Chip, glad to see the boot is still there. It went missing for awhile a few years ago (or maybe it was knocked over and under snow when I went by)

Quality of your TRs is fine. Very good narrative - please keep it up.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Chip Down
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Re: Hardy Ridge, Phlox Point, a bit of snow, lots of clouds

Post by Chip Down » January 28th, 2018, 9:50 pm

Three weeks later, I returned to Hardy Ridge and Phlox Point today. It was rainy in the morning (light, sometimes no more than a mist) so went from Equestrian TH over to Hamilton Saddle, up Hamilton Ridge, explored every road I could find, except the one signed dead-end that starts at Hamilton Saddle and drops NE. Maybe someday, but I think it gets pretty brushy. Most of the roads/trails I wandered were known to me, but a few were new. Don's cutoff was charming, really worth the side trip. It was fun seeing how things fit together. Shocked to see runners at Hamilton Saddle early in the morning, in the rain, tee shirts and shorts. Then again, up higher, in the snow. Maniacs!

Out of things to do, I finally headed back over to Hardy Ridge. Occasional views through the trees showed it was clearing, and I could see Hamilton. Cool. Hustled up to Phlox Point, but it was too late. Cloudy again to the east. Waited two hours to no avail. Nice to the west though. Openings here and there, enticing, a fun little peep show at the teasing scenery. Unlike my previous visits, it was completely dry (I mean the air, not the ground), no more than a slight breeze, as warm as one could hope for. Great place to hang out and do some serious drinking. Saw a Brocken Spectre! Not super crisp, but still fun. Persistent too, stuck with me for a while. By the way, I think Phlox Point is haunted: Again today I clearly saw people moving around up there when I was looking up from the trail, but nobody on top when I arrived, and no footprints on the likely routes people might take for a bushwhacking loop (this was before I started drinking, so shuddup).

Finally realized it was never going to clear to the east, so started down with just enough time to get back to the car at a time when most sensible people would have the headlamp on. Incidentally, as the sun was getting low, I was surprised at how far north it was. We're making progress!
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Wasn't expecting to see Hood today.
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