Snoqualmie Tunnel 2

This would be a monumental day. It would be the hottest day in Western Washington since weather records have been kept. This freak heat wave would double the number of 100 degree days ever in Seattle in three days. This last day would be the hottest. On Saturday Gary and I avoided the heat by hiking 10 miles back and forth through the Snoqualmie Tunnel under Snoqualmie Pass. On Sunday I started hiking on Queen Anne Hill by 5:35 am. It was already in the mid 70s when I started my 7 mile hike. On Monday I worked until 1:00 pm and debated hunkering down in my office with a weak air conditioner or heading east for another hike in the tunnel. At 1:30 pm I decided on the drive. It was 97 at my house. It was 110 going through Issaquah/ It was 106 in North Bend. It was 100 degrees exactly at the 2600' parking lot at Hyak. Two days earlier the all time high in Seattle was 103. This day it would hit 108 degrees.

I arrived at about 2:45 pm. The lot was about half full. Much less than on Saturday late morning. There were a similar number of hikers but very few mountain bikers this day. I weaved through a number of other groups starting right when I did. I reached the tunnel first and quickly pulled ahead of the others. It was immediately cooler and within about 5 minutes the outside 100 degrees turned into the inside 57 degrees. It was blessed relief from going to bed with the house at 92 degrees the night before. I set a pretty good pace on this first traverse. I did not want to get done too early. The fewest hours at home the better. I passes a number of folks coming out as I hiked in. As mentioned, there were just a few bikes. The cool hiking was so much better than being out in the sun or indoors.

I had ordered a new headlamp as my good old one died near the end of our winter mid week headlamp hikes. I had been getting by with a low power old headlamp. On Saturday Gary had a strong light. This day it was much easier with ample light. I aimed for about 42 minutes for the 2.25 mile long tunnel. I was a bit surprised when it only took 38 minutes. The goal was to spend more time in the tunnel and less outside at the ends. I spent more time in the shade in 100 degree weather. Still better than indoors at home. I had a quick 12 minute break and I was back in the tunnel. At 3:40 pm it was about the hottest part of the day. It would get just a little cooler at the tunnel ends after this.

Heading east I was going into a headwind. It was much cooler. Almost gloves time. My phone camera has a "night" mode that I had done much with. A dark tunnel seemed like a good place to try. I found that in pitch black it does nothing. Some light is needed. With my headlamp shining ahead it turns a dull view into a bright one. I was impressed by how much it does with a little light. I ended up with a lot of tunnel photos and a few pretty good ones. I passed a number of folks heading back to the parking lot. When I reached the east end again the sun was much lower and the entire grade was in shade. Hot but at least shady. A little food and water and I was heading west one more time.

Not as many folks out, or is that in, now. Lots of solitude in the tunnel. I reached the west end and checked the time. It was 5:12 pm. I did not want to get home too early. Time for a longer break. It did not feel much cooler now. I managed to sit in the shade for half an hour then headed back towards the tunnel. With the east wind the cool extended 50 or so feet out of the tunnel. At 5:44 I entered the tunnel for the last time. After 1.5 tunnel walks and a walk on Queen Anne Hill in three days my feet were getting a bit sore. No soft dirt trails, all the 27 miles hiked were on hard surface. The desire to escape the worst of the heat meant hiking more than at any time this year. Go figure. More night mode shots kept the last 2.25 miles interesting. I finally exited the tunnel for good at 6:24 pm. Just what I had hoped for. I figured my house would cool a bit by the time I arrived home at 7:40 pm. Nope, not much at all.

My house was 93 degrees inside. It was still about the same temperature outside. There would be little cooling before bedtime. Getting our of the house during 100+ degree weather on the hottest day in Seattle's recorded history was a treat. We had one more day of 90 degree heat before the heat broke. By Wednesday morning it was down to the low 60s instead of the high 70s the previous two mornings. I hope to not have another three days of 100 degree heat to live through. 90 is awful but not close to 108 degrees. The tunnel is not a destination hike. It is a last resort that can be a life saver.

Nearing The Tunnel
My Light & Far Portal
Folks Coming
Light At End Of Tunnel
Getting Nearer
West Portal
Granite Mountain
PCT On Slope
West End
Very Dark
Long Shadow
Company Coming
New Headlamp
Family Ahead
Hiking In Dark
Red Lights
More People
Near West End
Out Of Tunnel
Trail Sign
Back In Tunnel
Biggest Shadow
Night Shift
Night Mode
Near Exit
Railroad Grade
Alta & Rampart Ridge
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2021