My first hike back in the Pacific Northwest since holiday was a doozy. One of my friends and I chose Mount Teneriffe, thinking it was between 10 and 12 miles long. However, neither of us bothered to read the WTA page for the hike beforehand, and it turned out to be 14 miles with almost 3000 feet of elevation gain, including an extremely steep last half mile to reach the peak. After being at near sea level for two weeks straight with no hikes over 8 miles (and those hikes not on completely solid ground) I was definitely feeling the burn.
The trail is rather straight forward for most of the distance. After about a mile up the trail there is a turn off for Teneriffe/Kamikaze Falls, which I hiked back in March. Stay left on the main logging road, and four miles later there will be another turnoff to the left, this one leading to Mount Si. Another half mile and you reach the saddle and get some great views to the north. Someone had built rock arrows on the ground, which directed us up a rubble slope. We decided these had to be correct, which turned out to be true.
This VERY STEEP logging road ended abruptly, which we felt was extremely odd. There was no indication of where to go, but after a brief period of exploring the surrounding forest we stumbled on the footpath. It turns out there was a large branch pointing the way, but we hardly noticed it until the return trip.
The next section of the trail dodges through trees, slowly gaining in elevation before quickly loosing it, just to rocket back up an incline to the summit.
I took it slow on the last section, but as soon as I hit granite I gained a burst of energy and bounded to the top. Mount Si and its surrounding peaks were there waiting to meet me.
The views were spectacular! 360° of clear skies with light fluffy clouds and a slight breeze were all the incentive we needed to relax for two hours and contemplate life among the wildflowers.
To the west were the higher peaks of the Cascade Range, including the Middle Fork Valley. Currently the road into the valley is being paved, but come next year a whole new trove of trails will be open. I can’t wait for that day after seeing what landscapes lie out there.
I already mentioned the flowers, but there were also loads of insects transporting pollen around as well as birds swooping above collecting any stragglers pushed to high by the winds. After animals get used to your presence it’s amazing what you can see.
One of the last things I noticed before heading back down the mountain was the towers of downtown Seattle and Bellevue rising just above one of the easterly knolls. The space needle is barely visible at the centre of the picture, above the highest point of the hill.
It was a perfect day for a long hike just outside of the metro area, but I’m looking forward to a true alpine hike next weekend.
Photos taken 7 June, 2014 with a Nikon D7100