Just adding this for our records – solo hike yesterday, up Mt. WA main trail, down Great Wall. Rather warm, I sweated like a sweat hog going up, my shirt was soaked. But Finley stayed with us last night and after the hike I drove to her house to pick her up.
She is sleeping with Granny even as I type.
Tomorrow is the big hike up Vesper Peak with Derek, George del Campo and Darrell Hull. 4100 feet of elevation gain in 4.5 miles and the views are, by all accounts, spectacular. Let us hope the forecasted thunderstorms do not appear.
I was marshaling at the US Open/Chambers Bay all last week and I forgot the camera. What I did this morning is probably not photo-worthy anyway. Just noting this hike to support future trips down memory lane.
Derek will understand what I am saying.
1. Got to Exit 38 lot at 6:35 – Father’s Day, I figured it would be jammed. But I was the first car.
2. Headed up at 6:40.
3. Owl Point at 7:30, that is, only 50 minutes (it is 2 miles from the parking lot).
4. Summit at 8:37 – 1h:57m!
Only 2 breaks from the car to the summit. 3 if you count a minute gathering and stacking rocks to create a little cairn marking the junction of the (what we call) the North Trail and the Main Trail. I also figured out that there is a better mid-hike break spot than the usual, which is where two large boulders sit in the middle of the trail. It is fairly level just past that spot and maybe 200 yards past the boulders is a nice view point. So next time I do this trail, I will power past the normal break point and enjoy the view just a bit farther up the trail.
First one up so I did not see anyone on the way up, perhaps 15 or so people on the way down, including several rock climbers, one of whom was holding a toddler who was not happy and not shy about showing it. Poor little guy!
Many times hiking around the Mt. Washington area we have seen a pond down in a valley, way off. Last Saturday we got tantalizingly close but did not get down to it.
Today, our overall goal was to hike up – as in starting low and going high – the Change Creek trail we hiked down last Saturday. The last (longish) leg of our hike last week was down to the John Wayne/Iron Horse trail via Change Creek.
And one of our side trips was down one of the two trails that lead down to the pond. And there it is.
We hit Hall’s Point and J’s Landing, both view points, along the way and discovered what appears to be a trail at J’s Landing that goes a long way up one of the spines around there. Next time we go back we are going to investigate that one.
As usual, there was no shortage of ‘wow!’ moments, like the nice view above or this one, with Derek enjoying a mini-break:
Shortly after we hit the trail we noticed someone who wants it even steeper; note the purple rope you could use to pull yourself up:
Many awesome views around this neighborhood:
We think we did about 11.5 miles altogether. Derek naturally wanted to get back to little Cam – who can blame him?
Next week I am going to be a marshal at the US Open in Chambers Bay, just barely south of Tacoma. My shifts are one Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. I have the other days to hang out at the Open and spectate but I just might drive north for a little hike on Wednesday. I don’t want to get out of shape for what promises to be a super-steep on on Monday, June 29 to Vesper Peak.
Our hike yesterday was just a bit more than 19 miles with something in the neighborhood of 6800 feet of elevation gain. Our goal was to use the Garmin to map Mt. Washington and its neighborhood – well, as much as we could in one day – and in that we succeeded.
In outline we:
1. Summitted Mt. Washington via the same trail we took on Thursday, the one that starts at a pond and ends with a mad trail-scramble (as compared to the various rocky scrambles in the area).
2. Went down the main trail to the Great Wall trail and then up to the summit again, this time via that trail.
3. Went down the Great Wall trail to yet another trail, up to the summit of Change Peak.
4. And then back down the Great Wall to the junction with Change Creek trail, and from there back down to the John Wayne/Iron Horse trail, which is about a mile east of where we hit the trail to begin with at 5AM.
It was about 3:30 PM when we returned to the car, for a ten-and-half hour hike.
We have talked about Mt. Washington so much, would you like to see what it looks like from the Great Wall trail, heading (right in the picture) towards Change Peak?
Right in the middle of the mountain is a light-colored area with few trees and if you look closely you can see a sliver of trail going up and to the right. That is part of the main trail and it switchbacks up to the summit a few times from where you can see it in the photo. The second time we were standing there we saw hikers going up.
A little farther down this trail is Change Peak, our goal after summitting Mt. Washington twice. Since we were at about 3100 feet when we took this picture, the peak doesn’t look very tall, but the GPS told us it is about 4300 feet at the summit:
One of our landmarks on the Great Wall is a rocky prominence that, Derek discovered last Thursday, has a little cache object (a plastic box) on the top, semi-hidden. I suspect we stumbled across a geocache (Google it if you are curious).
Here is a picture of Grampy Joel on the top, reaching for the cache to leave a souvenir for the next explorer:
To reach Mt. Washington summit from here, keep going straight, turn right at the logging road intersection, and when you reach a trailhead that looks too steep and too unmaintained, that’s it. It’s a 30 degree grade for 900 feet to intersect with the main trail, just a few yards from the summit.
By the way, since Derek was the first of we two to climb this little pile of rocks, he is on the hook to name it. As of 6/6/15 he is still considering it.
And here is the neighborhood of many of our other hikes, including the one we plan for Tuesday, June 9, looking north from around the corner:
Little Si is out of the picture to the left; Mt. Si/Haystack on the left; then two peaks that represent a ridge between Si and Teneriffe; then Teneriffe.
On Tuesday we are going to pretty much go straight up Teneriffe via the invisible trail just to the left of the first taller (actually, just closer to the camera) tree starting in the center of the picture.
The Change Creek trail was new to us and because it is twisty and turny we were a little tense that we were going to head back to John Wayne/Iron Horse but suddenly our goal was in sight and our fears of having to backtrack seven miles disappeared:
All in all we had a terrific hike. Just over 19 miles on the GPS. Ten hours and thirty minutes by the watch, and for our Boeing On The Move calculation that counts as 630 minutes @137 steps a minute.
Tuesday is the Kamikaze Trail to the summit of Mount Teneriffe on two days of leg rest so I am – except for a pending trip to the off-leash dog park with Jan and Lili later – a couch potato today.
As much as we love discovering new hikes, there is something utterly compelling about learning more and more about otherwise familiar territory. Mount Washington is our exploration laboratory.
On this hike, we started on the main trail, passed the Sallus View and Great Wall detours and hiked up to a pond where, we had noted, the main trail switchbacks up but a side trail loops up the west side of the mountain. Here is a view of that spot with the western trail behind the camera, the main trail coming up and switching direction:
This led us to some amazingly steep sections. Hand-over-hand for at least 1/4 mile in one spot.
We had been coached on this by a man we have now run into twice. We do not know his name but hikers in this area owe him a big debt, as he regularly (perhaps every day!) scours these trails for overgrown branches, which he trims, and new routes, which he marks:
Anyway, we absolutely loved this route to the summit and are going to do it again on Saturday, 6/6. (we changed our plans because of the projected 85+ degree heat we will defer our 31 mile hike to a weekday, and one that is cooler). On Saturday we will have no real time constraints and we will have the GPS device to map all the main trails.
Here is one of the scrambles, this one to the summit of what we are calling Change Peak, which is also known as East Mount Washington:
The scenery around there is outstanding:
We did about 12.5 miles in 5 hours and 40 minutes – not too bad considering how steep much of it was and the time we spent scrambling up rocky challenges.
Derek found something like a geocache on the top of one of our landmarks and we are both going up there Saturday to leave a present for the next explorer.
A future hike: 6/29 Derek and I are going to hike with George del Campo and Darrell Hull up to Vesper Peak. Should be fun!