Exactly one year ago, on 7/11/2009, I made my first successful summit of Granite Mountain.
This Anniversary trip was very similar as far as the weather, the bugs and the views, but what was different about this trip was that I wasn't solo.
Instead of just me, myself and I, this year Keith Lund and his son Sam joined me for this day hike.
Keith and I have hiked together before, but that was back in the days of Junior High. You remember those days: "steep" and "elevation gain" meant nothing because we were invincible. Descents from Lake Constance were done at a jogging pace and hiking poles (if they had even been invented) would have been simply called a Cane. Hiking sticks were a custom-find for each trip and were used mostly to annoy little sisters.
We're a little bit older now and maybe a bit more mature. Also, we have knees... and we know it.
Anyway, Keith and Sam felt up for a good old Washington hike and didn't hesitate at the 1,000 ft per mile elevation gain.
The trip was mostly uneventful. No navigational problems, no injuries, no wild animals. Just a relaxing day of hiking in the sun (and bugs).
Keith and Sam at the trail head for an 8:45am departure:
Early on in the hike it seemed like my muscles were groaning, but it was actually just my spidey sense acting up:
After a couple miles of hiking in the shade of the evergreens, we broke out into the alpine meadows where the Lookout finally came into view:
We interrupted a dozing hoary marmot who allowed us one picture before darting off:
Sam, still smiling after +3,000 feet of elevation gain:
Mt. Rainier followed us throughout the meadow. Keith and Sam are considering a circumnavigation of Rainier on the Wonderland Trail in the near future.
The summer trail route that leads through the basin is still under serious snow so we opted to take the boulder ridge scramble route:
This guy started out on the summer trail route in the basin but decided to take the shortcut up the snowy slope instead of the trail or the boulder ridge:
Future PBA's (Peakbaggers of America):
Sam enjoying the scenery (and me botching up a photoshop edit in a bad way trying to remove shadows):
Just beyond the lookout you can look down to see Crystal Lake, still ice covered:
Crystal Lake (frozen) and Tuscohatchie Lake (not frozen):
Sunbathers in Washington get sunshine anywhere they can... even on mountain tops:
Close up of the lookout, since they keep it locked up tight so you can't go inside to poke around:
After a lunch break and signing the summit register it was time to head back down. Way down:
Snoqualmie Pass and Lake Keechelus in the background:
It's amazing how many boulders make up that ridge, and how steep it is.
Thanks again, Keith and Sam, for joining me on this adventure. Company makes a great trip a whole lot better! Hopefully we'll be able to share some more trail time together while you are still in the area.