Grand Canyon-Middle Tiger Loop

     It was time for another Wednesday evening after work hike with the folks from Boeing. Tonight's group consisted of Gary Westerlund, David Holm, David Gan, and me. We began by hiking to the Grand Canyon of  Fifteen Mile Creek trailhead. This would be the first of two rest areas complete with rest rooms. The Grand Canyon trail was a little muddy and became more and more overgrown the farther up we went. Some brushing is in order. The creek had as much water as I have seen here. Near the end of the trail we headed steeply up the connector way trail to the Hobart RR grade. This route is easy to follow. It is slick and muddy in the beginning but get much better. It is much easier to go up than down. With our loop trip we would not have to descend it. Although the day was gray and overcast and it had rained the night before, the brush was not wet. When we reached the Hobart grade the trail improved a great deal. We turned to the left and kept moving up the valley of Fifteen Mile Creek. The turnoff for the Hobart-TMT connector trail is very easy to miss. There is a big stump and a small sign but low hanging branches make it easy to miss the trail. This was only my second time on the Hobart grade but Gary has done it more and knew where the connection was. The connector trail was in good shape with one exception. A big tree has fallen across the trail hidden a stretch of it. Proceeding straight up the hillside will bring you back on the trail. The rest of the way to the TMT was a breeze.

     After a quick water break at the TMT (Tiger Mountain Trail) we turned to the left and headed towards the end of the Fifteen Mile Creek valley. In only 7/10 of a mile we crossed the creek on the Charles Custer bridge and shortly met up with the trail to the Tiger Mountain Road. This short connector comes out at the Paw Print rest area. This was just about the mid point on our journey. We used the picnic table for a food and water break and reviewed the map to see where we had been. The next segment from Paw Print to Middle Tiger Mountain is nearly all on road. We dropped down a bit then began to climb. After about a mile the gated road heading up Middle Tiger came in on the right. This road normally gives some of the best views. We could see downtown Seattle and Puget Sound but could not see the top of Tiger 1 although it was only a few miles away. The clouds were now down to near the top of Middle Tiger. At the end of the road we picked up the Middle Tiger trail. It is a short steep climb to the top. The side we climbed was clear but the other side was totally in the clouds. Visibility was hazy on the descent. This was the second time in 4 days I had descended this trail down Middle Tiger. In half a mile we intersected the TMT. From there it was another mile down to the West Side Road. The trail down was in good condition. Just before reaching the road we intersected the Hobart RR Grade. The last part was a road walk back to the cars. It was nice to hike a different part of Tiger Mountain. We saw a total of one person on the trip and that was not far from the start. The totals on the day were 7 miles and 2000' gained.