Mt. Si via Teneriffe Road

     The trail up Mt. Si is a great conditioner. It is also among the most crowded in the state. In the Winter the upper mile is often snow covered. The snow is smashed down by hundreds of boots each day then frozen. The constant freeze, thaw cycle makes it horribly slick. In the winter I much prefer to reach the top of Si vi the Mt. Teneriffe Road. The first mile is fairly flat then it begins to climb. Over 5 miles it gains 3200'. Not only is it a great conditioning hike, it is still a lonesome walk. I reached the trailhead, about one mile beyond the Si trailhead, at 10:00 am. I was the first car to arrive. The road is in great shape. Just before the end of the flats there was a tree across the road but it was easy to get over. Some of my friends avoid road walks but I like this one. The grade is steeper than most roads and most of the way is in a thick forest. The lack of people more than makes up for the fact it is a road. At about 2700' I encountered the first small snow patches. By 3200' the road was completely snow covered. The day was overcast but I soon had some views out to Rattlesnake Mt., Mt. Washington, and Mailbox Peak. There was one set of tracks in the snow but they were partly covered by the overnight snow. After passing the last switchback I was surprised to see a woman coming down. She had done Si already and was making it a loop trip. I was glad to know that I would have footprints to follow all the way over to Si. The first time I tried to find Si via this route I tramped all over the woods and never found the way. I remember sinking up to my waist even with snowshoes that day. I think I could find my way now in the snow but I was still glad to have tracks to follow.

     When I reached the Mt. Teneriffe-Mt. Si intersection there were no tracks heading towards Teneriffe. The snow was increasingly deep here and if not for the tracks I would have put on my snowshoes. Instead, they stayed on my back all the way up and down. The trees were flocked by the recent snow and made for a beautiful Winter scene. The slog from the intersection to the high point above Haystack Basin always takes longer than it seems it should . As I gained elevation the backside of the Haystack came into view. I am so used to seeing it from the other side that it looks a little strange to see the northeast side. I finally topped out and dropped down to the base of the Haystack. I was surprised to not see anyone else. I'm sure that this was just a small window between the crowds, even on a gray day in late December. I found a place out of most of the wind for lunch. Afterwards, I headed on out. A short way down from the top I ran into a lone snowshoer. We stopped to talk and we were both surprised to find out that he worked with my brother. It really is a small world. It was nice to meet Doug. By the time we both began to get cold it was time to get moving. The trip down was very nice. The soft snow cushioned the hard road bed. On the trip up I passed one person. I saw nobody on top. On the way down I passed Doug, and two others coming up before the last mile. There were half a dozen others near the bottom.

     I find a lonesome walk on the Mt. Teneriffe Road to be a great way to get to the Haystack Basin on Mt. Si. It may not be a nice trail but it is a very good route. The snow section is actually much more "wilderness like" than any part of the Si trail. Winter is the best time to take this trip. When the trees are flocked with snow you almost forget you are so close to the city.

05 10 12
Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.

Photo Page 2