Mailbox Peak Hike, January 2018

Mailbox Peak
Date: January 1, 2018
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 5.3 miles / 8.4 Kilometers round-trip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling, Tao Song and my Wonder Dog Macho

Another new year and another Mailbox Peak on New Year’s Day.

Mt. Whitney Summit, September 2017

Mt. Whitney Summit (one day)
Date:
September 22, 2017
Difficulty:  9 out of 10
Distance: 23 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 6,500 Feet
Time: 13 to 16 hours
Location: Near Lone Pine, California
Users Group: Hikers Only
Permits: Day Permit Required
Hiking with: Matt Kerby

This will be my fourth time to summit Mt. Whitney in one day. Matt Kerby from Bellevue, Washington joined me for this ever so long 22 mile merciless one day trek. This will be Matt’s first journey on the highest mountain in the lower 48 states.

Matt’s wife Shelly and my wife Linna flew down with us from Seattle to Las Vegas on a direct Delta flight. After we landed we dropped the ladies off at the Vegas hotel so they could wine/dine and shop while Matt and I brutality abused our bodies for over 15 hours. The drive from Vegas to the Whitney Portal is 4 hours and you have to drive right through Death Valley National Park. In one day you can be at the lowest elevation of 279 feet below sea-level to the highest elevation of 14,505 feet above sea-level in the lower 48 states. But to reach that 14,505 altitude you will need summit Mt. Whitney by foot.

We got to Lone Pine, California around 5:00 p.m. and picked up our day only permits (yellow tag) to summit Whitney the next day. When the Park Ranger asked if we are acclimated for tomorrow’s summit bid, we stated that we just flew in from Seattle, he definitely had that “oh shit” look. I assured him we would be fine and went on to tell him I have done this three times already.

Before heading up to the Whitney Portal (trailhead) we scarfed down a pasta dish and a few beers at the local Lone Pine Restaurant. I rented a Suburban so we just put the back seats down and slept in the back, legally we were supposed to pay for a campsite at the Whitney Portal which is at 8,500 feet.

After a restless night of tossing and turning, we woke up at 2:00 a.m. and started hiking around 2:45 a.m. The first mile I was already yawning, which told me we should have acclimated a day or two before we started this monstrous hike…I was already seeking more oxygen. Our bodies literally started from sea level because we flew from Seattle on Thursday and started hiking early Friday which is almost irresponsible and unwise (did I just say that).

After hiking up 6,500 feet elevation gain we finally made the summit. We were a bit slow, but we accomplished something enormous in one day and we have our yellow tag to show for it!

Enchantment Thru Hike, August 2017

Enchantment Thru Hike
Date: August 19, 2017
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 20 miles / 32 Kilometers round-trip
Elevation Gain: 5,200 feet / 1,585 meters (total gain)
Time: 12 to 15 hours
Location: Near Leavenworth, Washington
Users Group: Hikers &
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby, Tao Song & Craig Schilling

I trekked this brutal 20 mile loop last year, so I have a full understanding of the physical requirements and mental determination to complete it. So…to do again this year makes me a glutton for punishment. Team Punishment consisted of my lovely wife Linna, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling and Tao Song.

We dropped off Matt’s vehicle at the Snow Lakes trailhead and the five of us drove Craig’s vehicle to Colchuck trailhead where we started our torturous journey at 5:00 a.m. I was totally surprised how both parking lots were completely full. Of course we didn’t see much in the dark, but by the time we got to Colchuck Lake it was all blue skies. We stopped at the first big slab of granite opening which was directly across the famous Aasgard Pass for the initial bombardment of photos and selfies. We also took this time to scarf down some energy food before heading up to the pass which was nearly ½ mile away around the lake. You start to notice the cairns around the lake and soon you realize how important they are and become later in the hike. Somehow Tao didn’t pay attention to the cairns and found herself lost for about 15 minutes before we started up the pass.

