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Sunrise for Sleeping Beauty 7/4/2007

Posted by jeffstatt (2007-07-06)

I'd been eyeing Sleeping Beauty since spotting it from Lemei Rock during our Indian Heaven backpack last fall.  Then after seeing Don Nelsen's summit post page, I was eager to check it out.

Sleeping Beauty is that high-point in the low ridge in front of Mount Adams.  This photo taken from a viewpoint near Lemei Rock in Indian Heaven

I had a family obligation at noon on July 4th, but I wanted to take advantage of the day off and bag something with the half-day that I had available.  By my math I had to get up around 3:00 AM and leave the house by 4:00 to make the trip worthwhile so that's exactly what I did.  By 4:20 I was already started to see the first light of dawn.  As I drove through Camas you could just make out the silouette of Mount Hood in the southeastern sky on this chilly morning.

It was about this time I noticed something attached to my truck's radio antennae that looked like a piece of plastic flapping in the breeze.  As it got lighter and lighter the shape of the black item look a more definite shape.  To my disgust, it was a bat!  I must have driven into it and it got it's wing wrapped around the antennae. Yuck.  I pulled over to the side of the road and as I slowed down it fell lifeless to the ground. 

This was the first of a few animal encounters today!

The Sleeping Beauty trail is only about 2.7 miles round trip, but goes about 1400 feet vertical.

Mount Adams from Forest Rd 88.  The roads were in great shape - passable by any passenger vehicle

View of Sleeping Beauty (left) and Mount Adams (right)

Sleeping Beauty at dawn.  Like something from Close Encounters!

I arrived at the trailhead just before 6:00AM.  It was bright sunlight already.  As expected I was the only one in the small parking lot that early.  I figured that - being July 4th - that later in the day the rock would be crawling with people in the 90+ degree heat that was forcast.  All the forest roads were easy to navigate and Don's directions on the summitpost page worked just great.  Even without them, the signage is very good in the area.

Sleeping Beauty Trail #37 trailhead at 6:00AM

Funky tree on the way up. 

The trail was moderately steep and I fealt it in my wind pretty early.  Man it was pretty buggy.  I got the deet on and didn't have any problems.  Fortunately Dodger (my springer) was up to date on his frontline.  The trail was in great shape: well-packed and no stuff in the way.

First views of the summit block. 

We got to the summit in probably 45 minutes.  The last 80 feet of the hike was a bunch a switchbacks seemingly carved in the rock.  Fun.  Dodger and I got to the little saddle between the the north and south summits and had a drink.  I got my camera out - turned around and saw this guy pearched on a rock.

Mountain goat on the summit

For the first time, I remembered to bring my little spider tripod.  So I spent the next hour lying on my  back fiddling with settings and the little legs on this thing. I dunno man.  I think I'm ready for few camera.  I must have taken about 150 shots and only about a dozen of them came out half-way decent!

Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom - BLACK/GRAY

Mount Adams from the Sleeping Beauty summit

We climbed around to get a closer look at the goat, but he was gone in a flash.

Where did the goat go?

It was still pretty cool out as it approached 7:30 AM.  All the mountains were out: Hood, Rainier, St Helens, Adams, and Goat Rocks out in the distance.

Mount Saint Helens to the West

Fresh coating of ash

I was interested to see if I could spot Lemei Rock - it wasn't too difficult to spot - I took the reverse photo from the one I took last October.

Lemei Rock in Indian Heaven to the Southwest

Goat Rocks were visible to the North

I think this is Mount Curtis Gilbert in the Goat Rocks Wilderness (taking advantage of the 12x zoom))

Nice perspective of Rainier and Little Tahoma


Mount Hood to the South

I took about two dozen close-in zoom shots of Mount Adams, thinking that one-day when I climb Adams i'm going to go back and study the photos in gory detail.  Forgive my lackluster photoshop skills on these!

zoom in on Adam's summit

A bunch more Adams closeups seen here if anyone is interested.

It was getting to be about 8:00AM and I wanted to make sure I had time to go try some of the waterfalls that Splintercat had suggested. So I started back down, taking about 2 dozen more "one last shots" while the dog quietly rolled his eyes.

One of a dozen "one last shot"s before heading back down

We were back down to the trailhead in about 15 minutes.  I'm actually feeling the burn in my quads today from that trail run.  I did happen across a pair of hikers on their way up, and another car was just pulling into the small trailhead parking lot as I drove out.

The next destination was Little Goose Falls that Splintercat suggested in this thread.  We drove another five miles or so into the forest and stopped along the road near the bridge in Brian's directions (which were quite good, thank you!).  Dodger and I didn't find a warn trail so we bushwhacked into the wood following the sound of the rushing water.

At one point Dodger went off ahead of me just out of sight-about fifteen feet - and what followed was the tell-tail sound of a deer taking off.  In that same instant, another deer appeared right in front of me about 7  feet away looking every bit ready to charge me.  I can only assume we got between a mama and it's baby.  Dodger came back in the scene and the second deer took off - Dodge took after after her!!  YIPE!  COME BACK DODGER!!

After about 15 minutes of calling, whistling and expecting the worst he finally did come bounding back to me.  Dodger is long out of that phase of just taking off on me - so I learned a pretty good lesson here!

We made it down to Little Goose Falls.  I later realized, after coming home and comparing photos to Brian's website, I realized that this was actually Upper Little Creek Falls.  Pretty nice!  I wish I had more time to get down in the gorge and even find the other falls.  Excuse for  a return trip! Smile

Upper Little Goose Falls

We got back in the car and headed back out. About three miles down the road we followed these two for a little while on the drive back:

Made it back in town in time for family obligations at 11:30AM.

All told, a great climb and very efficient use of a mid-week summer holiday!


(lots more photos: http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/gallery/3109079)


Re: Sunrise for Sleeping Beauty 7/4/2007

Posted by backcountryhunter (2007-07-06)
Sounds like a cool hike and some great pix's. We are heading up that way this weekend and will have to check it out.



Re: Sunrise for Sleeping Beauty 7/4/2007

Posted by fettster (2007-07-06)
Cool Jeff, that's sweet you saw a goat.  I would imagine that's kinda rare for hikers there.  I definitely didn't the time I went last year.  Too bad you had to shoot into the sun for those pictures huh? 

What a weird story with the bat, yuck!  I never heard of that happening. 

I must say Upper Little Goose Falls are quite pretty.  You think Dodger was doing his job protecting you from the deer? 

Re: Sunrise for Sleeping Beauty 7/4/2007

Posted by joerunner (2007-07-07)
I love the goat shot, how lucky. Great pictures.

Re: Sunrise for Sleeping Beauty 7/4/2007

Posted by Darren (2007-07-28)
Jeff...how far up is that waterfall/creek area....that would be a nice treat en route to a summit!!!!

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