Mt. Dickerman Sunrise Hike, July 2017

Mount Dickerman
Date:
July 22, 2013
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 8.6 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,875 Feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near Verlot, Washington (Mountain Loop Highway)
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry To One Patch Of Snow
Hiking with: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling & Macho the Wonderdog

This was supposed to be our third sunrise hike, but the low clouds made it impossible to see the sunrise. The last time I was on top of Mt. Dickerman was early June 4 years ago with a lot of snow, today’s hike was snow free. We made the summit in 2 1/2 hours with a couple of tents perched on top….our group woke them.

We hung on top for 45 minutes to take all of those non-sunrise pictures, but even without the sunrise you have a 360 view of sheer beauty. On the way down we started to run into those Saturday morning hikers and the lot was full by the time we got back to our car at 8:30 a.m.

Scorpion Mountain Hike, July 2017

Scorpion Mountain
Date: July 4, 2017
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 8 miles / 12.9 Kilometers round-trip
Elevation Gain: 2,650 feet / 808 meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Near Skykomish, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to a few snow patches on summit
Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Rick Freeman, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling, Tao Song & Macho

For our July 4th celebration we started our day hiking a new trail off of highway 2 near Skykomish, Washington. I usually hike the I-90 hikes out of Seattle, but when I invite my wife I know it’s a pre-requisite to come up with a new hike to entice her to come out. Scorpion Mountain was a new hike for us and we were blessed with a sunny warm July 4th without the crowd. We invited our good friends Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling and Tao Song to share this quiet beautiful hike.

This is not your typical off the exit I-90 hike, it takes some driving time and effort. After getting off of highway 2, you have 7 miles of a narrow paved road onto a narrower overgrown dirt-road for another 6 miles up the mountain. We only had two groups ahead of us when we started, but managed to pass them to have full access to the summit to ourselves. This hike has a gain of 2,500 feet, but after reaching the Sunrise Mountain you descend over 200 feet to only ascend again to summit Scorpion…making this trek a bit more difficult.

Before reaching the summit of glacier lilies and a couple of large mounds of snow you get to hike through a mature forest and alpine meadows. You have a 360 view on top with Glacier Peak, Spire, El Capitan and the top of Rainier showing.

Linna and I ended our hike with some delicious Korean BBQ at Blue Ginger in Bellevue, Washington.

Bandera Mountain Sunrise Hike, June 2017

Bandera Mountain
Date: June 30, 2017
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 8 miles / 12.88 kilometers round-trip
Elevation Gain: 3,400 feet / 1,036 meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Exit 45, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to the top
Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby & Macho the Dog Wonder

My wife Linna made a lifetime goal of 100 sunrise hikes…after today we will only need 98 more! We met up with Matt Kerby at the local Home Depot at 2:00 a.m. and loaded everything into his new SUV. We started at the trail-head at 2:45 a.m. and reached the summit in 2 hours…which means we had actually had to wait for the sunrise for 30 minutes.

It was perfect weather through-out the morning, but the mosquitoes were so nasty it affected your movements. I put on my jacket so only my face was shown, I came down the mountain with only one bite. Matt ended up with a couple of welts on both sides of his forehead.

It’s a good feeling when you are descending down the mountain heading back to the car and it’s only seven in the morning and seeing people heading up wondering…what the hell.

Granite Mountain Sunrise Hike, May 2017

Granite Mountain
Date: May 27, 2017
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 8.6 miles / 13.8 Kilometers round-trip
Elevation Gain: 3,800 feet / 1,158 meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Exit 47, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to Snow Packed
Hiking With: Mike Curry, Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling, Tao Song & Macho

Seven of us decided that getting up at 1:00 a.m. to summit Granite Mountain to see the sunrise would be worth it…and we were right. Our group consisted of Mike Curry, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling, Tao Song and my wife Linna Freeman. This will be the first sunrise hike for most of us and probably the earliest start for a hike too.

I am not sure how we decided on Granite Mountain for a sunrise hike, but we all knew they would be a lot of snow on top left over from a very wet/snowy winter. After reading the WTA trip reports, the avalanche conditions were minimal and post holing wasn’t an issue. We had to be a bit more cautious on the snow when it started to open up on top, there were numerous foot trails going in different directions, but I have been up Granite so many times I had a good feel for our direction to the summit.

