Thursday, July 8, 2021

Hike: Coldwater Peak via Boundary Trail, Harry's Ridge, MSH, Toutle, WA

AllTrails maps

Getting There

Take I-5 from Portland to Castle Rock. It's 55mi from Kenton to the exit 49.

There are a few gas stations to fill up here. 

It's 62 miles to the Johnston Ridge parking lot/trailhead and it takes about 1 hr (if you're going the speed limit ;). 

This lot had quite a few cars compared to the last few visits. I parked hear the trailhead sign, put my window shade up, geared up and set out.

The Hike

Length: 13.05 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,117 feet
Type: Out and Back

Even since I hiked to Harry's Ridge I've been attracted to this peak. I saw a high spot from the parking lot and mistaked it for Coldwater Peak. It's actually behind the one I thought it was.

Last time I only got a little ways up before I got to big snow patches. I knew I wanted to come back to 'conquer' this climb.

My interest was renewed when I saw it again with my mom on our trip out there.

The weather was great and not too warm.

The first part of the trip is relatively easy, to the bottom of Harry's Ridge. From there, I continued on the Boundary Trail up and up.

The snow was long gone, esp. since the heat dome event. 

When I got to the top of the first section, there were a couple of women hiking towards the peak and a guy coming back down the trail. We chatted for a min about where to get paper trail maps, etc. The girls let me go ahead since I was traveling a bit faster. I didn't confirm but it looked like they had camping gear and were heading to Mt Margaret or The Dome.

The trail gets really interesting as you get closer. Esp. the steep section before going through the rock.

At the shoulder after the rocks, there is a trail junction for the Coldwater Lake trail. I noticed there was signage about an upcoming Trail Run.

I continued on the trail but was feeling a little uneasy. This was going to be the longest hike to date. Did I have the energy, stamina to go up and back down?

I reached the trail junction for the trail up to the peak or continue on the Boundary Trail. I figured I'd go as far as I could, maybe get some views of St Helens Lake below. Definitely epic terrain.

After the first couple of switchbacks, I looked toward the pass and saw the two girls hiking. I thought, Oh Good, some company. I bit further up I looked for them again and saw two more people and a dog. This gave me the motivation to make it to the peak. 

Murphy's Law: While I was ascending, the clouds or some fog was rolling in. It didn't look like a storm but I knew my view of MSH was going to be impacted. Actually the cool air was refreshing.

I laughed out loud that I'd made it all this way only have nature block my view~! I knew my views from lower down were just as amazing as from on top. (Guess I'll have to go back!).

I waited for about 15mins while exploring. I fully expected to see the two girls (or the other hikers) but they never showed. (Guessing they kept going to The Dome). The cloud/fog never receded so I started my descent.

About 1/2 way down, it looked like the fog was clearing! Dammit! :D I thought about turning around and going back up but decided it was fate and I still had a decent hike back. I also agreed to take a spin up Harry's Ridge if I was feeling strong.

I took another video on the way back.

As I got closer to Harry's Ridge, my criteria changed from "if I was feeling strong" to "if there are people up there" (i.e. I'm not alone). (Weird that I seek solitude but also that seeing other is comforting.)

There was a large family hiking down as I was going up.

I had the top to myself and was able to just stand there and stare in all directions. This is what it's all about. I do a lot of hiking where I'm moving the whole time. It was nice to stop and enjoy the scenery.

I really need to do some hike-in camping so I can really "stop to smell the wildflowers".

Making my way to Coldwater Peak

Looking east to Mt Adams

Fog/Clouds rolling in

Panorama of St Helens Lake

White Pasqueflower (Anemone occidentails)

Lots of cloud cover from Coldwater Peak

Another view of St Helens Lake

Approaching the summit, heavy clouds

More view of the top of Coldwater Peak

Volcano monitoring equipment

Looking W/SW at Johnston Ridge & Coldwater Lake

Panorama looking south towards MSH and Johnston Ridge

obligatory selfie from the top

Looking below the peak; Spirit Lake in upper left

Closer view

Boundary Trail sign (Trail Run July 10/11)

Clouds have cleared, MSH, junction to Coldwater Lake trail

Looking back at Coldwater Peak <3

Hole in the Rock!

Now MSH is in full view (again!)

Panorama of Coldwater Peak, St Helens Lake, return trail

Epic view of Spirit Lake, Harry's Ridge and MSH