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creeks, paths, lakes, ridges and sunny summit naps (views)”

Toto/Dorothy Peak (5273', p833')

Horseshoe Lake/West Ridge

June 9, 2013

Weather: Broken clouds, 50s



Tie for a short easy hike.  After so many trips entailing longer miles, greater vertical, steeper snow…  It was a feat to determine a feasible easy hike.  Of a list of ten, I narrowed to Sorcery.  And a bonus it was a Homecourt peak (#80) and a close bonus peak if time allowed.



You are where?


Tale of Three Creeks

A late meeting and the long drive out to the now end of the Middle Fork (Snoqualmie) road at the Dingford Creek trail.  Skies were still overcast with the promise of sun to come.  Starting up the trail at 8:40 (c1460’) it was not long for a break to strip down to my thinnest shirt.  The spring air and new green were a great distraction while walking .  in under ¾ miles the switchbacks ended and the trail flattened.  Mosses on the trees, open terrain, above fresh bright greens of new vine maple leaves and the roar of Dingford creek below to our right.  A great elixir to drink in.  I took the time to look at the colors, shades and textures.  To breath deep and really smell.  The green, the evergreen smell, the rich loom at my feet.  How often do we trod the trails and take this richness for granted?  Easy walk over of Pumpkinseed creek in the V gulley.  Stopping to watch the sheets of water gliding over the roll-over of the hue granite slab.  Falling into a slot and falling down. 


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Pumpkinseed foam dome                                                                                   Hellebore (aka corn plant)


In a mile from the switchbacks an easy rock hope over two tendrils of Goat Creek.  A small camp platform on the left behind a tree and the big rocks.  A tiny rock sitting on top of the “Big Rock” and a stack of rocks (“cairn”)  on the left (uphill) side/west end of the “Big Rock” (1.8m).  Don’t miss this!  Last time by, I’d seen this and was told a trail goes up from here. 


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The “Big Rock”.  Cairn pile on left side                                                                                              Goat Creek


A short pause, then left and up.  Obvious people had walked around, but no distinct path.  We worked up in the typical forest dodging.  Soon a little left.  A third tendril of Goat Creek on our right we found a faint trail that lead up and a right to cross the creek on slimy wet rocks.  Up a little higher was a large barked tree arching from the peninsula we were on to the high bank climbers right.  Looked good to me, but not to all.  I led a slippery hop across the rocks worked right then left now ascending the east side of Goat Creek on a gulley ridge some 30-40+ feet above the creek.  Now an obvious trail it was easy walking up.  A few windfalls to crawl over, but nothing bad.  Good thing we were on the eastside.  The west side had steep wall washouts and who knows what.  The trail was easy to follow for the most.  A few places to look twice.  Above 3800’ the trail almost got lost with a traverse left over a log, then a small creek.  The terrain was easy and the scenery grand.  We’d left below the giant stumps of the turn of the century logging to meander amongst very large trees.  Worth the occasional stop to just look around and admire.


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Skunk cabbage


Seemed like in no time (~an hour) from the trail we topped on snow to the snow covered Horseshoe Lake (2.5m, c3940’).  A CCW traverse started easy enough, with a steeper area to go around.  In a few melted areas the trail was visible.  On the east side of the lake a peninsula sticking into the lake –giving a possible horseshoe shape.  Is that why the name?  We stopped for a lunch break and to admire the sunshine and views on the north side of the peninsula (2.7m).


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Horseshoe Lake                                                                                                                    Cliff shore NE side


After a half hour, I was ready to nap in the warm sun having lost my momentum.   Once moving I was good again.  Now heading east with a left tilt.  The right side of the East ridge looked to have a few cliffs.  Up the left on steepening duff, to move right on top of granite and a shallower easy ridge walk.  Some places steeper, some flatter.  The steeper ones slick enough and needing side edging and an occasional vegie belay.  C4360 at a slight flattening of the ridge looked like a good place to drop SW (or gain the ridge coming up).  Further up the rightside looked too steep for further travel if coming up (or down) that side.  On the north side (left) a lower angle basin may have been another good option.  If we’d come up the snow basin could we gain the ridge further up?  At the moment I didn’t know it, but you can via a short steep section.  The ridge itself was good and scenic. 


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The west ridge


Huge granite boulders, maybe too large to be boulders on both sides in places.  Trees to dodge around and protect from the sun.  A narrowing of the ridge.  Instead of a deep push direct up into the green, I led right for some fun easy cl3 boulders, then onto semi soft snow (c4800’).  Now the snow was a full covering.  Easy kick-stepping the rest of the way direct to the summit –well false summit.  A nasty looking hundred foot away (NE) was the dry boulder summit.  Some moat action, a short steep sidehill and kicking up a 18” diameter wobbly snow pillar to hop onto a downed log and then solid granite the final 30’ (3.3m, 5273’).  For a short peak, a great summit.  Melted out and dry, views all around and warm in the sun.


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Looking back to false summit from Sorcery summit (5273’)                                         East ridge of summit



Overcoat, Chimney Rock, Lemah (s), Chikamin


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Thompson                                                                                                                             Iapia (Lemah 1)


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Sucker hole                                                                                                                            Sucker?


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Big Snowy                                                                                                                              Garfield (?)


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Kendall, Red, Lundin(?)                                                                                                       Far north Mile High and Dorothy Ridge


It was obvious we were only doing one peak.  Having time we ate and summit lounged for an hour and a half.  One of those days it would be great just hanging and enjoying.  Views to Big Snowy and the Chikamin and Snoqualmie area were good.  Iapia looking like a needle.  Clouds  engulfing Chimney Rock.  Garfield out west looking imposing and the line of Snoqualmie peaks spread wider than I thought to our south.   I can still remember the wet hike we took to our North on the less distinct the ridge of Dorothy and point of Mile  High -(lol).


Our route back to the false summit was on the ridge proper.  Then down our up route. Bypassed the fun boulder scramble and leaving the ridge after a flat area (or two) c4360?  The forest was dry, yet steep enough to be slippery duff. 


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At the lake we were on snow again.  Too nice to leave yet, so another break on a sun warmed rock.  The start of the path down was a little faint.  Easy to miss the slight left then down.  Just as scenic going down, crossed the creek in the same place.  Gained Dingford Creek trail, admired the “Big Rock” and turned to leave.  A few foot prints in the mud, but nobody on the easy flat walk out. 


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Carla’s favorite plant… Devils Club


Down the switchbacks things slowed due to nasty blister –Oops.  I lost the bet on how many cars at the TH.  There were only five.  We’d seen a hiker and dog coming out from an overnighter on our way up.  Seems they left a present near the TH that stuck to a boot, then on the pants… YUK! Pick it up people! At the least don’t leave in the trail.


Sunny and a long drive out the MF road, we wiped the smear of poop off our minds and stopped as Snoqualmie Brewery to fill our growling stomachs.   This was a nice mellow and highly recommended scramble and a bonus being a Homecourt peak (#80).  Bug report… only mosquitos or flies were at the TH.  Nothing once on trail.


Thanks for reading, and happy trails,



Stats: 6.3m, +/-3813vert, 3:45 up (plus break),  2:48 down (plus break)



sorcery map 13_0609





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