The Iron Bear - Teanaway Ridge trail is one of the one of the quickest ways to access the Teanaway forest from the Seattle area, with an easy drive of a little more than an hour. By the time you reach the trailhead, you've already gained most of your elevation too! I imagine that normally on a spring weekend, this trail would be thoroughly crowded, but on the cool, overcast day we visited, we passed only one other group. Because of the low, dense clouds, we had nothing in the way of views, but I was so pleased to finally have the time to get back out on a trail that I didn't mind. Especially since what the trail lacked in views, it made up for in blooms!
Balsamroot, lupine, indian paintbrush, purple penstemon, alpine lily, and waterleaf were only some of the wildflowers we spotted. Most of the blooms we saw were windblown and wet from the stormy weekend. Their unkempt manes added a riot of color to the otherwise grey day. I was a little disappointed to miss out on the awesome views of the Stuart Range that I remember from a previous hike, but Andy was downright unimpressed with the trail, declaring it "boring" over lunch. I'm sure he would have enjoyed it more if the clouds had parted even briefly to give us a glimpse of the views. Then again, he always seems to enjoy trails to lakes more than summits and ridges. Perhaps I have a few solo hikes in my future!
With minimal views and no sun to keep us warm, we spent very little time at the top and hurried back to the car, making for a much quicker hiking outing than usual for us. Instead of spending a few hours lounging in the sun at the end of the trail, we got back to Redmond early enough to do our afternoon lounging at Postdoc Brewing! I'm definitely looking forward to sunnier hikes over the summer, when we'll really be able to enjoy our destinations. Until then though, I certainly appreciate getting an afternoon beer straight from the tap, instead of a can!