Monday, April 27, 2009

Mount Si (sigh, not see) 04-26-09

Met up with Steve G. and Rob S. for a conga line type hike up Mount Si, just outside of North Bend, WA.

Rachel, her husband Steve and their dog Rudy met us at the trail head as well.

Weather was partly cloudy and the temperature started out pretty comfortable, but we all started to shed layers as we began the constant elevation gain. This trail is pretty typical of Cascade area trails, averaging just under 1,000 feet of vertical gain for every mile hiked.

The summit of Mt. Si, referred to as "The Haystack", tops out at 4,167 feet. The parking lot is about 500 feet above sea level and the trail is 4 miles out and 4 miles back.

This is probably the most visited trail in the state of Washington, or at least in the Top 10 if you consider trails near Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. This is not the place to hike if you are looking for solitude.

Rachel, Steve and Rudy led the way, lucky to have Rudy pull them up the hill... until they hit snow at the 3.25 mile marker.

Rob, Steve G. and I, all being older, took the Senior Citizen pace: slow and steady.

After the 3 mile marker, spots of snow began to appear and shortly thereafter the trail was entirely covered with snow... well, ice really. The three of us stopped to put on our traction devices, which we brought along because we knew about the snow/ice conditions we would encounter.

Minutes later, Rachel, Steve & Rudy joined us as they had decided it was just too slick to continue in their shoes. 4-paw drive was helpful, but just not enough.

30 minutes later we arrived at the summit basin. Here there are a couple of rock outcroppings to scramble up, carefully. The Haystack towered above us another couple hundred feet, but was engulfed in fog. We decided to call the trip a success and opted to not venture out toward Haystack this trip.

Found a nice high spot with grand views and some friendly Robber Jays who decided to join in our buffet.

The temperature hovered around 42 degrees (F) but the continuous breeze quickly chilled our fingers. We all forgot to bring gloves... whoops!

The descent went quite a bit faster and everyone's knees held up pretty well. Many people made it to the summit basin without additional traction on their feet, but on their descent they all had to go from tree to tree, hugging each one to avoid slipping on the ice. We were able to just step past them in confidence. Thumbs up to Yak Trax & Stabilicers.

After the hike we stopped by the Starbucks in N. Bend for some caffeine and then drove into Issaquah to meet up with a long lost friend that we just located via facebook less than two weeks ago. Cheers Shane!

All in all, it was a fantastic day of hiking & relaxing. I believe that my recent cardio workouts significantly boosted my ability to make this an enjoyable hike instead of an agonizing hike.

Next hike date is currently up for negotiation. It may have to wait until sometime during Memorial Day weekend.

Thanks for reading, and happy trails!


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