Squak SP Medium Loop2

Kim was free for a Sunday hike. I did 12 miles on Saturday and was looking for a close in easier hike. Kim and I did a great hike on Squak Mountain in the spring and it fit the bill for a fall hike. We met in Seattle at 7:30 am and headed east. We pulled into the Squak Mountain State Park lot at 8:10 am. It was a chilly 43 degrees as we packed up and headed out at 8:20 am. First we headed over to the short .30 mile Pretzel Tree Trail. There was some good fall leaf color. Our hot October with no rain did not set up a good leaf season though there was a little of the good stuff. We managed to go right by the Pretzel Tree and had to go back to find it. After that, we headed up the trail. This trail is not steep though it steadily gains elevation. The forest is a mix of evergreens and deciduous trees. We saw some more fall leaves along much of the day's route. Groups went on by us at first. After that we did not see many hikers for much of our trip.

At the half mile mark we reached where our loop would start and end. The left trail had a sign stating the bridge .30 miles ahead was closed to horses. We hiked on and found the bridge fine for hikers though a few boards nailed into it suggested the weight limit was likely less than a horse and rider. We had hoped to see some mushrooms since the rain started a few days earlier. That was not to be. We saw a few growing on logs but not in the ground. The sky was mostly cloudy with a few short blue patches. Later we had a little bit of sun though not much. This day was about clear ear not sunshine. We had a lot of sunshine over the past few weeks with smoky air to breathe. Cool and damp beats unhealthy smoky air. We entered Squak Mountain State Park and continued climbing. As we neared the road by West Peak we entered the clouds. It was now very misty. We turned right on the old road and climbed to the Bullitt Fireplace.

We took a food break at the fireplace. It is a better spot than Central Peak. Most people we saw this day had at least one dog with them. At the fireplace we met a young couple with two dogs. One was a shelter pup looking for an adoption. I don't think it will take long. We sent them off with directions for Central Peak and followed them soon after. We took the ridge route. It is shorter but still has a steep climb and descent. We arrived at Central Peak at 11:38 am. We were not in a hurry and with our early start we did not need to be. Someone left their ghoul friend tied to the chain link fence. Kim and I took turns posing with the apparition. Halloween is just a week away. I checked to see that the microwave is still chained to the fence. We had just a minute of actual sunshine before the clouds closed in once again.

We were at the highest point of the hike and now it was almost all downhill. The first part is on one of our favorite trail on Squak Mountain. The Old Griz Trail is nicely graded and the tread is mostly soft. The forest scenery is top notch. At the next junction wt turned right onto the Phil's Creek Trail. This nearly level grade traverses around the mountain. We had some more fall leaves but no mushrooms. We passed the two trail junctions I'm used to taking on hikes up from Sunrise Place. The trail follows Phil's Creek and even has a few open spots where the sun was shining. I stopped to enjoy the only real sunshine we had all day. Then it was back into the shade. We soon crossed the creek. The creek is lost under a wide swath of bushes that completely cover the running water. It was about the only running water we saw all day. The trail down from here is gently graded and easy walking. We stopped for many photo opportunities.

I had not done this trail until just about a year ago. Now I have done it about four times. It is becoming a favorite. There are several loops that can include this section of trail. From Central Peak down to the last crossing of Phil's Creek I think we saw one group of two hikers. It was a pretty quiet hike. We crossed the creek again then crossed the road and reached the end of our loop. Now we just had that last half mile to retrace to the trailhead. That last section had more folks than the previous couple hours of hiking. We reached the trailhead at about 2:55 pm. It was a long day for only 7.3 miles with 1800' of gain but a very enjoyable one. The drive home was easy unlike the two big accidents on my drive home the day before.

This was the dry day in a very rainy pattern. Rain on Saturday and coming on Monday but a dry Sunday for a hike. It was chilly in the morning but much more like late October than the 88 degrees just a week earlier. I'll take the colder and damp over the hot and smoky weather we had been having. For the weekend I hiked 19 miles with 2600' of elevation gain. So far this has been a very good hiking year. I might reach my annual goals by the end of October.

Leafy At Start
Fall Has Arrived
My Shadow
Good Leaf Colors
The Pretzel Tree
Brighter Colors
Fungi On Tree
Main Trail
Red Leaves
Misty Forest
Misty Ridge Trail
Summit Scare
Nobody Expects!
Colorful Snag
Frog's Pelt Fungus
Nice Colors
Brushy Bridge
Good & Bad Colors
Big Rock
Leafy Trail
More Colors
Multiple Colors
Fancy Bridge
Last Section
Almost Back
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2022