We took a different (for me) route at the beginning. My hiking partners know the old trail. We parked a bit north of the official parking lots and crossed the road to take a trail that pretty much goes straight up to Rattlesnake Ledge. Check out the beginning of the visualization below.
From there we followed the regular trail all the way across. The traverse has been closed for months because of a fund-raising timber harvest and boy, did they harvest. The trail is fine across the devastation but it sure is ugly:
We made great time – Greg and Mark and I finished in 3 hours 48 minutes, Carl and Ken basically ran the trail for the last couple of miles and beat us by a mile. These guys are fit. This is a good time on this trail for me but a yawn for them.
My Garmin said it was only 9.3 miles and 2,917 feet of elevation gain. I know the route we took did shave a bit off the normal 10.5 miles but 1.2 miles? I am skeptical of the accuracy of the device today and will measure it again.
It was grey and drizzly throughout the hike and this hike isn’t known for awesome views anyway. The one benefit of the tree massacre was that there is now a view where before it was “just” forest. Oh, well.
A wonderful day, and thanks to Ken, Greg, Mark and Carl for letting me tag along.