PESHASTIN When people hike Sauer’s Mountain, Leonard Sauer won’t be there to greet them anymore.

Sauer died Jan. 1 at the age of 90. Sauer was well known for building the popular hiking trail, Sauer’s Mountain, near Peshastin and up Anderson Canyon Road.

Sauer’s Mountain is a beautiful early spring hike that is clear of snow before some of the higher elevation trails. The trail is a mosaic of gorgeous wildflowers in April and May including balsamroot, lupine and many more.

The entrance to the trail was also dotted with totem poles and other artwork made by Sauer, said Welcome Sauer, Leonard’s son. He also planted native trees and shrubs.

Leonard Sauer could often be seen sitting at the parking lot to his trail with his dog Blue, a blue heeler, greeting hikers. Blue is still alive and living with another of Leonard’s son, Joe Sauer. Leonard Sauer would sometimes grumble that he was doing parking enforcement, but people could tell he loved to chat.

His family knew there were dangers to having Leonard Sauer out there talking to people during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he wanted to have his independence for as long as possible, said Welcome Sauer. They called it, “trail therapy,” he said.

“As his mind started to fade on him, we found that what were his worst days were when he was penned up in his house being lonely,” Welcome said. “His absolute best days were the days when he would be sitting out at the trailhead talking with people.”

The family is still getting phone calls from people who remembered him, Welcome said Monday.

Hikers would leave offerings of wine and other treats for Leonard Sauer when going for a hike. And he would show them his pine cone collection and explain the difference between a ponderosa pine cone and a lodgepole pine cone.

One time when an off-duty reporter was hiking Sauer’s Mountain, a neighbor stopped by to chat with Sauer and teased him about naming a mountain after himself.

“Should I just start naming random hills after me?” his neighbor asked.

Sauer grinned and traded good-natured jabs back at his neighbor.

In a 2007 Wenatchee World article, Leonard Sauer said he built the trail because he believed people should have access to the woods. He wasn’t a fan of “no trespassing” signs.

The trail extends onto U.S. Forest Service land, and he said in the 2007 article that Forest Service personnel chose not to fine him. They just told him not to do it again and that the agency doesn’t technically recognize the trail.

Leonard Sauer built the trail over two summers during his retirement, using hand tools, according to the family’s obituary that published in The Wenatchee World. He believed in the principles of work, outdoor adventure and climbing onward.

Leonard had climbed every mountain in Leavenworth, planted the first fish in some of the Alpine Lakes and his hunting traps can still be found in woods, according to the obituary. A lake by French Creek, which is at the end of Icicle Road, bears his name. The view of the lake was inscribed on his tombstone.

Sauer in his life set state hunting records, worked as a teacher and football coach, ran cross country for Washington State College and much more, according to the obituary.

He had eight children, 19 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Leonard Sauer made it clear to his family and in his will that he wanted the hiking trail to be maintained, Welcome Sauer said.

Steve Sauer, another of Leonard’s sons, will maintain the property and plans to move there. The trail will remain on the property at least during Steve Sauer’s lifetime, Joe Sauer said.

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