Mount Dickerman is one of my favorite
fall hikes. The summit has great views of the northwest Cascades. After the
first snow of the season the trailhead usually is still snow free and the
trail can still be followed. This year I had a free day before the snow fell.
It was the first time in the last 6 or 7 years that I saw dirt in the last
mile of the trail. The day was foggy in Seattle and I hoped that going
east would help. The ride out was dark and foggy through Verlot but by Red
Bridge the sky was blue. I reached the trailhead at 8:15 and was surprised
to see that the lot was nearly full. A group of 8-10 kids were getting ready
to go and I hurried to get my boots on and get out ahead of them. I succeeded
and had the trail to myself. The trail was in great shape. The switchbacks
were just as long as I remembered. The creek/waterfall was nearly dry. On
most fall trips the snow covers the ground by this point. I had forgotten
about the gravel and steps. I hate gravel and I hate steps. That section
was the worst part of the whole trip. There was still a little fall color
but it was definitely past the peak. I passed one hiker coming down. He must
have started out in the dark. By the last section in the open the sky was
blue and Big Four, Vesper , and Sperry were clearly seen to the south.
When I reached the top I was not alone. A group of 3
and a lone hiker were on the summit. Baker and Shuksan were crystal clear
to the north. Three Fingers and Whitehorse were open to the west. Mt. Pilchuck
was poking out of the clouds. It was nice to be in the mountains with sunshine
while the whole Puget Sound Basin was clouded in. It felt warm in the sun
and I looked at my thermometer. I was very surprised to see that it was 38
degrees. It was unusual to have no wind on top. I spent a long hour and a
half on top. I didn't want to have to go back into the clouds but eventually
I had to leave. The arrival of the hordes of kids was the spur to get me
moving. The trip down was very nice. In the first mile I passed more than
a dozen hikers coming up then I had the trail to myself again.
After so many snow trips on Dickerman it was nice to
hike all the way on dirt. I still like the view of all the peaks with a fresh
coat of snow but sitting in the sun was nice too. Next year I'll wait to
mid November and hike back up in the snow.