The trail starts at about 1000m, in the the forest, and winds gently up to the peaks with the occasional breaks in the canopy, most spectacularly with a huge section of flattened trees, crushed and swept down the hillside by an avalanche.
On the way up there were berries growing, some I recognised and some I didn’t. I ate the ones I did. I’m still here, so I guess I was right. They looked like bilberries, tasted like bilberries and stained my fingers like bilberries, they must be… huckleberries.
The path opened up to spectacular views over the local peaks in the Cascades, including Red Mountain and south to Rainier, looking unfathomably big as usual.
Again the GPS struggled to keep a lock in the dense trees and steep valleys, but when it did lock on, it provided proof that we were at possibly the highest altitude I’ve ever walked at. The route ends at a high point of about 1660m, some 5000ft or more. There were no clouds and it was really hot up there. There were still some patches of snow on the northern faces, however. We didn’t hang around too long after lunch at the turn-around point and tramped off through the alpine meadows back into the cool shade of the forest. It seemed a longer trudge down than up, perhaps because the only thing at the end was having to drive home, tired.
Six and a half hours, 18km; a good day out.
See all the pictures in the gallery.