Main Trail Mount Washington solo – 11/4/15

Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier

What a beautiful day, and the forecast has been for rain.  We lucked out.

I wanted to check out Mount Washington once again, because the last time I was there I ran into (almost literally) an excavator and there has been no good news about the state of the trail.  The WTA (Washington Trail Association) itself was warning that there would be ‘periodic closures near the summit’ through 2017.

Today, not so much.  In fact, I saw no equipment but I did see one little spot with the fruit of their labors and a couple of ‘closed’ signs:

Work on the trail
Work on the trail

Basically, the Great Wall is closed and the North Face Trail is closed but the main trail is OK.  It appears they are doing what we suspected they were going to do: they are making a trail for mountain bikes and horses (hikers also welcome, but we will mostly avoid it for obvious reasons) from Cedar Falls (about 4.5 miles west) to McClellan Butte (about 4.3 miles east).

So this trail will come up the west side of Mt. Washington and then go down the east side.  It remains to be seen just how much of the Great Wall will be screwed up by this new high-volume trail.

In the meantime, I must say that I think my go-to solo hike is going to be McClellan Butte.  It is only 4 exits farther east on the freeway and the trail is better.  Really, the Mount Washington trail has deteriorated lately.  It has rained quite a bit and much of the trail is rocky and is being smashed by the runoff.  Hike today was rugged to put it mildly.

But given the glorious sunshine the views were great:

Looking north
Looking north
Early morning view
Early morning view
I-90
I-90
Dusting of Snow
Dusting of Snow

I took my new gaiters because I had heard the snow level was 3,000 feet, but I didn’t see any snow until about 3,700 feet and what there was was pretty light.

All in all a nice workout but it will be quite awhile before I come back.  With the Great Wall and the North Face Trail out of commission for two years, and a ragged main trail, I will be looking for other options.

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