was among the wettest months on record. Early snow all melted. Mid-week
we managed to get in an after work headlamp umbrella hike. No snow
right at Grand Prospect (3100'). There was just a little there.
Saturday was rain all day and snow in the mountains. On Sunday I was
ready to get out in the snow but without too much deep fresh snow. I
also wanted to avoid crowds on the popular trails. I chose another trip
to East Tiger Mountain. The trailhead is near 1400' and the summit is
at 3000'. I have done a lot of trip to East Tiger during the pandemic
as the wide road is safe and the trails up are not crowded in the early
morning. This day the morning was sub freezing and I did not get on the
road until. 7:40 am. I arrived at the inner Tiger Summit Trailhead at
8:20 am. Almost no snow there. Only about a dozen or less cars in the
lot. I was on my way by 8:25 am. There were no people at the parking
lot. There were no people on the trail. I saw nobody all the way up
It was 30 degrees at the start. The bridge on the Connector Trail had
snow and ice on it. The trail in forest was bare. I followed the
Connector Trail to the main road and crossed it onto the NW Timber
Trail. A short way along I turned off left uphill on the Master Link.
Since this is bikes only uphill but hikers in both directions I do not
have to worry about speeding bikes coming down. Some bikers are early
but most seem to arrive later than me. That gives me a chance to get
well up the trail before seeing anyone. This day it worked perfectly.
As I climbed I began to see fresh snow. First on the brush and soon
after on the trail. Bikes had been going up it yesterday in the snow.
The tracks were very clear. I usually do not post a report with photos
for East Tiger Mountain. With the fresh snow it was really very
beautiful. I took quite a few photos on the way up. By the time I
reached the big bridge the snow was an inch or two deep. Not enough to
slow me down much but enough to cover the trail.
As I neared the upper road I kept expecting some bikers to pass me. It
did not happen. The road it self had 3 or more inches of snow. I
crossed and continued on the Quick Link Trail. I was making good but
not great time. I had plenty of time before dark so fast was not
necessary. The Quick Link deposited me back on the main upper road.
There were a few bike tracks and a few walker tracks. No trench was yet
in place. The trees along the road were really snow plastered. A short
climb brought me to the high point and then a short drop down to the
junction below the summit. I went right on the summit spur road. The
snow was still only 3-4 inches deep. I passed the open gate and went
left to the viewpoint. Lots of snow on the picnic tables. There was a
clear view of Mt. Rainier. Largely cloudy overhead but great views out
including the summit of Rainier. I headed back to the road. I almost
always walk up the road to the summit. There is a new bike trail that
is one way only uphill. Near the top it is a narrow cut in a very steep
hillside and there is barely room for a bike and hiker to get by each
other. That is why I avoid it usually. I was feeling lucky and hoped I
could hike up it without a bike catching up with me.
I reached the top with no bikes in sight. It is unusual to be on top on
a dry day without anyone else. Bikers are coming and going constantly.
Not this morning. I arrived on top at 10:21 am. Nearly two hours is a
very slow time for me. Considering I had my winter weight pack and high
top boots and the snow and many photos it was not all that bad. I had
almost as good a view of Mt. Rainier as I had at the lower viewpoint.
In places below fog sat in valleys. In most places it was clear. I had
a little blue sky coming up but it was mostly cloudy now. A little
food, water, and photos and I packed up and started down at 10:36 am.
That was my only break the whole day. By now I had decided to go down
the Off The Grid Trail (OTG). It would be about a 10 miles loop on less
traveled trails. That distance might get painful on a foot suffering
from plantar fasciitis but it was too nice a day for a short trip.
I was thinking how lucky I had been to hike over 4 miles and not see a
single person when I saw a lone biker at the junction with the OTG
Trail. There were three of his friends also coming up. I did not see
them. The road had no recent bike tracks so they had been slogging up
in abut 4" of fluffy snow. I turned off on the East Tiger Trail and in
a few minutes left that for the OTG. The trail has a number of short
jumps that require the hiker to jump or carefully climb down a few
steep feet. With the snow it was more challenging. I managed to slip
and slide and remain vertical the whole time. Where the OTG is right
below the Quick Link Trail I stopped. I looked at the map and saw I
would get a little more elevation and distance by heading to the QL. I
would also exchange the many short jumps on the OTG for a smooth trail
then a smooth road to get down to the end of the OTG. The cross country
part was easy and I was on the QL very quickly. What I found was not
part of the plan. In 7 minutes on the QL I passed 11 bikers and 1
hiker. The crowds had arrived.
I was glad to reach the upper road. I left the crowds and headed down
the snow covered road. One biker had tried to ride down in the snow
with mixed results. Every few dozen feet the track stopped and
footprints appeared. The biker kept stopping. I had no such problem.
The road had enough snow to cushion my steps but it was not slick. Much
better than walking the dirt and gravel road. The road has big
evergreen trees along both sides and some smaller deciduous trees with
fare limbs. Everything was covered in fresh snow. It was
about as good at Tiger Mountain can look. I took a number of photos and
short videos along here. Farther down I was very surprised to see two
bikers slogging up the steep road in the snow. They were barely going
fast enough to stay upright but doggedly determined to keep heading up.
Now I was up to 15 people seen. Where the OTG reached the road I turned
right on the Joy Ride Trail. This trail has a few OTG like jumps and
some very smooth tread. It is narrower than most of the trails. As I
continued to descend in forest the snow began to thin. In its place was
bare ground and quite a few small to medium sized mud puddles.
I had on my high top waterproof boots so it was not a problem.
I seldom see more than a few folks on this trail. It is the last mile
or so of the NW Timber trail where I start to see folks. This day the
lower Joy Ride had half a dozen groups passing by me. I was glad to
reach the NW Timber Trail. A gentle uphill then flat back to the
trailhead. At the 7 mile mark on this trip I reached my goal for a very
good hiking year. I reached 800 miles on the trail. My other goal is
200,000' of elevation gain. I reached that on the way up East Tiger in
the morning. I don't recall reaching both goals on the same hike.
I as running out of gas when I reached the Connector Trail. Just .30
miles to go. Looking at my gps I realized that I needed another .6
miles to reach 11 for the day. Though My sore heel was not excited my
brain took over and I headed .30 miles up the Iverson Railroad Trail to
round out my day. I finally reached my car at 1:40 pm. The lot was
nearly full now. Though the traffic map on my phone showed bad traffic
in downtown Seattle my drive home was smooth and fast.
This was a great hike. It was cold but not frigid. There was no wind
all day long. I hiked over 4 miles before seeing a single person. If I
had not detoured to the QL coming back I likely would have seen 14
people instead of 26. Still, 26 people over 5 hours is not crowded.
is five minutes on the Mt. Si Trail. The snow was deep enough to really
cover everything but not to impede my hiking. I brought microspikes but
never needed them. Great conditions and a really beautiful hike on
Tiger Mountain. All that, and I reached both my mileage and elevation
goals for the year. A really fun day on the trail.
Click on thumbnails to get
Snow Begins On Trail
Nearing Big Bridge
Big Green Erratic
Lit Up Tree
Quick Link View
On Main Road
South Tiger Mountain
Snow On Table
Snowy Power Link Trail
Rainier From Summit
Fog In Valleys
More Snow On Summit
On OTG Trail
A Few Tire Tracks
3.1 Miles To Go
West Rattlesnake Mt.