Tiger 3-2-1 Loop

A dark foggy day and I was off for another hike on Tiger Mountain. First off, there is no snow left on West Tiger peaks. Though the Doppler showed no rain anywhere in the area it was raining when I arrived at the Chirico trailhead at 9:15 am. The drizzle kept falling for about an hour but was light enough that I never took out my umbrella. The parking lot three quarters full already. Going up I passed several slower groups and saw a number of people heading down. It took me 50 minutes to reach upper Poo Poo Point. Squak Mountain was partly lost in the clouds. Issaquah below as entirely out of sight. I hoped on my way down later in the day the clouds would burn off and I'd have some views.

I headed on to the West Tiger Railroad Grade and the junction with the Poo Poo Point Trail. I headed uphill on the One View Trail. I passed one other couple along here. The misty clouds provided an eerie feeling to the forest. At the Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT)  junction I turned left and headed north. The drizzle stopped and I even had a few short patches of sun. They did not last long. The TMT climbed to its high point of 2600' at Manning's Reach then dropped passing the Seattle View Trail and then reaching the Cable Line Trail. I turned left and headed towards Tiger 3. As I neared the summit I could hear quite a ruckus. The last climb brought me to the summit and a big crowd. I tried to count all the people and came up with about 55 others.

I have hiked Tiger 3 for 31 years and have never seen such a big crowd. My stay was short. I headed back down the Cable Line and headed for Tiger 2. The clouds were even thicker near the summits. On top of Tiger 2 the visibility was minimal. I could see the top of the tower though barely. It was noon and time for lunch. The temperature was 39 degrees but there was no wind at all. After lunch I headed down the road. Just past the gate I headed up the very steep road to Tiger 1. The clouds were so thick I could only see a short way ahead. The Hikers Hut came into view but I could not see any of the towers above. Again, no wind. I took a short break and had no need to use the hut. The Poo Top Ridge a short way  to the south was completely invisible. I expected at least a little snow at 2800' but there was none.

I took the Bypass Trail and even in the shady forest there was no snow. The mist made it dark in the forest at 12:30 pm. Soon I took the short climb to the top of Tiger 1. I passed a group of four on the Bypass Trail and found two more atop Tiger 1 who took a wrong turn. I sent them off to meet their friends. The Poo Top Trail was easy enough to descend with no snow and almost no mud. Much easier than I expected. I crossed the road and continued on the Hidden Forest Trail. That brought me to the TMT and a short hike to the north and I closed the loop. Now it was just down the route I had come up earlier. Other than the big group on Tiger 3 I had not seen many folks. Another day of mostly solitude on a very popular mountain.

Back at Poo Poo Point I found a few surprises. First it was even cloudier than it had been in the morning. Now I could not see any of Squak Mountain. Surprise two was all the para sailors. many para sails were laid out on the ground. There was no wind at all. There were definitely no thermals. Visibility was minimal. You must be seriously devoted to it to be out trying on this day. In terms of hiking I can relate to them. I spent about 20 minutes watching along with a number of other hikers.

After that it was time to go. The trip down was fast though the trail is narrow in many places and passing slower hikers is difficult. Everyone was courteous and I managed to work my way through the crowds. All the rock steps are hard on knees. This is an efficient way to access the peaks above but it is far from my favorite trail. 4000' of steep trail descent is easier on my knees than 1000' on the Chirico Trail. There were a few small cracks in the overcast as I reached the bottom. Better than the drizzle I had at the start.

For the day I hiked a little over 10 miles with about 3600' of gain. Pretty good numbers for such a close in mountain. Lots of people on Tiger 3 and lots of folks the last two miles coming down the Chirico Trail. Very few people on the other 8 miles of trails. Even with the morning drizzle it was a fine day on the trail.

Wet & Misty
Many Rock Steps
Hikers Ahead
Damp Old Road
Lower Poo Poo Pt.
Upper Poo Poo Pt.
Lone Hiker
Old Stump
Mossy Arch
TMT Junction
Tiger 3 Crowd
Tiger 2 Tower
Tiger 1 In Mist
Tiger 1 View
Bypass Trail
Mossy Poo Top
Steep Drop
Last Leaves
More Moss
Shades Of Green
Trail Under Arch
Para Sailors At Poo Poo
Hanging Ferns
Squak & Cougar Mts. In The Mist
Nice Colors
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2013