Mt. Si – 3/26/2015

Yesterday, March 26, 2015, Derek and I hiked to the top – well, almost the tippety-top – of Mount Si.

The Mount Si hike is one of the most popular hikes in this area.  Indeed, yesterday, a Thursday, we met far more people on the various trails than we had in all our previous hikes combined.  But it was a beautiful day.   Instead of the cool weather and rain we had dealt with on some of our previous hikes, it was sunny and warm, and the moisture was from our sweat.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Derek takes Fin to school so we meet at a local (downtown Snoqualmie) coffee shop about 8:30.  I was sitting around drinking a latte and got up to toss out some trash and my hiking boots got stuck together – the laces snagged on something – and I went down, hard, against the floor and the table next to me.

Ouch!  I banged up my right hand, shoulder, and hip and was sore during the hike.  I am a little sore this morning, Friday the 27th, as I type.

Anyway, we got to the Little Mt. Si parking lot about 9:10 and took off up the trail.  Little Mt. Si is way, way popular and there were a bunch of hikers straight off.  Shortly after we started we hit a loop, and we left the main trail to go onto the loop.

The loop intersected what is called “the old Mt. Si” trail.  It apparently used to be the main trail up to the top of Mt. Si, but a new parking lot a little way from the Little Mt. Si lot, and a new, more gentle trail from there has left the old trail in the dust.

Literally, because it is not maintained, it is a little rough in a couple of places, and it is mostly rather steep.  In other words, it is a great trail to hike.

Derek took a bunch of picture on the way up and we will sort through them and put a few in this blog.  From the verbal description viewpoint, I can say that the day was sunny and warm, the forest we hiked through is magnificently beautiful, and it was 100% fun the entire way.

Speaking of Derek’s pictures, here are a few:

This is Mount Rainier from the top of Mt. Si
This is Mount Rainier from the top of Mt. Si


This is as good as the trail gets on Old Mt. Si
This is as good as the trail gets on Old Mt. Si


Eventually we hit the main trail and took it up to the almost-top.  The real top is a rocky prominence known as the Haystack.  I sat on a rock overlooking the Snoqualmie valley – you could see downtown Bellevue and, way off in the distance, downtown Seattle (and Mt. Rainier from another angle) while Derek investigated the Haystack.

He got back and reported that it was a decent little hike to where you actually start to ascend the Haystack, so I hiked over there with Derek and he was going to see if he felt like going up.  I would wait for him there.

We got to the jump-off point and noticed a group of three people coming down.  They appeared to be stymied and one of the guys was yelling.  From where we watched it looked totally precarious, and with the one guy’s desperate shouting we had the sick feeling that we were about to witness a tragedy.

Fortunately, after we pushed on a ways, we encountered the group, safe and sound, and pumped up about their adventure.

When we hit the jumping off place Derek decided not to go up, because the time was late (we did have to pick up Finley from the YMCA, where she goes after school if she is not picked up at 2:50) and there were three groups, one descending, two ascending, ahead of us.

Ascending the Haystack looks tough.  The path is narrow and – let’s be clear about this – quite steep.  At this point it isn’t mountain hiking, it is mountain climbing.   Some additional gear might be in order to make it to the top of the Haystack.

In either case, the bottom of the Haystack was our summit and we went back down from there.

It is fun and not all that taxing to go down (I was using the trekking poles a lot, they take some strain off the knees going downhill, and are really good for balance – no good reason I could see of take a tumble off the side of the mountain) but it is always a little  sad towards the end because the trail head is the adventure’s tail.

But we will schedule another hike and I will have something to look forward to.

I will close this trip report with a little observation about mountain hiking in general.

I have been in the Pacific Northwest (hiker’s heaven) for 25 years now.  Only in the past few months have I done much hiking – I did a onesey years ago with Dennis Matthews by the Ho River – because I wasn’t in very good physical shape and I was afraid of bears.

I am still paranoid of bears but have convinced myself to be a tad on the rational side.  The probability of being mauled by a bear is far less than the probability of getting mauled by a vehicle on the freeway, so why not suck it up and lace on the boots (if they don’t trip me up in the coffee shop).

Having grown up in flatland (Illinois) I had no concept of what it is like to be hiking around mountains.  It was not conceivable to me.  No one I ever knew did anything like that.

But I am hooked now.  I can tell you that being up in those mountains is so wonderful I do wish I could retire and do it every day.  One of my Boeing friends is not just a hiker, he is a mountain climber and is in training to ascend Mt. McKinley this June.

Anyway, he has two friends who are retired and hike every day.  I am thinking that a daily morning hike and afternoon round of golf would be just about perfect.

I can dream.


First blog entry

It is Sunday, March 15, 2015 and this is the first blog post for Derek Swanson and Joel Grant’s blog.

Our goal is to record our hikes and walks in the Puget Sound area.

Derek lives in Snoqualmie, WA, with his wife, my daughter, Jill, and their daughter, my granddaughter Finley.  Snoqualmie is smack in the middle of a large number of mountains such as Mt. Si, Mt. Washington, Tiger Mountain, and many others.

We hike through those mountains – sometimes Derek and Finley go by themselves, Finley her dad’s back – and, sometimes, like today, just around the neighborhood.

Anyway, we are looking forward to documenting our adventures and having lots of fun (and great exercise) for as long as we can.