What can I say about Aasgard Pass that you don’t already know…2,000 feet elevation gain in 0.75 miles is cruel and unusual punishment to your mind, body and soul. I am sure I was having Mailbox Peak flashbacks. Some sections you need to be careful you don’t dislodge rocks…especially when your wife is below you! We took a long break at the summit in a low spot on large boulders to stretch out our tired legs. During lunch, Matt had a photo shoot with us and a few goats. Matt Kerby is a professional photographer so you will see a lot of his photos on my blog.

The trail continues through the Enchantment basin / Upper Enchantments with numerous lakes and photo opportunities everywhere. We stopped and soaked our feet in the icy cold Leprechaun Lake before heading down to the Snow Lakes. Once you see the lakes at a distance, you realize that you still have a brutal descent down. For me, this is the most grueling section…but once you get down to the upper Snow Lakes it’s back on a half-way normal trail. Once you see the parking lot, you might think you only have 15 minutes left, but it’s a full hour yet.

Pratt Lake Trail to Denny Creek Trail Hike, August 2017

Pratt Lake Trailhead to Denny Creek Trailhead
Date: August 12, 2017
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 13.5 miles / 21.7 Kilometers round-trip
Elevation Gain: 3,600 feet / 1,097 meters (total gain)
Time: 6 to 8 hours
Location: Exit 47, Off I-90 in Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: , Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling & the Wonder Dog Macho

I haven’t hiked the Pratt Lake trailhead to Denny Creek trailhead for about 13 years and guess what…it hasn’t gotten any easier. Craig Schilling and Matt Kerby joined me on this beautiful tough 13.5 mile loop.

I took off from my Fall City house at 4:30 a.m. heading down the hill to get on I-90 near exit 17…but before I got to the bottom I was picked-up for driving 65 mph in a 40 mph zone by the Washington State Patrol. I told him the truth, I was speeding damn fast, but explained the gravitational pull on a heavy S6 Audi especially downhill. Officer Steele gave me a break…a verbal warning! I was still able to pick up Matt Kerby at the Denny Creek trailhead at the predetermined time of 5:15 a.m. He left his car at the trailhead and loaded up in my Audi and then met Craig at the Pratt Lake/Granite Mountain trailhead and started hiking at 5:42 a.m.

Right before the split heading down to Pratt Lake we stopped for a much needed snack at the open area over looking Olallie Lake. We didn’t see any other hikers until the Pratt Lake Basin, some backpackers heading home. The trail from Pratt Lake to the Lower Tuscohatchie was pretty good shape considering the lack of foot traffic. The trail seems to get a bit rougher after Lower Tuscohatchie Lake with over-grown vegetation, large rocks and at times a very narrow trail. All three of us fell in this area with Matt probably getting bruised the worst with his knee hitting a rock when he fell. I went over a steep hillside in a thorny area….legs got scuffed up some.

Once we hit Melakwa Lake it was sprinkling pretty good so we decided not to go for a swim, but enjoyed our lunch instead. Our descent from Melakwa to Denny Creek Trail head was busy with hikers coming up. We spent a total of 7 hours of hiking, snacking, falling, resting and bullshitting.

Mailbox Peak Sunrise Hike, July 2017

Mailbox Peak
Date: July 30, 2017
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 5.3 miles / 8.4 Kilometers round-trip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Linna Freeman, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling and my Wonderdog Macho

My third trip to the famous Mailbox Peak and my fourth sunrise hike this year. Linna and I woke up at 1:15 a.m. this morning to meet Matt Kerby and Craig Schilling at the Mailbox Peak lower parking lot at 2:45 a.m. and started hiking the old trail at 3:04 a.m.

If you think it’s tough staying on the trail during the day, it’s worse in middle of night. Craig got a little behind in the group and found himself off-trail so he started hiking straight up to our lights that was illuminating from our headlamps. The white diamonds sporadically located in the trees came in useful…they would shine like stars once your headlamp hit them.

We made it up in 2 1/2 hours and even had to wait for the sun to show it’s face. We had the summit, sunrise and the mailbox to ourselves until we had our fill. We headed back the same way as we came up…old trail baby. I have descended the new longer trail and it just feels forever and I rather get the pain over with on the shorter steep old trail.

