Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hike of the Week : Mount Washington, Snoqualmie Style

Last weekend our training scheduled called for a long hike -- 4.5 hours. Neither of us wanted to make a long day of it, so I spotted a hike up Mount Washington in the I-90 corridor that wouldn't take hours to get to. Thanks for the good folks at, we had excellent trail descriptions and never felt lost along the way.

The parking lot already had several cars in it at 7am, but we didn't see a lot of people on our way up the trail. We spotted the trailhead for John Wayne / Twin Falls, and noticed that someone had helpfully scribbled a small "MT WA" as well.

We climbed a short spur from the parking lot, popping out on a gravel logging road, and eventually intersecting with the Iron Horse Trail. Luckily I knew to look out for "a small rock cairn", because otherwise I don't think I would have noticed this trail!

small cairn, small trail
 But we were headed in the right direction and started climbing.

And climbing.

Eventually we came to the climbing wall mentioned in the trail guide, just short of a mile from the trailhead...

... complete with anchors in the overhang. Hello, hammock?

And then more climbing through the forest. The morning was hot, so the shade was welcome!

A lot of the trail surface looked like this -- big clunky loose rock, the sort of rock I associate with railroad tracks. Not particularly pleasant to go up or down. But, hey, no mud!

We could still hear the traffic noise from I-90 really clearly, and the occasional view just revealed ... the highway.

Finally we came to the first "official" marker ... which I suspect is an unofficial replacement. But, hey, it works. Veer right for MT. WA. Veer left for Bob's. Or is it Boobs?

A little while longer and we came to an area called "Owl Hike Spot" (no, I don't know either...), which allows a glimpse of Rattlesnake Ledge to the north.

the bare rock in the distance is the different levels of Rattlesnake Ledge
Up and up we went --- though the trail was smoother and less steep here. Not sure how long these big fellas have been here -- much more recent than the other boulders -- so we moved quickly through this stretch.

Hey, look, another trail sign!

One small creek crossing (we stayed dry without much effort):

And then we came through a mixed section with a scree field, a wildflower meadow, and a marsh, all one right after the other.

 We were a little surprised to see this sign, but it was useful to keep us on track:

And then we came to a gate that I assume marked the boundary between public land and the Cedar River Watershed ... maybe?

Another mile or so, where we passed only the 5th and 6th people we'd seen all morning, and we got our first glimpse of our payoff:

A tiny bit further and we were at the top of Mount Washington. Yeah, we bagged a peak today. (ha ha ha).

Here's Wil admiring the view:

 I just love seeing Rainier, Chester Morse Lake and Masonry Pool (part of the Cedar River Watershed, which supplies Seattle with drinking water!_) and all this blue sky. 

Oh, and civilization down there. Is that Issaquah? Sammamish?

There were a lot of bugs at the top, and it was hot, and, well, we turned back relatively quickly. 

Wil picking his way down the trail:

Back on to public land, 2.8 miles to go...

This was a long hike -- we were hiking for over 5 hours in total. I managed to turn an ankle pretty badly on the loose rock, but we moved along pretty quickly. We did see a lot of people heading up on our way down, and were amused that a lot of them were part of a large Chinese hiking group.

Back at the trailhead there were a lot of cars, but still some parking spaces. This wasn't necessarily a hike I would do again; but it was a good training hike. 

Mount Washington
8.7 miles
3333 ft elevation gain

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