I completed my self-imposed (albeit slightly modified) hiking goal for the end of the summer. It feels good to finally set some type of goal, hiking or otherwise, and actually complete it. My hiking goals over the past few years have always seemed to dwindle and conveniently end up lost in some other ambition during the summer months. From August 3, 2019 to Sept 6, 2019 I hiked 17 individual hikes “Day hikes” along I-90 from Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass. My total mileage was 107.2 miles and combined elevation gain was 40,600 feet. A few of the hikes were combined into one long hike (e.g. Mt Si and Teneriffe ).
—Longest one day hike- Mt Si / Teneriffe combined- 13.4 miles.
—Shortest one day hike- Either Cedar Butte or Rattlesnake ledge – both around 2.8 miles round trip. I did both in the same day.
—Most Elevation – Mailbox peak 4600 feet – (official record has it at 4100 ft)
—Least elevation – Probably a walk around Taylor Forest near the bottom of the west side of Tiger Mountain.
—Least interesting – Taylor Forest
—Most interesting – There are several to choose from, but Harry’s balcony and peak had some of the best views of the I-90 corridor. The peak is a shear drop off about 1500-2000 feet off the back side with a great view to the north of Granite lakes and beyond. The hike from Dirty Harry’s balcony to the peak is long, steep and uninteresting.
Most crowded – Rattlesnake ledge ridiculously packed with people on the trail. Little doggie poo bags littered the sides of the trail. I won’t be going back there again. Then the cringe factor of watching people walk out onto the trip-hazard-rock for that perfect selfie– it’s inconceivable (“you keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means” Princes Bride). There is even a little memorial (or reminder) at the beginning of the hike for some poor person that was killed on the hike. I believe he fell from the ledge/rock.
Here are the pictures of the hikes. I tried to put them in the order I completed them….
Squak mountain- If you drive between Renton and Issaquah the back way (SR 900), you’ve probably passed the trailhead. The fireplace is what’s left of a weekend retreat that Charles Bullitt build in 1952. The Bullitt family owned 590 acres on Squak mountain and eventually donated it to King County parks with the caveat that no motor vehicles could ever be used on the property.
The top of Squak Mtn is used as a communications relay-thus the large towers of electronic looking thingies. …and the last pic says “Old Griz trail” so who doesn’t like things that are named after an animal that’s at the top of the food chain. Grrrrrr.
This was a hike to the top of Shriners peak east of Mt Rainier. It was outside of the I-90 corridor (obviously), but here are a couple of action shots.
Rattlesnake ledge…people risking death at the edge. I don’t get it. I always picture myself doing a little stumble on the rock and off I go. The view is the same back here on the dirt. The second picture is to the north, the first picture (with rock) is facing to the east.
Cedar Butte- This is a short trail just east of Rattlesnake ledge along the John Wayne Trail. Not much of a view, but the hike was nice—as in not crowded. On the rattlesnake ledge trail I counted around 200 people. On this hike, 1. Just me.
Little Si. If you drive to North Bend and notice a little hill in front of (to the south) of Mt Si, you’re looking at Little Si. It has some great rock climbing routes along the trail. the last picture is a picture of Big Si from the top of Little Si.
Big Mt Si and Mt Teneriffe combined hike–This was my longest day (13.4 miles). The second to last picture is a picture of Mailbox peak from the top of Mt Teneriffe.
Thompson Lake- Apparently the boat has a hole in the bottom of it. I spoke to “Jim” a guy I met on the Mt Defiance trail and he said that he stocks this lake with trout (he volunteers with the dept of fish and game), and was surprised when I told him I only caught a 2.5 inch trout.
The above three pictures are of Mt Washington- This is on the south side of I-90 across from Mt Si. It comes complete with it’s own weather station. Last picture is of Mt Si, exit 34 off I-90 and North Bend on the very left side of the picture.
The above three pics are of Mailbox peak. The mailbox is full of “meaningful” garbage. That’s cynical, I know, but it’s almost time to throw all the words of wisdom out and start over again. The last picture is of the new-new trail up and across the boulder field. It’s a great improvement from the root infested path that went around the other side. At the top of this portion of the path, which is to say the last 1/3 mile of the trail, is still a steep and dangerous mess. It’s apparently the most popular trail in the area. I believe Rattlesnake ledge takes top honors, but they’re not even in the same league. Mailbox is 4600 feet of elevation gain, and rattlesnake is around 1500ft or less.
The above 5 pictures are of my combined Bandera Mountain, Mt Defiance, and almost Putrid Pete peak hike. I started the day early and made it to the top of Bandera Mtn quickly. I met some other hikers who told me that Mt Defiance was only another 4 or so miles down the trail, so I went with option B and decided to go for Mt Defiance too. Before making it to Mt Defiance other hikers said I should make it a complete loop and go to Putrid Pete’s peak and loop back to the car. I decided to choose option C and do the loop. After taking the wrong trail for about a mile, I finally found the “path” to Putrid Pete’s. The path continued along a mildly sketchy ridge until I found myself looking at a really steep peak hike…that was enough. I turned around and found myself choosing option D (which resembled option B, with another 3-4 miles extra). The below picture is of Putrid Pete’s peak. I made it to about 200 feet or so before the peak.
The above 4 photos are of my hike up Dirty Harry’s balcony and peak. The balcony is a few miles up the trail, and the peak takes another 2 hours of up, up, up. Apparently there is a foreclosure of some sort on the land near the top and there is to be an auction at the King County courthouse in December. The picture from the top of Dirty Harrys peak is a bit deceiving. That’s a large lake below with large trees around it…it looks like grass or shrubs.
The above three photos are of my last I-90 hikes for the year, Mt Catherine. It’s a bumpy, four mile drive to the trailhead, and then a short 1.5 miles to the top. The peak is actually over Snoqualmie pass, but I figured it was a good hike to end the year on. Also, when I finished I could drive back to the top of the pass and have a victory meal and beer at the Commonwealth restaurant.
That’s it for my I-90 challenge. I’ll have to think up a new challenge before the snow starts.