Camp Muir/Birthday Hike, July 2017

Camp Muir
Date: July 12, 2017
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 9 Miles / 14.5 Kilometers Round-trip
Elevation Gain: 4,700 Feet / 1,433 Meters
Time: 6 to 7 hours
Location: Near Ashford, Washington
Users Group: Hikers / Climbers Only
Permits: National Park Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry to Snowpack
Hiking With: Matt Kerby

The last time I hiked up to Camp Muir was 4 years ago so it was time to knock it off again. Plus…I was looking for something big to do locally for my 57th birthday. I asked my good friend Matt Kerby to join me on my birthday hike. I picked up Matt in Bellevue at 4:00 a.m. and we made it to the Paradise Parking lot by 6:15 a.m. There was only maybe 12 to 15 vehicles in the upper parking lot…good timing on our part.

We started at 6:50 on Skyline Trail and finally hit constant snow near Glacier Vista where we ended up putting on our hiking spikes. I have been using these mini-crampons for most of my winter hiking, but I will probably bring my full size crampons next time for extra grip on the Camp Muir snowfield.

This was maybe my 10th time on Muir and it’s always the same…tough and real tough. I always pick sunny days for the photos and safety factor, but with sun brings heat and sunburns. I was wearing full length pants and a long sleeve shirt to reduce the need to lather up on sunscreen all over except for my face.

Matt and I are both strong hikers but it still took us 3 hours and 45 minutes to reach Camp Muir, we wasn’t in a hurry and we took many water/snack breaks along the way. We took our time on top…lunching, bullshitting and taking random photos. The climbing teams must have hired a helicopter to haul trash/empty fuel canisters…it was cool to see a copter up a 10,000 foot mountain.

We got back to the car in 2 ½ hours and left the parking lot around 2:30 p.m. We skipped the Paradise Inn beer because I told Matt that Linna wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t get back home by 5:30 p.m. She was having my birthday dinner at the house with 2 other couples. Well…I had no idea that she was throwing me a surprise birthday party and Matt was in on it. Matt made sure he was keeping me on track for time…there was a bunch of people at the house waiting for us.

Mailbox Peak Hike, April 2017

Mailbox Peak
Date: April 22, 2017
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 5 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Mike Curry, Matt Kerby, Craig Schilling and my dog Macho

This will be the second time this year I conquered the Mailbox.

Mailbox Peak Hike, October 2016

Mailbox Peak
Date: October 30, 2016
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: My Wife Linna Wei & our Wonder Dog Macho

Linna and I decided to get Macho out for some fall weather hiking.

Rim To Rim Hike, September 2016

Epic North Rim to South Rim hike all in one day with my wife Linna and 7 other good friends.

Enchantment Thru Hike, July 2016

Enchantments
Date: July 16, 2016
Difficulty: 9.5 out of 10
Distance: 19 miles / 30.6 Kilometers roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,500 feet / 1,371 meters
Time: 10 to 13 hours
Location: Near Leavenworth, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry to Packed Snow
Hiking With: Linna Freeman & Yun Ling

This year my wife and I hiked Colchuck Lake and two weeks later hiked Snow Lakes…both of these hikes will lead you into the magical place called the Enchantments near Leavenworth, Washington. A bunch of our friends applied for a summer camping permit to the Enchantment Basin back in February but all of us were denied.

So my wife and I did the next best thing…a very long day hike through the Enchantments. You have three choices to experience the Enchantment basin in one day, hike there from Colchuck Lake which is probably the easiest, but you will have to ascend and descend the very steep Aasgard Pass. Or the ever long grueling Snow Lakes trail with 6,500 feet gain and over 15 miles of hiking. Since Linna and I already completed both hikes, we decided to start from Colchuck Lake trailhead and end our day at the Snow Lakes trailhead…a grueling 19 miles thru hike in one day.

We were joined by Yun Ling, he was looking for something bold for his 48th birthday (he found it). We dropped my Audi at the Snow Lakes trailhead and Yun Ling’s wife dropped us off at the Stuart Lake trailhead. We started around 7:00 a.m., a much later start time than I wanted and totally recommend starting at day break or earlier.