Matt Kerby reached the summit in time to snap some beautiful sunrise pictures, some of the photos posted will be his art. There were many groups coming up as we were descending and by the time we got back to the parking lot it was nearly full.
Craig and Tao invited us back to their house for breakfast. Of course when we got back home Linna and I took a long nap.

Yellow Aster Hike, September 2016

Yellow Aster Butte
Date: September 30, 2016
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 miles / 12.07 Kilometers round-trip
Elevation Gain: 2,600 feet / 792 meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near Glacier, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: My wife Linna, Jim & Ione Darmiento, Erik & Emelie Espling, John Biltucci

My wife Linna chose this hike months before our Mt. Baker weekend and she happened to picked the perfect date for beautiful fall colors. Our group rented a beautiful house near Glacier, Washington for the weekend.

Granite Mountain Hike, June 2016

Granite Mountain
Date: June 3, 2016
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 8.6 miles / 13.8 Kilometers roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,800 feet / 1,158 meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Exit 47, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to some packed snow
Hiking With: Matt Kerby, Rick Massie and my wonderdog Macho

Granite Mountain has always been an essential hike for me and I have always told my wife Linna that I wanted my ashes tossed from this summit. Granite Mountain goo.gl/LdJsWz offers everything from dense forest cover, waterfall, open meadow, wild flowers, look-out tower, boulder scramble, late snow, long avalanche shoots and views to die for. Plus…the first mile of this hike is moderate so allows your legs to warm-up before you split off from the Pratt Lake trail and start some serious elevation gain.

I had the pleasure to introduce Granite Mountain to a newbie hiker and good friend of mine, Matt Kerby. I think Granite became his new favorite hike and I am sure he will be back very soon. Another friend and co-worker Rick Massie joined us on this glorious sunny Friday. We all met up at the trailhead at 5:30 a.m. to get an early start on the day, surprising though there was already six cars in the parking lot.

The summer route still had a lot of snow so we scrambled up the boulder field to the look-out tower. After a putting on a dry shirt and sucking down a Gu Energy Shot we descended the summer route in the snow. We pretty much had the trail and look-out tower to ourselves today.

Colchuck Lake Hike, May 2016

Colchuck Lake
Date: May 22, 2016
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 8 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,300 feet
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Location: Near Leavenworth, Washington
Users Group: Hikers Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry To Some Muddy Spots
Hiking With: Emelie Espling, Sofia Hung, Max and my wife Linna Freeman

This was the second straight weekend we were in the Leavenworth, Washington area for another new hike, Colchuck Lake goo.gl/Tf1vg0. This hike was recommended by a friend and after hiking Colchuck Lake we are passing the recommendation onto other friends…it was absolute gorgeous.

I love the hikes this region offers, but it takes six hours from our house to the trailhead and back…throw in a hike and you are talking a long day. From Leavenworth you take Icicle Road onto Forest Road 7601 to Stuart Lake Trailhead, you will want to arrive early or you will find yourself parking way back on the road. I was totally flabbergasted by the lack of pot-holes on the forest road, I was expecting a rough ride with deep holes I would have to maneuver around. It was actually a very smooth ride, but I could tell on a hot dry summer day there would be a lot of dust stirred.

The Leavenworth area has numerous hikes, but Colchuck Lake hike is one of the two gateways to the famous Enchantments goo.gl/fodFj2. Finally hitting the lake, our group found the perfect lunch spot overlooking Dragontail Peak, Aasgard Pass and Colchuck Glacier/Peak. I definitely want to hike Colchuck Lake in the summer when the ice is finally gone and the lake has warmed up some….swimming looks refreshing.

