Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mt. Pilchuck Hike

Mt. Pilchuck Hike

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The best part of this trail is its summit is 1 mile (5280 feet) above the surrounding countryside overlooking the area from the western edge of the Cascades. At the summit is a historic, now abandoned fire lookout tower. The trail is just over an hour from our house. We stopped in Lake Stevens at Subway for a foot-long sandwich to share on the trail. After passing through Granite Falls, we turned onto Mt Pilchuck road which was a bumpy ride up the mountain on the gravel road. This trail is an extremely popular hike in this area. There were plenty of others with the same idea as us on this beautiful and clear Saturday.

If the view at the parking lot says anything, the summit was going to be amazing.
The first portion of the trail was through a mature forest through the base of a former ski area that has rapidly grown in. This trail was great because it was in the Mount Pilchuck State Park and Chance could do the hike with us on a leash.
At the 1 mile mark the trail turned into a rocky climb, but we finally got a small taste of the scenic view that lies ahead.

A peek at the peak of Mount Baker to the north.
Three Fingers.
Finally we could see the area and what we had left to climb. It’s a good thing we got our hiking poles in time. There is still snow on the northern side of the mountain. My body was really wearing on me after hard, long workouts this week so we took it slow for the 3 miles up for my comfort. I twisted my knee at one point in the hike so I was really taking it easy finding the right footing before putting all my weight on that leg.





And now the panorama. Lake Stevens, Everett, Puget Sound, San Juan Islands & Olympic Mountains.
Cascades and Mount Baker.
Finally we see the fire lookout.
There was a line heading up to the tower and we were starving so we found a secluded rock to eat our lunch. This was our view the rock edge where we ate lunch: Three Fingers & Shuksan.

It was too tough of a climb up the remaining rocks and boulders up to the lookout for Chance which then had a steel rung ladder up into the lookout tower so we had to take turns going up while someone stayed with Chance. It was beautiful. It made the 3 mile hike up completely worth it.



I could make out the profile of Mt Rainier in the distance.
I could have stayed there for a long time taking pics, but I didn’t want to make Joe wait forever.


To the north there was a high rock cropping you could climb out on. There was a group there taking pictures of each other out on the rocks and they offered to take my picture for me as well and I’m so glad they did.

I took a video of the view since it’s hard to capture the whole surroundings in pictures.
The descent was hard on our knees. Joe was really, really thankful for our hiking poles now. His knees really hurt when going down.
A lot of people commented on Chance carrying her own gear. She doesn’t really carry anything, but she’s a much better hiker with her backpack on. She wanted to see the view too. She did this a lot on the way down. I joked that she wanted to stop more on the way down than I did to rest on the way up.
This might be TMI for some, but I have a proud announcement. I have voluntarily pooped in the woods for the first time in my life (that I recall). I know feel like an official outdoors girl. They just might think about letting me in the club now. But they might not since I will always shave my legs and wear deodorant. We’ve adjusted to life well out here, but we won’t ever go that far.
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