Mt. Si via Old Trail

I have been logging my hiking trips since 1982. The destination, mileage, elevation gain, and partners. Since long before folks had personal computers. Good old paper and ink. I started slow with 92 miles the first year. Over time my pace picked up. After 21+ years I reached 10,000 miles hiked. Now, 12.5 years later I reached another big round number. This time it was 20,000 miles. I was at 19,996 after a late afternoon/evening hike on Tiger the night before. I have not done many hikes this year with over 3000' of elevation gain so I chose the old trail up Mt. Si for my destination. It is also much less crowded than the main trail. It was overcast but with no rain in the forecast. I did not get an especially early start and arrived at the Little Si Trailhead in North Bend at 8:45 am. Not that early but not that late either. The main lot was full. The overflow lot had exactly one space left. Does it always fill up this early. In years past I hiked Mt. Si most years. Now, it is mostly after work or via routes other than the main one. One benefit of the lots being full is that it was very unlikely a stream of folks would pass my by. Where would they park?

For the last day of winter it was not going to be cold. Chilly at first but warming up to around 60 degrees later on. I headed up the trail and chose to take the Boulder Garden Loop up to the Old Si Trail. It's a little longer but with a much gentler grade. I saw a few folks heading down then had a great deal of solitude the rest of the way up to the new trail junction. I must be getting old. After 2800' of gain on Tiger I was very slow this day. Slow but steady. Lots of see on the Boulder Garden Loop. Huge boulders, lots of moss, and a fun mix of old roads and new trail. After meeting the old trail the grade remained moderate for a bit. Then it changed.

I met a hiker coming down at the first straight uphill short scramble spot. Quickly the trail settled down to a good steep grade. A little steeper than the main trail but nowhere near the steepness of the nearby old route up Mailbox Peak. A good grade to gain elevation fast if your legs are not already tired. I took one break, other than for photos, to talk with a guy coming down with what he said was a 130 lb pack. I guess that's good for training but it's not something I plan to ever try. One woman zoomed by while we were talking. Those were all the hikers I saw on the old trail. Not bad at all. I had read a report from the day before mentioning ice near the top. I was prepared. Just as I reached the spot that nearly touches the new trail I saw the first snow.

The old trail goes straight up the ridge and the snow/ice soon covered most of the tread. I started seeing folks heading down here and those without traction devices were slipping and sliding. I stopped to put on microspikes. Though there were some bare spots I trudged right up the ridge with the spikes. No problems at all. At the new/old trail junction the expected crowds materialized. Lots of folks trying to get up the packed ice. I had no problems. After the snow started the wind did too. Not bad in the trees but as I came out of forest it was blowing pretty hard. I hike much of the way up with shorts and sleeves rolled up. That changed to zipped on pant legs, long sleeves, and a jacket the rest of the way.

A lot of folks stopped at the rocks. Mt. Rainier was in the clouds but nearer peaks were visible. After some photos I took off the spikes and headed up and over the bare rocks. On the other side it was hard ice again and the spikes went back on. I always go to the spot that used to have an end of trail sign on the ridge leading to the Haystack scramble. I met George there and a "hi" turned into half an hour of hiking talk. Eventually I headed up to the route to the Teneriffe Road/Trail for a view of Mt. Teneriffe. I had only gone a short way when a helicopter buzzed the summit. He came down to within 25-30' of the summit. That was unexpected. He sat there long enough to take photos then zoomed away. After the high spot I headed back down to the viewpoint looking down to North Bend. Here I met George again.

We spent another half hour talking about trails. He was heading back via the Teneriffe Road. He saw only two hikers on the way up. We both missed most of the crowds. Though there were quite a few folks near the top they were spread out and it did not seem as crowded as usual. I took a far from blistering 2:25 to reach the top. After 1.5 hours on top I headed down at about 12:50 pm. The once past the rocks the spikes stayed on until the I passed the last of the icy spots. Then it was just steep dirt the rest of the way down. This is an interesting trail to descend with tired legs. Definitely one of my slowest descents of Si at just over two hours. I reached 20,000 miles at the summit and I was in no great hurry to be done. The last day of winter and I was soon back in shorts and short sleeves.

I took the Boulder Garden Loop again. At one monstrously huge rock I found a group of climbers doing a roped climb. I guess that was true rock climbing as they were climbing one huge rock. On the loop I met a number of hikers heading up. After the Little Si junction the crowds were even thicker. By just before  3:00 pm I was back at my car. It as a nice warm sunny afternoon. 3,300' higher it was the last day of winter as I was bundled up on top. A good example of winter turning to spring. Mt. Si is a bit to busy for more than one or two visits a year, at least for me. Still, it was a nice steep climb to finish my second 10,000 miles and start my third.

First View
 Old Road/Trail
Big Boulder
Narrow Green Trail
Snowy Upper Ridge
Mt. Teneriffe View
Mailbox Peak
Bare Rocks
Icy Snow Again
George & Haystack
Helicopter At Summit
Teneriffe Close Up
Almost Sunny
Western Viewpoint
The Haystack
North Bend Below
Looking Southeast
Cloudy Mt. Rainier
Old Si Trail
Steep & Loose
Very Green Trail
Narrow Trail
Another Big Boulder
Red Currants
Yellow Violet
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2016