Mount Ellinor Hike, April 2016

Mount Ellinor
Date: April 17, 2016
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 6.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,200 feet
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Location: Near Hoodsport, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to Snow-Pack
Hiking With: Jim Darmiento, Ione Darmiento, Linna Freeman & my wonder dog Macho

My Audi S6 was in the shop and I had a Q5 SUV loaner car so I thought I had better use this vehicle to the fullest…so I decided on hiking Mount Ellinor goo.gl/w0nY6Z in the beautiful Olympic Mountains. To get to this beautiful hike you need to travel on gravel forest roads with a shit load of deep pot-holes…perfect for a loaner SUV. I called my good friend Jim Darmiento and his wife Ione to join my wife Linna and me on this Olympic mountain hike. Linna and I drove over to Jim’s cabin the night before so the drive to the trailhead the next day was only 45 minutes from Jim’s cabin on Panther Lake, Washington.

Just what I had suspected…the forest road to the trailhead was filled with bottomless pot-holes, but my loaner Q5 Audi took them like a champ and I didn’t go around them either the suspension took each foot deep hole like it was nothing.

We had to start at the lower trailhead because the road to the upper trailhead was snow filled. The hike started steep and eventually got into snow. I love hiking in the snow because it’s actually easier to step straight up than hiking in loose gravel.

We didn’t make the summit, but decided on a lunch spot with a huge view of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint Helen’s and Puget Sound. We ended up back at Jim’s cabin for a swim and a cold beer.

Mason Lake Hike, November 2015

Mason Lake
Date:
November 13, 2015
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Distance: 6.5 Miles / 10 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,550 Feet / 777 Meters
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Location: Exit 45, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Conditions: Wet to Very Wet
Hiking with: Jim Darmiento, Rick Massie and my faithful dog Macho

During the summer you are lucky to find a parking spot at the Ira Spring trailhead, but we were the only brave souls to utilize our rain gear on this blistery rainy morning. This was my first time in 10 years to see only our car in the parking lot all day…it was just weird.

Wet and damn wet. That pretty much describes our saturated hike to Mason Lake www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/ira-spring-memorial. We started off determined to summit Bandera Mountain, but when we came to the split to Mason Lake or Bandera my good friends Jim Darmiento and Rick Massie voted for the less exposed and the more sheltered type route to the lake.

If it wasn’t for the new bridge across Mason Creek, this would have been a short roundtrip hike of 1.6 miles. The creek was raging and it was dangerously impossible to cross without the bridge. We finished this hike with a bowl of Jambalaya and a proper pint of Mac & Jacks www.macandjacks.com at the North Bend Bar & Grill www.northbendbarandgrill.com.

On the drive back to Seattle, Jim Darmiento and I decided to stop at Snoqualmie Falls, the falls were rampant and furious due to the substantial precipitation in the last few days.

Grand Lake Loop Hike, August 2015

Grand Lake Loop
Date: August 1, 2015
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 9.1 Miles / 14.6 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,600 feet / 792 Meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near Hurricane Ridge in Washington
Users Group: Hikers Only
Permits: National Forest Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Maxime Tissier, Tao Song, Craig, Eric & Emelie Espling

This is an epic hike that should be done yearly.

Ozette Triangle Hike, July 2015

Ozette Triangle
Date: July 31, 2015
Difficulty: 3 out of 10
Distance: 9.4 Miles / 15 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 300 feet / 91 Meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near Lake Ozette, Washington
Users Group: Hikers Only
Permits: National Forest Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Tao Song, Craig, Andrew & TC Patterson, Maxime Tissier, Emelie & Eric Espling

The Ozette Triangle www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/lake-ozette hike was my first Olympic coastal hike and it was awe-inspiring. I had the pleasure to share this hike with my wife Linna, Max Tessier, Tao Song, Craig, TC & Andrew Patterson and Emelie & Eric Espling.

This is actually a fairly easy hike, but when you combine all three legs to make it a loop/triangle you will definitely feel your legs spent some energy, especially hiking along the rocky sandy beach. The first 3.3 mile leg is trekking through thick forest on board walk over the tiny Ozette river, you can tell that there has been some trail work done recently…many of the cedar planked boards have been replaced with synthetic ones.

Once you hit the beautiful Cape Alava, you head south for 3.1 miles on a rough and rocky shoreline. You will notice tiny offshore islands and wildlife. We could hear the sea lions barking and one that probably quit barking a week or two ago…for it was laying on the beach bloated with no head. We purposely started in the afternoon to make sure we had low tide to enjoy our beach adventure.

