Monday, June 13, 2016

Jolly Mountain - Middle Fork Teanaway River loop, Teanaway

The last time I was on Jolly Mountain with Sir Hikes conditions were a bit less than ideal. It was pretty nice yesterday to get the views missed last November and then tack on the surprisingly-adventurous return to the trailhead via the Jolly Creek and Middle Fork Teanaway River trails.

I'm definitely guilty of succumbing to the, "get high, get views!" modus operandi for getting out into the mountains; who doesn't love a good panorama of multiple ridge lines, glaciers and craggy summits? And then something like the Middle Fork Teanaway River hits me. I knew it was going to be brushy, have a lot of downed trees and a bunch of river crossings. Sounds kind of like a trail I would normally want to avoid! What it turned out to be was highly-engaging with a lot of special little scenes and no people. Yes, there is a lot of brush, 50+ blowdowns (maybe up to 100?) and 14 fords of the river. But, somewhat unbelievably, it's extremely fun!
  • Yellow-Elbow-Jolly: some blowdowns, the dirtbikes appear to already have been out this year and many of the downhill sections have water damage on top of the bike impact, so they are getting severely damaged. Essentially snow free to Jolly Mountain (small, inconsequential patches).
  • North Jolly-Jolly Creek: still currently .5m of snow on the north side of Jolly leading to the split for Jolly Creek to the east and Sasse Ridge to the west. Turning east onto Jolly Creek the trail is very torn up, decent number of blowdowns, but snow free.
  • Middle Fork Teanaway River: Lots of brush and blowdown, ~14 river crossings (12 and one area where we crossed and recrossed to find the trail, might be easier if you're coming up the trail), few sections where the trail has been blown out by the river. All fords were approximately thigh-depth or lower; majority below knee.
Balsamroot, paintbrush and lupine down low
Middle Fork Teanaway region and Stuart-Enchantment ranges
Dave on the Elbow Peak-Jolly Mountain trail
Flowers up high too
Elbow Peak left-center, on the way to Jolly
Looks like nice balsamroot in the foreground
Dave approaching Jolly Mountain 6443'
Glacier Peak and The Cradle
Looking west from Jolly: Alpine Lakes peaks from Chikamin on the left to Daniel on the right
Looking north off of Jolly, Jolly Creek drainage on the right
Upper Jolly Creek trail
Upper Jolly Creek trail
Junction with Middle Fork Teanaway trail

Let the fords begin...
Cool cottonwood growing in the river

Northern Sagebrush Lizard or Fence Lizard? Spotted by Dave
Cool little pool just 1/4m from the trailhead

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