Sunday, February 22, 2015

Little Baldy Indian Pit hike

For a long time I have been intrigued by the descriptions and pictures of the Indian Pits on Silver Star Mountain in South West Washington.  It is believed that Native Americans made these pits by digging and re-arranging the abundant chunks of basalt found on the flanks of the mountain.  The purpose of the pits is thought to be for meditation or vision quests.  While searching for the pits on Google Earth I happened upon what appeared to be a large pit on Little Baldy Mountain which is a couple of miles East of Silver Star.  This pit can be seen at 45 Degrees 44' 49.38"N, 122 Degrees 12' 18.00"W.

Last September I decided to give the roughly 9 mile journey a try and starting hiking from the trail head North of Silver Star. I took Ed's Trail and after a while could see Little Baldy in the distance:

Part of the attraction of Ed's Trail is that the route takes you underneath a rock arch:

After passing Silver Star Mountain and heading East, Little Baldy was becoming more prominent:

There is no trail to the summit of Little Baldy and it is a combination of bush wacking (I wouldn't recommend wearing short pants) and careful climbing up the steep, unstable basalt rocks.  It is quite a bit steeper than it appears in the picture.

Arriving at the summit it was easy to find the pit that is visible from Google Earth:

It was very disappointing to conclude that this pit had been worked on by modern people.  The sun facing side of undisturbed rocks have abundant very slow growing yellow lichen (possibly Golden Moonglow lichen, Dimelaena oreina) whereas this pit was lined with rocks that were devoid of lichen.

Undisturbed rock with lichen:

Here is a small, shallow pit that has been undisturbed:

Finally, a picture of double-peaked Silver Star Mountain taken from the summit of Little Baldy:

1 comment:

e1 said...

Gorgeous hike! We'll have to go sometime!