Hiking to Colchuck Lake was a breeze, we made it to the lake in 1 hour 45 minutes. When we were taking a photo break and chatting with fellow hikers we heard some thunderstorm type noise and when we looked up we witnessed our first avalanche experience. A river of snow aggressively running down from the top of the Colchuck peak wiping away huge boulders and finally stopping before it reached the lake.

The easy part was over and the toughest part of our journey was just beginning. Hiking up Aasgard peak is a steep lung busting scramble with loose rocks. This short ascent is less than a mile but you gain over 2,200 feet topping at the summit at 7,800 feet. We ended up stopping so many times for photo ops that we ended up coming down in the dark, it was 9:30 p.m. by the time we got back to our car.

Mount Teneriffe Hike, June 2016

Mount Teneriffe
Date: June 8, 2016
Difficulty: 8 out of 10
Distance: 11 miles / 17.7 Kilometers roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,840 feet / 1170 meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Exit 32, I-90 Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Matt Kerby and my wonderdog Macho

I wasted a day of vacation so I could wake up at 3:45 a.m. on a Wednesday and purposely trash my legs and pound my heart into submission while hiking Mount Teneriffe. This hike will kick your ass every time and maybe it’s the reason I only do it once a year. But if you are looking for a colossal work-out 30 minutes from Seattle with 360 views…then Mount Teneriffe is it.

My friend Matt Kerby joined me on this thigh burner hike, this was his first time and Mr. Teneriffe showed him what trails are made of. We took the short route up via the Kamikaze Falls then followed the ridgeline to the summit. To save on the knees we descended the long “old” logging road down. I guess I will have to quit calling it a logging road as of last year Department of Natural Resources actually created a trail by bringing the edges in with an excavator. They have done an exceptional job of creating a real trail from the 7 mile logging road.

We made good time to the summit and we didn’t have to share it either. In fact I was telling Matt that I never had to share this summit with anyone in the 10 years of hiking this mountain. You might see 1 or 2 people on Mt. Tenerife on a weekday, but one mile away you will see 20 to 30 on Mt. Si.

Snow Lakes Hike, May 2016

Snow Lakes
Date: May 29, 2016
Difficulty: 8 out of 10
Distance: 14 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,400 feet
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Near Leavenworth, Washington
Users Group: Hikers Only
Permits: Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry To Some Snowy Spots
Hiking With: Linna Freeman

My wife Linna convinced me to wake up 4:00 a.m. and drive back to the Leavenworth, Washington area for our third straight weekend to hike the Snow Lakes goo.gl/JfnpaA. This hike was actually discourage from a few of my wife’s friends, but the Seattle area was forecasting rain and the Leavenworth area was looking sunny and we were looking for a long hike to test our legs for an upcoming Rim to Rim hike in September at the Grand Canyon.

We had a beautiful sunny day to hike the long valley to the lakes. On the descent, it seemed the trail would never end….our legs were like noodles.

Mailbox Peak Hike, April 2016

Mailbox Peak
Date: April 1, 2016
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 Miles / 12 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 Meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry to Snow Packed On Top
Hiking With: My wonder dog Macho

I am not sure what draws me back to the Mailbox goo.gl/g3sZMt …is it the pain and torture that this hike brings upon me or is it the feeling of complete accomplishment when I finally reach the summit. This is my second time this year that I had my picture taken with the famous Mailbox and I am sure I will see this peak a few more times before the year is up.

My wonderdog Macho accompanied on this ruthless march to the top via the old route and then took advantage of the longer trail down…a little easier on my old knees. I made it to the Mailbox in 1 hour and 41 minutes, but took my time descending the long route in 2 hours and 41 minutes.

I am always dumbfounded how many new people attempt to reach the mailbox now because of the new easier (longer) route. On my descent the only people I met was first-timers to Mailbox Peak, I bet most of these people have no clue about the old route. The new route is mind-numbing and tiresome, no way would I utilize this new trail hiking up.

Mailbox Peak Hike, January 2016

Mailbox Peak
Date: January 16, 2016
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 Miles / 12 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 Meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Wet to Snow Packed
Hiking With: My wonder dog Macho.

