Rapid River Ridge

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A ridge walk and a loop.

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I had business on Tuesday, so our standard Tuesday outing got moved to Monday.

We drove in on the Smokey Boulder road past the Pollock Mountain turnoff, then proceeded up the much bumpier road toward Chokecherry Flat. It's bumpy, but it appears the FS graded it last fall. At the toe of our ascent ridge, we got turned around and started here. Nice warm-up!

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Just above that, the wildflowers went wild.

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In other spots the brush looked fairly heinous, but our ridge was mostly open terrain with easy cruising. There's Ant Butte!

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We walked an ancient road for a bit, then transfered off the ridge to take on a small cliff band.

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A little deadfall, and there's our summit.

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Great views up here. There's our next objective, North Star Butte.

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And there's the lookout on Smith Mountain.

We could also see the cabin on Lick Creek lookout.

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And here's our ridge walk for today. That's Pollock Mountain on the far right.

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Ruby cools off.

It wasn't all that hot, but it was slightly humid. And in the burned area between the two buttes, there was water and mud to cool off in. We figured she had 10 miles or so to shake off the accumulated dirt.

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There are interconnected trails on the flank of North Star. A brief explanation of your options. Trailhead
Typical grassy terrain of upper North Star Butte. Trailhead

Summit with views.

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Looking north along our ridge. And another spot for Ruby to cool off.

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Dave working it. Trailhead
We weren't the only ones on this summit. Trailhead

The next stretch had quite a bit of snow. Good travel, no gaiters needed.

As we followed our noses with GPS confirmation, we were occasionally confused by all the cut logs and trees (when they were visible out of the snow). Eventually we figured out that this area had been thoroughly cleaned in preparation of the possible advance of the Pollock Mountain fire.

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Devils Ladder on the horizon. This was one of the main attractions to the hike. Ladder? Trailhead
This, apparently, is the ladder. Not so threatening or mysterious. Trailhead
We found the summit or Point 7489 to be in a different location than the coordinates on LOJ. Trailhead

From 7489, we picked up the Pollock Mountain trail and walked it down to Chokecherry Flats.

Then came the endless road. The GPS said the truck was about 3 miles away, but due to all the road's ins and outs of canyons, it was more like 5.

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Map

Dave's excellent photos

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