At the end of the beach scramble you hit Sand Point at 6.3 miles, you then complete your triangle with another 3 mile boardwalk trek back to the car. This is a beautiful coastal hike at low tide, but it takes a good couple of hours of driving on twisting and winding roads to get to it.

Rachel Lake Hike, May 2015

Rachel Lake
Date: May 21, 2015
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Distance: 8.0 Miles / 12.8 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,600 feet / 487 Meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Exit 62 of I-90 in Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry to the lake
Hiking With: Jim Darmiento, Rick Massie & my fearless dog Macho

My wife Linna is always complaining that I do the same Washington hikes through-out the year, well today I would have made her proud. It was my good friend Jim Darmiento that suggested we try Rachel Lake wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/rachel-lake hike for something new; exit 62 off of I-90 in the state of Washington. It turned out to be a worthy hike with abundance of waterfalls through-out day.

The elevation gain seemed much more than what is posted on the Washington Trails Association website…which was 1,600 feet, but for some reason it felt more like 2,500 feet or more. Once we hit the summit, Jim got out his Jetboil and heated some water up for our lunch at the lake. I came damn close to jumping in, but my body said no….pretty much ice water temperature right now.

We didn’t see too many people all day….just like it should be.

Granite Mountain Hike, April 2015

Granite Mountain
Date: April 9, 2015
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 8.6 miles / 13.8 Kilometers roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,800 feet / 1,158 meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Exit 47, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to Fresh Snow At Higher Elevation
Hiking With: Dr. Richard Stiles & my dog Macho

I knew we had a couple of sunny days approaching so I decided to take a day of vacation from work to hike Granite Mountain goo.gl/M4Xqcz just 47 miles East of Seattle. Even though the hike was in middle of the week, I was able to find an adventurous soul to appreciate this thigh pounding sunny hike; I picked up Dr. Richard Stiles mid-morning on Thursday and headed out to Exit 47 off Interstate 90.

The last time I hiked with Dr. Stiles was 10 years ago the summer of 2005 when I was training for Mt. Rainier. He hasn’t misplaced any speed with his pace either, the doctor led the way with a vigorous stride that totally impressed me.

Trail conditions were good until you broke-out in the high meadows and started hiking is semi-slushy snow. We decided to put on our traction devices on during our first break at the beginning of the basin where the snow was getting deeper. We started to ascend to the look-out tower via the basin and midway through traversed back up to the ridge and boulder field. The heavy snow in the basin definitely increased my heart rate, but my poor dog Macho had to deal with the deep snow and boulder field. There was a couple of times I actually had to pick him up to get him to the next boulder.

After a few pictures, warm tea and snacks at the summit we descended through the basin to finish off a perfect day.

Granite Mountain Hike, August 2014

Granite Mountain
Date: August 1, 2014
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Distance: 8.6 miles / 13.8 Kilometers roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,800 feet / 1,158 meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Exit 47, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to the top
Hiking With: Rick Massie

The last time Rick Massie and I hiked up Granite was in extreme cold windy weather in November. This hike was just the opposite with plenty of sunshine and warm weather; on the descent you welcomed the shady areas because the sun was getting a little too warm.

We finished the hike with a cold pint of Mac & Jacks and a hot cup of Jambalaya soup at the North Bend Bar & Grill.

Denny Creek Hike, July 2014

Denny Creek Trail
Date:
July 24, 2014
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,300 ft
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: I-90 exit 47
Users Group: Hikers & Leashed Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Wet to the top
Hiking with: Jim Darmiento, Rick Massie and the wonder dog Macho.

Jim Darmiento, Rick Massie and I had this hiked planned for a couple of weeks and usually the full month of July is sunny and warm. Somehow we picked the only rain day in July; it was raining when we started and was still raining when we finished…we were truly soaked by the time we got back to Jim’s pick-up.

To remove the chill from our bones we headed to North Bend Bar & Grille for a warm bowl of Jambalaya.

Bandera Mountain Hike, July 2014

Bandera Mountain
Date: July 4, 2014
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 8 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,400 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Exit 45, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to the top
Hiking With: Mike Curry, Rick Massie, Jim Powell and my dog Macho.

