I did this hike last fall 10/23/18. I think it was rainy in Portland, and I wanted to do a little exploring east of White Pass. There was smoke from a fire somewhere, but it was otherwise a warm lovely fall day.
Started from the Andy Creek TH, north of Rimrock Lake. This is outside the wilderness boundary and there was evidence of motorbikes. It was a weekday. I heard them in the distance once or twice, but never saw any. After a short climb, I reached the wilderness boundary and the turned west for a lovely ridgetop ramble along Russell Ridge.
The meadows were golden brown and offered smoky views to the south of Goat Rocks and swathes of western larch.
The pinnacle on the slope is called Bootjack Rock.
I noticed tons of prints and scat of what I originally thought was elk, but it turns out there is a herd of goats that likely live here year round. A bit surprising to find them hanging out at only 5000 ft this time of year.
I suddenly turned a corner and boom, mighty Tahoma!
The peak in the foreground is called Tumac mountain.
Where the trail passes over a saddle, I scrambled up to McNeil Peak, and found this on top:
Had lunch on the summit, looking into the heart of the wilderness area. I had plans to add on a 4 mile side trip to Shellrock Mountain, upper right.
However, when I got to the junction for Shellrock, I was feeling drowsy in the warm afternoon sun. So I sat down with a view of the goats, took out my sketchbook and relaxed. Took a little nap too, heaven!
10.5 miles, 3250 ft elevation gain
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Beautiful! I've been wanting to get up there and explore that wilderness, but haven't made it up there yet.