The initial hike to Cone Peak was uneventful. The higher we got--especially once we left the established trail--the more spectacular the flower displays became. This was an 'exploratory' hike in the truest sense of the word! Only a couple of us had ever summited Cone Peak before. After a leisurely lunch taking in the 360 degree views it was time to "go where no Obsidian had gone before"--out the ridge toward South Peak and Echo Peak. Here's what we now know: 1) If you want to explore the ridge, save your time and energy and skip summiting Cone Peak for a separate day. 2) The flank of Cone Peak is very difficult to traverse as it is hard, crumbly lava rock up high and down lower it is lush meadows with deep holes and thick brush. 3) Once we successfully descended to the SE ridge we picked up a decent elk/deer trail that was reasonably easy to follow to South Peak. 4) You are rewarded with nice views from summit of South Peak (& Cascade Lilies). The north and east sides of South Peak are heavily forested and steep making further exploration out the ridgeline and access to Echo Mtn from this approach questionable (and would require at least 2 more hours). 5) One trekking pole and one free hand might be best option. 6)This outing is not for the 'faint of heart'!
That being said, upon reaching the safety of our vehicles back at the parking lot, each and every one of us were enthusiastically declaring how much we enjoyed the hike, the views, the flowers, and the true adventure of it all!Members: Kathy Randall, Darko Sojak, Eric Thornton, Lynn Meacham, Daphne James, Marguerite Cooney, Jorry Rolfe, June Sutterfield.
Under Cone Peak.—photo by Darko Sojak
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