I chose a nasty winter day to hike Mailbox Peak for the first time in 2016, but I was needing an ass kicking hike without avalanche endangerment. After reading a trip report the day before I was a bit hesitant when I reach the open field of boulders and it was spitting snow and ice. I met a couple of guys coming down the summit and they gave me thumbs up on avalanche conditions. So I continued my ascent in blizzard like conditions with my wonder dog Macho.

Macho and I were the second group to summit and I took my first mailbox picture for the year. There were two other groups coming up when I was descending down, they too came up the old steep route.

I took the new long route down crossing paths of many ill equipped hikers coming up, including a guy wearing a pair of running shoes and shorts. He had no traction devices, poles or even a backpack on his back for dry clothes. I would say the 10 or so people coming up the new long route didn’t make the summit. Most all bonafide hikers or hikers that have summited Mailbox Peak before will always ascend the short steep route.

Mailbox Peak Hike, August 2015

Mailbox Peak
Date: August 7, 2015
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 Miles / 12 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 Meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Maxime Tissier and my wonder dog Macho.

This was the third time this year I conquered the famous mailbox peak, but this time I invited a newbie on this heart pounding steep hike. My new recruit was Maxime Tissier, a young French man visiting here on a college exchange student program.

Currently the road to Mailbox is undergoing major road work so the trail doesn’t open up until noon on Fridays. We started up the old steep trail around 12:30 and made good time passing all the people that started before us. We were the first ones to the top so we had the Mailbox to ourselves. After a few pictures and some lunch we headed down the long dreaded 5 mile “easy” route down.

Since traffic back to Seattle was horrendous, we made a pit stop at the North Bend Bar & Grille for a couple of Mac-n-Jacks. Once we made it through traffic and back home, a quick shower was in order. My wife Linna, Maxine and I drove to our favorite Korean restaurant Miraks in Federal Way, Washington for some delicious Korean BBQ.

Mailbox Peak Hike, April 2015

Mailbox Peak
Date: April 24, 2015
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 Miles / 12 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 Meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Wet to Snow-packed
Hiking With: Sam Elder, Rick Massie & my dog Macho

The last time I hiked up Mailbox Peak goo.gl/y3ANNn was pretty much the same conditions, wet with blowing sleet on top. Today’s hike actually turned out better than the forecast which was calling for rain all day. We started around 8:00 a.m. on the old steep trail with cloudy skies, but no rain until we hit the top and it started sleeting some.

I invited my friend Sam Elder to join Rick Massie and myself on this brutalizing journey to the famous Mailbox Peak 34 miles East of Seattle. Sam hasn’t hiked in a couple of years and he had no idea what he was getting himself into, but he made it to the summit with only a few hesitations along the way.

Right before we started up the last steep part out in the open we changed out into dry shirts and left our backpacks behind for a quicker scramble to the mailbox. After a few pictures we descended down the new long 5 mile route. I have now descended twice on the new trail and again it just feels forever, but it still trumps the knee pounding old steep trail.

Mailbox Peak Hike, December 2014

Mailbox Peak
Date: December 27, 2014
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 7.5 Miles / 12 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet / 1,219 Meters
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Wet to Snow-packed
Hiking With: Paul Bates, Carl Brandt, Gustav Brandt, Mike Curry, Emelie Espling and Rick Massie

My friend Emelie Espling had two friends from Sweden visiting and I thought I would introduce them to the thigh pounding Mailbox Peak. The last time I hiked the Mailbox goo.gl/y3ANNn was a year ago August with Rick Massie so I was past due for some grueling physical exertion. Our group consisted of Paul Bates, Mike Curry, Emelie Espling, Rick Massie, Carl and Gustav Brandt from Sweden.

The new trail wasn’t open the last time I was here so I was looking forward to the new 5 mile trail on the descent to save on the knees. The young men from Sweden was quick to take off and we eventually saw them again about 100 yards from the Mailbox on their descent. The last 1000 feet of elevation was snow packed with blizzard like conditions on the final push to the summit.

