East Rattlesnake Mountain

Rain and lots of wind the day before. I chose a close in hike with a chance to get above the 2500' snow level. Daylight saving time started this day. I enjoyed the extra hour of sleep and still made it out of the house by 7:10 am. It was clear in Seattle but overcast as I drove east. At North Bend I hit a short rain squall. I arrived at the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot at 8:00 am to find it was not raining. Only a couple other cars in the paved lot. It was cold but not windy as I started out at 8:15 am. The trail to the lower ledge is always mobbed after early morning. My start allowed me to miss the crowds on the way up.

There were four trees down across the trail in the first half mile. All were step overs. The wind must have been blowing strong here the day before. A few more trees were down between the lower and upper ledges. There were none down higher up. I made steady time. It was cold enough to make a little sweating feel good. It did not take long before I was in the clouds. The grayness would last most of the rest of the day. At the lower ledge junction I took the short trek over to the viewpoint. "View" is a bit of an overstatement. As the clouds blew by I had a few looks straight down to Rattlesnake Lake. Only a few peak- a-boo looks to I don't know what. I had passed several groups already coming down as I went up. I met another group at the ledge as I was leaving.

I stopped at the upper ledge too. Not even close to being able to see the lower ledge right below me. I've done this hike many times. The misty white conditions made it seem different in a good way. Still some falls leaves and mushrooms galore as I've seen on every trip this fall. Open spots above the upper ledge had a little snow. At the old gravel pit before the first road crossing the snow covered the ground. All one inch or so of it. I did see one person coming down. The wind was still very light and no rain. At the ridge top by the summit I made the usual short walk over to the tower. Back at the bench viewpoint I had a view equal to the one from the ledges. Lots of shades of white and gray. I arrived on top at 10:10 am. It took me 1:55 to hike up 4.5 miles.

My stay on top was short. There was just enough snow to flock the trees without making it any harder to hike. My thermometer read 31 degrees. I picked up the pace coming down. The exception were all the photo stops for the many mushrooms. The misty lighting was very good. After the two road crossings and down below the gravel pit I met the first hikers coming up. There were three more groups by the time I reached the upper ledge. Some hikers but definitely not crowded.

At the upper ledge I stopped again. it was now hailing. Much better than rain. No need for a jacket. A few breaks in the clouds actually allowed me to see the lower ledge for a few seconds. It did not take long to reach the lower ledge. There were two hikers at the junction. Three more were coming up just below. Although it was only two miles down to the parking lot I decided to count the hikers I passed. 3-4-8-12-16...and soon I was in the thirties. Then the fifties. Soon the eighties. Things slowed down a lot in the last mile. I reached the pavement at 154. Even on a cold cloudy day, just a day after a big storm, the crowds were out in force. I saw very few people for the first 7 miles of my hike. The crowds for just two miles did not bother me. I was back at my car at 11:55 am. Nine miles with 2600' of gain and back down before noon.

This is a hike I make most every year. I did it early in the year on a late winter after work hike. This day it was not dark but the views were similar. A fun hike. The only precipitation was frozen. Well worth a Sunday morning.

Ledge From Parking Lot
New Trailhead Board
Lake From Ledge
Views Are Gone
Upper Ledge Views
Bright Mushrooms
Buncha Shrooms
Snow On Ground
Snow In Forest
Summit Viewpoint
Heading Down
Tower In Clouds
Flocked Trees
Dark & Bright
Interesting Mushrooms
More Shrooms
Dark Forest
Last Mushrooms
Browns Of Fall
Upper Ledge
Falling Hail
Many Greens
Lower Trail
Rainbow & Mt. Si
Cloudy Panorama From The Lower Ledge
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2013