I didn’t hike Bandera at all last year, but for some reason I have already hit the top of this hike three times this year. What I like about this hike it gives you a mile of warm up on easy grade going into a moderate grade and then onto a thigh pounding son-of-bitch ending with magnificent views with the bonus of Mt. Rainier in your face.

Mike Curry, Rick Massie and Jim Powell joined me on a beautiful July 4th holiday. We started on the trail around 8:00 a.m. and made it to the top less than two hours. For some reason this hike is becoming a lot like Mt. Si…voluminous of people on weekends and holidays. Totally recommend starting before 8:00 a.m. on weekends or you will be parking along the dusty road.

I brought up a quart of homemade chicken rice soup that my wife Linna made that I warmed up on my trusty MSR stove/pan. After a nice lunch, rest and photo-ops it was time to descend and weave through the masses of people heading up. We ended with a cold pitcher of Mac & Jacks at Sure Shot Tavern in North Bend, Washington; this wasn’t our normal watering hole…North Bend Bar & Grill was closed due to the July 4th holiday.

Mount Ellinor Hike, June 2014

Mount Ellinor
Date: June 6, 2014
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 6.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,200 feet
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Location: Near Hoodsport, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to Snow-Pack
Hiking With: Jim Darmiento & Macho the dog wonder.

This is a short but fairly steep hike with 360 degree views, unfortunately the summit was socked in so we stopped short and had a quick lunch. As we were putting our backpacks on and getting ready for our descent, along came a huge ass mountain goat on the trail.

Two years ago an older gentleman was killed by a mountain goat on this very mountain so this was in my head during the ascent. As we were approaching the summit, three young men was descending and they stated they saw a lot of goats and mentioned they were not afraid either. After hearing that…I was being cautious. So when my friend Jim Darmiento bellowed out the word “GOAT”, that was all I needed…I quickly grabbed my poles and jumped on the snowy slope and glissaded to a safe distance. Mr. Mountain Goat had a baby goat with him and when we looked back up the slope he was proudly staring down at us.

We finished the day at Jim’s cabin on Lake Panther where we cooled off with a nice swim and a few beers around the campfire.

Bandera Mountain Hike, June 2014

Bandera Mountain
Date: June 1, 2014
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 7.6 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,400 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Exit 45, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to the top
Hiking With: Mike Curry, Linna Freeman and Macho the Dog Wonder

What a beautiful day to hike Bandera with a bunch of friends.

Mt. Washington Hike, May 2014

Mt. Washington
Date: May 24, 2014
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,200 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Exit 38 near North Bend, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry to Damp at the top
Hiking With: Mike Curry, Linna Freeman & Macho the dog wonder.

My wife Linna organized this Mt. Washington hike with a few of her friends. Anytime you have a large group it takes a while to get everyone on top and some of them haven’t hiked in a while so it took a good 3 hours to summit.

This was a fun group and I was able to burn over 3,700 calories for the day! We finished the day off with a few cold beers.

Little Saint Helen’s Snowshoe, January 2014

Little Saint Helen’s
Date: January 5, 2014
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Distance: 7 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Exit 47, I-90
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Packed Snow
Hiking With: Mike Curry, Dr. Robert McElroy, Rick Massie & Macho my dog wonder.

A good friend of mine, Robert McElroy asked me to hike Little Saint Helen’s off of exit 47 on 1-90 near Snoqualmie Pass in Washington with a few of his friends. I have never done this hike….actually I have never heard of it either. Maybe because it doesn’t have a lot of elevation and during the summer there are horses and mountain bikes on the trail. I would never hike this trail during the busy summer, but with snow on it, it keeps all the bikers and horses off.

I asked Mike Curry and Rick Massie to come along too; this was my 5th hike in 2 weeks with Rick Massie. We didn’t quite make it to the trailhead due to snow, so we had to hike an extra mile to where we wanted to start. Due to the numerous logging roads and the snow we were never sure if we were actually on Little Saint Helen trail, it really didn’t matter what road or trail we were on, it was a gorgeous sunny day for a snow hike.