Suzanne planned to hike up Bandera and managed to
convince me to take a day off as well. The forecast was for sunny and in
the mid 50s. That helped me decide to come along. We were out of Seattle
by 8:10 and on the trail an hour later. Unlike the weekend crowds which have
been taking advantage of our lack of winter, there were no other cars in
the lot when we arrived. The sky was cloudless and there was no wind. Mason
Creek was running strong and I had to stop and get a photo of the falls above
the trail. The old Mason Lake Trail is slowly becoming less obvious. We soon
had some views out to the south. McClellan Butte had a little snow but very
little. At the next switchback my convertible pants legs came off. It was
only about 10:00 am and I was down to shorts and sleeves rolled up. This
was February 1st?
As the trail moved mostly out of the trees it only became warmer. We
soon had a nice view ahead to Pete's Putrid Peak and Mt. Defiance. The
south slopes of those peaks were snow free. The new Mason Lake Trail survived
the snow and rain in great shape. There was no mud or water damage to the
trail. At the next switchback the real work began. We exited the Mason Lake
Trail and began headed straight up the old Bandera Trail. It was just as
steep as I remembered it. The view was outstanding as we could see McClellan
Butte and Mt. Washington across the valley. Farther down were Rattlesnake,
Tiger, and on to Seattle. Plants are budding out, unaware that we are not
yet to the middle of winter.
When we reached the ridge top there was some honest to goodness snow.
Not much but there was a little. We could now see Mason Lake down below.
It was mostly open with some ice at each end. The backside of Defiance has
a little snow. Kaleetan Peak had some snow also. It looked like the first
of June, not February. We continued up the ridge towards the western summit.
Some snow lingered on the northern side of the ridge but again there was
not much. Not only were there no cornices, there was no snow on the top
of the ridge. A few minutes later we were on top. Just before the top there
was snow in the trees but the usual resting spot was bare. We did find
wind here and it was a bit colder than coming up but a light jacket remedied
We were there for about 30 seconds when the camp robbers arrived. They
were not discouraged by the two dogs with us. We now had a nice view of
Silver Peak, Granite Mountain, and even HiBox Mountain. All to soon it
was time to head down. It was nice to have poles on the steepest sections.
Nearing the intersection with the Mason Lake Trail we met the first hikers
of the day. In short order we passed 5 hikers coming up. Farther down were
more folks, mostly heading to the lake. The day was so nice it seemed to
be a shame to finish up so early. We were back to the car well before 2:00.
Once again the lack of snow left us with spring conditions. It was a great
day not to be at work.
**The 6th and 7th photos on page 1 and the 4th and 7th photos on page 2 were
taken by Suzanne Hartman**
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
On The Trail
Suzanne & Sadie
P Cubed & Defiance
Pete's Putrid Peak
Photo Page 2
Trips - 2005