We had a wonderful little hike today. Finley made it all the way to the top (about 2.15 miles) on her own legs, with just a couple of assists over the bigger rocks and odd quirks of the trail.
The weather the last couple of days has been perfect. Sunny and mid-60’s. We hit the trail just after 8am and the lot was almost empty. Totally full when we left. It is a popular trail.
You do get some nice views:
That’s Little Si’s neighbor, Big Si. We were going to hike up there today, via the Old Mt. Si trail (which intersects the Boulder Garden Loop trail, which we passed today) but Fin’s mom and dad gave Fin a morning break from school, Camden is only 9 months old and doesn’t care so the old Grampy got to have an amazingly fun hike.
That’s (the now partially closed) Rattlesnake Mountain in the distance.
The plan yesterday was to find the new bike/horse/hike trail they are building that will stretch from just east of Cedar Butte to somewhere east of McClellan Butte. A beaut of a trail when they finish. This is the trail whose construction has hosed portions of the Mt. Washington trail complex, in particular the Great Wall.
Anyway, I had read a trip report by a local hiker, known as a major expert on the area between Rattlesnake and the Pass, who had found this trail. He put a map up and I printed the relevant portion and brought it along.
Unfortunately, I misinterpreted the scale of the map and thought I had hiked far enough east on the Iron Horse Trail, did not find any signs of the new trail (represented by ribbons in the trees for a few hundred yards, then it is down a ravine and there is the new trail) so I turned around and tried to find it from another direction.
The direction was via Cedar Butte trail to Saddle Junction and east on the South side Trail. So back I hiked west, up Cedar Butte, down the South side Trail, looking for the new trail in that direction.
Here is what the nice part of the South side Trail looks like:
At least you can see something that looks like a trail. But just over the hill the trail disappeared beneath a huge area of trees blown down. I bushwhacked for a couple of hundred yards but I could not find a trail so I turned around.
I took a slightly different route back. There is an unnamed trail just west of Boxley Creek. The trail splits off going north at first and quickly heads west. I had been down it before and that time I saw a huge deer on the trail.
This time all I did was enjoy this little side-trail. It goes right by Rainbow Lake. You can see this lake from the Iron Horse Trail and it is nice to see it up close.
Here is a view from the western end of the lake looking southeast:
Here is a view I like, not because it is awesome, but I like the blend of old trees and mountains and new, ugly stuff that splits the middle of the picture like an axe through a skull.
The ‘2’ on the map is as far east as I got on IHT. When I got home I compared the topo map I was following to the track of this hike on a CalTopo tool and sure enough, I see I did not go far enough east.
I stopped at Weeks Creek and I believe I need to go on at least another .4 mile.
I will try again at my first opportunity. This would be yet another route to Mt. Washington summit, adding to our collection (currently at six).
A fun little walk/hike, and Camden had a great time. He is disinclined to be bored and it isn’t boring walking around the woods with Daddo and Grampy, so he was smiling most of the time.
Plenty of rain in the forecast for next week but I am going to try to start a new good habit if I can: drive to one of the nearer Tiger Mountain parking lots and, if I can get a spot, do a little (2 to 2.5 hour) hike on Tiger, just for the conditioning.
If I can do two of those a week, on top of any other hikes we do, I should start getting fitter and might be in pretty decent backpacking shape by May.
We are planning a few overnight/2 or 3 night backpacking trips and I need to get ready.
Of course, I look forward to the day when I can hike with Derek, Fin and Cam on a backpacking trip into the beautiful alpine wilderness around here.
Update 3/24: Well, my Tiger Mountain training hikes got off to a less-than-stellar start. But there is hope.
Tuesday a late meeting landed on my schedule so I had to put off my first attempt. Today I got a chance and almost immediately blew it. The map had me going up the trail and turning right at .4 miles. There was a trail on the right at .37 miles and since the maps are not perfect (nor are Garmins) I took the trail.
1.5 miles later I came across a large board with a map on it and I could see I was nowhere near where I thought I was. So I back-tracked, but did a little detour to see where I should have turned right. I found it and I will be back, either Saturday, if my schedule supports that, or Tuesday.
If I have to I will map the entire mountain. The trails are like capillaries but I will figure them out and keep plugging.
We stopped for a snack at one of the summits (we hit Tiger Mountain #2 and #3 today) and shared our nut bars with some feathered friends. Anyone out there know what kind of bird this is? They are accustomed to being treated royally by humans and, obviously, get right up next to you.
We had some ambitious ideas about what hike to do today, but the fact that at least one trail head was unreachable because of fallen trees, and that two feet of new snow had fallen up that way last night made us think a bit more conservatively.
So we went to Tiger Mountain and started up the Cable Line trail again:
Derek and I could testify in court that, yes, it is steep and muddy and rocky and all that, but mostly lots of fun. Today not so much for me as I was suffering from stomach cramps and nausea, which wore me out rather quickly.
Nevertheless, we didn’t slack today, about 5.9 miles, 3,300 feet of elevation gain, in about 3.5 hours. Much of it was steep – one short section, according to our Garmin (right about the .3 mile mark) had a grade of 48%.
Much of the trail on Tiger is Cadillac quality:
Interesting scene at (I think) Tiger 2:
And, as always around here, there are enormous views:
Camden and Finley are visiting us Friday night through Saturday afternoon and Jan and I are looking forward to that. Derek and I discussed the possibility of doing a little exploratory hike with Fin on Sunday to investigate the new mountain bike-oriented trail they are making that will connect Cedar Butte, which is a mile east of Rattlesnake Lake, with McClellan Butte, about 7.5 miles east of Cedar Butte. I have read a trip report from a veteran of that area and he found the new trail and made a little map.
So, schedules and weather permitting, we will give that a try on Sunday. If Fin and Derek can’t make it I might check it out myself.
Update 3/14/2016: I think I stumbled across the name of the birds up on the summit – Robber Jays, aka Gray Jays:
I drove to the Exit 38 parking lot this morning and left the car about 7:10 am. My original plan was to hike only as far as the Sallal Point side-trail, but I missed the trail. Turns out I missed it because they took the signs for the trail down and it is not exactly a prominent location.
By the time I figured I had gone too far I was not far from the junction with the Great Wall Trail so I figured I would go that far and see if it was still closed.
Back down I went, looking carefully and I finally found it, now unmarked. I think I know why.
It was never exactly an official trail and right now it is fairly well trashed. I picked my way to the first side-trail from the Sallal Point side-trail and up I clambered. At this point it is scrambling, not hiking.
I reached (see above) what appeared to be the end of the trail, but it turns out there is room on the other side of this massive blow down to get by.
I arrived at a rocky scramble and spent a good fifteen or so minutes trying to figure out a doable route to the top. I finally did figure a way and on the way down I noticed a route that was way safer and easier.
But I am glad I scrambled up because it is a really nice view point – this must be the ‘Sallal Point’ in the now-defunct trail sign.
I have to say the Mt. Wa trail is getting worse all the time. There were many blow downs, most of them easy to navigate. There was one brute, though, that forced you to crawl on your hands and knees through the mud. I saw a couple of guys in shorts as I hiked down and I thought they were going to be in for a rude surprise when they got to that blow down.
Also, it is getting rockier. Try hiking on steep and rocky terrain for an extended period of time. It is rough on the knees and the ankles.
4.8 miles, 2:48, 2,500 feet of elevation gain. Rather a moderate hike but with a real scrambly challenge just off Sallal Point. I will be back, but on a day when the rocks and roots and trail are dry. I was slipping like crazy on this side-trail, I totally get why they discourage you from using it. But there are more side-trails to explore.