Kudos to the many WTA volunteers that constructed the new 5 mile route to the top, but after seeing the many ill equipped “tourist” hikers in their running shoes I think Mailbox Peak will see more rescues. The majority people that came up the new easy route didn’t have the proper gear to summit this intimidating peak and only putting themselves and others at risk. I first started hiking Mailbox Peak 13 years ago when there was only a toothbrush marking the trailhead; you only came across bonafide hikers and many climbers training for Mount Rainier, sadly WTA has created another Mt. Si.

Our group took the new longer route down which was nice on the legs but it seemed to go on forever! We ended our hike in a heavy downpour and eventually found ourselves at the North Bend Bar & Grill for cold beers and warm grub.

Mount Teneriffe, August 2014

Mount Teneriffe
Date: August 22, 2013
Difficulty: 8 out of 10
Distance: 11 miles / 17.7 Kilometers roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,840 feet / 1170 meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Exit 32, I-90 Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Rick Massie

I was looking for a tough hike and Mount Teneriffe fulfilled the mission. Rick Massie and I took the Kamikaze Falls route and then followed the ridgeline to the summit. This is not an easy hike for anyone…you either hike the 11 mile route we did or the lengthy 14 mile logging road both coming out with 3,800 feet elevation gain.

It took 3 hours to make it to the summit, but as always it was well worth it. We got to enjoy the summit and the 360 degree views by ourselves. We descended via the logging road and ended our day at Local…a West Seattle neighborhood tavern in Seattle.

Mount St Helens Hike, May 2014

Mount St Helens
Date: May 28, 2014
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 10.8 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 5,700 feet
Time: 8 to 10 hours
Location: Near Cougar, Washington
Users Group: Hikers Only
Permits: Permit Fee Required (100 per day)
Trail Conditions: Damp to Snow Pack
Hiking With: Dr. Robert McElroy & Dr. Adrian Hillyer

Dr. Robert McElroy was kindly nice enough to ask me to join him and Dr. Adrian Hillyer to climb Mount St. Helen in the middle of the week. Since I have never attempted to summit this mountain, I said to myself….”oh hell yes!”. Our climbing permit was for Wednesday so we drove down to Cougar, Washington on Tuesday afternoon and pitched our tents at Marble Mountain Snow Park just South of the base of Mount St. Helens. I jumped into my sleeping bag at 8:45 p.m. with my earplugs in and was fast asleep with a little help from one Advil PM.

We woke at 3:00 a.m. and the first thing I did was boil water for tea and for my Mountain House freeze dried beef stroganoff. After packing up the tents and everything else back in the car we took off on the Worm Flows Route in a light rain. The first couple of miles were fairly easy with mild elevation gain. As soon as we hit the snow the elevation became steeper and the heart rate and breathing increased. At times you were digging in with your toes heading straight up.

After 5 hours of grueling fun we made it to the crater rim with no visibility. As we were gearing up for the descent we had a couple of minutes of a sunbreak and were able to see the new dome…totally cool. We tried to glissade as mush as possible but the snow was getting softer later in the day, it still helped quite a bit and we made it back to the car in 3 hours.

Mt. Teneriffe Hike, September 2013

Mt. Teneriffe
Date: September 13, 2013
Difficulty: 8 out of 10
Distance: 11 miles / 17.7 Kilometers roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 3,840 feet / 1170 meters
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Location: Exit 32, I-90 Near North Bend, Washington
Users Group: Hikers & Dogs Only
Permits: No Permit Required
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Rick Massie and my wonder dog Macho.

Last weekend I was telling my hiking group that the clouds would burn off during our Gothic Basin hike…it never did; I found myself telling the same story on our way to Mt. Teneriffe. Again, the clouds never did burn off, but it was a low cloud bank so we were lucky enough to ascend above the clouds to reach blue skies and fabulous views goo.gl/89vmgq.

Rick Massie and I took the waterfall route instead of the long tedious seven mile logging road up. This was the first time I have seen waterfall without water, I guess the dry warm summer took its toll. We didn’t see any mountain goats along the ridge, maybe Macho the dog wonder scared them off.

We stayed on top long enough to enjoy the views, scarf down a sandwich and change into dry socks and shirt. We took the logging road down and ended our day at the North Bend Bar & Grill.