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Friday, September 14, 2012

Mt. Pilchuck

Hike: Mt. Pilchuck
Distance:  5.6
Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Elevation Gain:  2200
Difficulty:  Hard
Potties:  Yes 1 at trailhead
Pass required:  NW Forest Pass

I hiked to the top of Mt. Pilchuck yesterday and it was amazing!  This hike tends to be pretty crowded so hiking it on a weekday is a great idea.  I wouldn't recommend this hike to children under 7 or anyone who has balance issues.  The trail is extremely rocky and there is a high risk of falling or twisting an ankle.

In 1918 a fire outlook was built at the top of the mountain and was staffed until the 1960's.  The supplies for the outlook had to be airlifted to the top of the mountain in order to build the shelter.  So amazing!

Here are just a few pictures of the journey:)
Rocky trail

View along the trail

Sheer rock walls all along the path

Yes, this is part of the path:0

Views from the clearing near the top

Fire outlook and the rocks we had to climb to get there

Views from the outlook

Yes, you have to climb this to get to the top:)

This is a must do hike and I think I always say that about all of the hikes I have done.  There are so many amazing hiking adventures to be had in Washington state and I feel spoiled to be able to enjoy them regularly (during the summer anyways).  If you have to pick one hike to do before the weather gets bad (I wouldn't do this in the rain or snow, too slippery) this would be at the top of my list.

To get here drive Hwy 92  to Granite Falls.  Turn left on the Mountain loop hightway and follow the Mountain Loop Highway east. One mile past the Verlot Public Service Center, turn right onto  Forest Road 42 immediately after crossing the "Blue Bridge." Drive 7 miles on the gravel road to the trailhead at the road end.

I hope you get a chance to do this hike before season's end.  Have a great day and happy hiking!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mt. Si

Hike: Mt. Si
Distance:  8 miles
Time: 4 1/2 hours
Elevation Gain:  3150
Difficulty:  Hard
Potties:  Yes
Pass required:  Discover Pass

I have been wanting to do this hike for a couple of years now and I finally decided it was time.  I had done Little Si with the boys a few years ago and wanted the challenge of doing the big one.

I headed out with my friend Suzy early in the morning and made the hour drive to North Bend.  It was an easy drive and the parking lot was huge and nearly empty.  It was a weekday after all, which is the best time to do these popular hikes.

The trail was very well maintained and wasn't too rocky until you reached the last quarter mile.  I will say that you are basically going 4 miles straight uphill, so this hike is not for the cardiovascularly challenged.  Going uphill for 4 miles also means you have to go downhill for 4 miles which is often an even bigger job.  All in all, after all the trip reports I had read before doing this hike, it wasn't as hard as I had expected.  I loved the difficulty and felt accomplished when I reached the top.

Mt. Ranier

The views were beautiful although it was a bit hazy the day we were there.  The view above is from atop a rock scramble.

We didn't make the journey to the haystack which seemed pretty steep.  We may have tried it if we had more time and energy:)
I am happy to have accomplished hiking up Mt. Si.  It was a great challenge!  However, this isn't one of my favorite hikes.  Great for elevation gain and nice views though.  It is worth it for the accomplishment of making it to the top:)

To get here  drive east on I-90 to exit 32 (436th Avenue SE). Turn left (north) over the freeway and drive 0.5 mile to North Bend Way. Turn left (west), and in 0.25 mile turn right (north) on Mount Si Road. The  trailhead is on the left,  about 2.5 miles down the road.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lake Serene

Hike: Lake Serene
Distance:  7.2 miles round trip
Time: 4 1/2 hours
Elevation Gain:  2000 feet
Difficulty:  Hard
Potties:  Yes (at parking and near top)
Pass required:  NW Forest Pass

I hiked to Lake Serene yesterday with my friend Suzy.  This hike is a just off of Highway 2 a little bit past Gold Bar.

The first couple of miles were medium in difficulty, but once you reached mile 2, the rocky and steep switchbacks started.  I wouldn't recommend this hike for children under 5, and anyone with balance issues.

Look how clear the water is
There were even a couple of skinny dippers there, but I didn't take a pic:)

I took a couple more pictures along the way.

The last couple of miles looked like this.  Steep and rocky.

Here is Suzy walking on the bridge right before the lake.

Photo courtesy of Suzy:)  Me showing my upper arm strength.

This hike is a must do.  At around mile 2, there is also an option to turn off and hike a 1/2 mile to Bridal Veil Falls, which we didn't have time for today, but you can read about here.  It is definitely worth seeing.

All in all a great hike and a good challenge.  I will be making this trek again for sure and leave myself more time to linger at the lake.

To get to the trailhead, travel east on Highway 2  from Monroe, WA. At milepost 35.2, about 21 miles east of Monroe, turn right onto Mount Index Road (Forest Road 6020 - gravel). Travel 0.3 mile on Forest Road 6020 and branch right onto Forest Road 6020-109 (gravel) follow the sign that says Lake Serene. The trailhead parking is just ahead.