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Summit Prairie Trail #2
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mini location map2020-06-25
9 by photographer avatarkeepmoving
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Summit Prairie Trail #2Volcano, WA
Volcano, WA
Backpack22.60 Miles 5,221 AEG
Backpack22.60 Miles2 Days         
5,221 ft AEG9 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Road to Summit Prairie Trailhead is blocked by a large tree (about 4' diameter) that has fallen across the road 1.5 miles before the trailhead. I parked on the side of the road and walked the additional mileage to start the hike. Weather was sunny, temps in the 80s.

After the initial unexpected road walk, I dropped down Quartz Creek Butte #5B down to the Quartz Creek ford. The water was only about calf deep and made for an easy crossing. After a break on the far bank, I headed north on Quartz Creek #5.

The upper reaches of Quartz Creek are overgrown and littered with down trees. It's also inhabited by a seemingly infinite number of spiders who all decided the best place to display their webs was directly across the trail- typically at face height. While I don't normally take issues with spiders, getting web to the face repeatedly all afternoon got old really fast.

Turning west on French Creek 5C the trail conditions actually improved for a bit as the trail leveled out and followed the creek for a couple miles. However the trail all but completely disappeared as soon as it began to switchback out of the canyon. It's completely overgrown and the tread is mostly gone.

I turned east on Boundary Trail #1. It's also a shared use trail w/ off road vehicles and has a very deeply rutted tread from years of dirtbike use. Being early in the season there didn't appear to be any sign of people riding it recently- probably due to the several downed trees that were blocking the path along the way. I can get by them on foot, but a motorcycle definitely wouldn't be able to. :lol:

Dropped down to Dark Meadow right around sunset. I was looking for a campsite but couldn't find anything in the immediate area. This was also the only place on the trail I had encountered mosquitoes so far- so I decided to push ahead and see if I could find something further up trail.

I ran out of daylight a couple miles later. I hadn't found any pre-existing campsites and I couldn't find a large enough patch of flat ground on the ridge to set up camp- so I kept hiking until I reached Summit Prairie. Exhausted and irritated, I threw down my pad and quilt in the only patch of semi-flat/mostly dry dirt that I could find next to the trail junction in the otherwise snow-covered meadow.

Broke camp the next morning before sunrise and headed south on Summit Prairie #2. Had some nice views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, and the Goat Rocks Wilderness in the early morning light. As the trail followed the ridgeline it hit intermittent patches of snow and I was glad to have brought microspikes with me. The trail in this section is very well maintained, so once I began to drop off the ridge and leave the snow- the last several miles went by very quickly.

Note to Self- This is not an ideal way to access the Dark Divide. Way too much effort to get to any of the viewpoints. I would access it from the north side around Jumbo Peak if I was to do this again.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
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Some Indian paintbrush, Lupine, Yellow Avalanche Lily
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