Grape Nuts On Mt. Si

A month ago I became aware of a national contest. It was hiking related so I had to enter. I was one of 60 winners. May 29th was the 60th anniversary of the first successful summit of Mt. Everest. One of Hillary's sponsors for that trek was Grape Nuts cereal. To commemorate the anniversary Post came out with a new version of Grape Nuts. When entering I needed to choose a summit that would provide the opportunity to give out free samples to a couple dozen people. What are the odds on not seeing a couple dozen people on Mt. Si on a late May Saturday? I'd say close to zero. Gwen offered to come along as my Sherpa. She carried the goods and was an enthusiastic voice in offering our swag. I wanted to get up the mountain before the real hordes descended on the mountain. We met in Bellevue at 7:30 am and were packed up and ready to go by just after 8:00 am. I had my Grape Nuts shirt on and was recognized by several hikers before we reached the trail. The PR firm coordinating the contest wrangled stories in the Everett Herald and several Snoqualmie Valley papers.

Though there was a chance of rain the weather was nearly ideal. It had rained in the morning but was dry and cool most of the day. It warmed up enough that I never did put on a jacket on top. I have been up Si via the old trail and the Teneriffe Road route most years, often in winter. The main trail is one I seldom hike. On so many of my hiking trips I see nobody or just a few groups. Every now and then a cattle call hike gives me more appreciation for the ones with solitude. We ascended the trail at a moderate pace. A number of folks were already on the way down. Fast hikers and runners shot on by. Though we parked in the third row all those earlier hikers did not seem to overwhelm us. One group of four young women passed us several times between their breaks. They were waiting for their Grape Nuts on the summit.

3300' of gain is a good leg stretcher and I'm always amazed to see way out of shape folks gut it out. It's even a little inspirational. At the start of the rocks we met a big group. Still not the summit so we held onto our cereal. As always I continued on to the end of the trail where left goes to the Haystack scramble and right goes towards the Teneriffe Road. We then backtracked to the bench overlooking North Bend. There were the four women and out came their prizes. Were they models or just very attractive young women? Was this a set up? Did the PR firm hire these folks? I certainly did not expect that kind of enthusiasm. Made the whole contest worthwhile right there. The combination of the Grape Nuts purple shirt and backpack with the brand logo made us stand out

We then went up under the shear wall of the haystack for our early lunch. It was only about 10:30 am. Two more women sitting on a rock above us hollered " Grape Nuts!" Cmon, how popular are they? They gushed about the product and were thrilled to get their samples. Now this had to be a set up. Is anyone that excited about cereal? Gwen and I were having a good time. Gwen has no problem walking up to total strangers and offering our samples. Between the two of us we had most of them passed out in no time. We spent about an hour on top. Some clouds but better views than I was expecting. As we started down I heard a loud buzzing which seemed to be right next to me. It was loud. Was it a 2 lb. bee? I could not figure it out. Someone pointed up. A radio controlled plane? Atop Si? Yep! We had a drone circling the haystack. Since it would go out of site for some time we figured the pilot must be on the summit block. Where to land it? So few places in haystack basin without people. That problem was quickly solved as the engine cut out and the plane flew into trees. I couldn't resist and went looking for it.

I doubted I'd find it but I went up the trail and onto the trail to Teneriffe. A minute later I heard a beeping. The plane was sending out a signal that allowed me to zero in on it.  Turns out it was ten feet up in a tree. Out of my reach. I went on to the high point with a view of Mt. Teneriffe and then back to the plane. Gwen and another couple were there. I left a long branch there for the plane's owner to knock it down. Now we were finally ready for our descent. It was now 11:50. Messing around looking for the plane meant we would be heading down into the peak of the crowd hiking up. I recall years back when I counted over 100 hikers coming up in the 1:10 it took me to hike down. Later I counted 200 on a descent. This day we put those numbers to shame. We guesstimated the number of folks who passed us coming up and others we saw on top. Gwen counted everyone we saw coming down. I'll get to the total in a minute.

The numbers were a little shocking to me. I expected lots of hikers. I need to update my understanding of "lots of". The largest group was just over 30. There was one of 25 and another of 20. Lots of groups of 8-12. We stepped aside more times than I can recall as groups went on by. At the bottom there were numerous people near the big trail sign and we did not count them. The total was almost exactly 500. Five hundred hikers on Mt. Si and we were down just before 2:00 pm. Yikes! I can't imaging how many folks hiked up over the course of the whole day. Like I said at the beginning, a crowded hike is good for you every once in awhile. I will really appreciate my next lonesome day on the trail. As we drove home we counted 40 cars parked along the road outside of the parking lot. Wow!

This turned out to be a fun day. Folks were all in good humor and nobody had a problem with us. The payment from my day of work will fund my site for quite awhile as a bonus. Thanks to all who said "hi" and thanks to Gwen for making the day even more fun.

New Trailhead Sign
Jim At Trailhead
Gwen Starts Up Trail
One Mile Marker
Snag Flats At 1.7 Miles
3.5 miles
Rocky Section
Near Top Of Rocks
Haystack In Sight
Last Of The Snow
Gwen Gives Out Prize
Another Happy Hiker
Bevy Of Grape Nut Fans
Looking Down To Valley
Two More Winners
Gwen & Group Of Guys
One More Group
Our Summit Flag
Mt. Teneriffe
Mt. Washington
Group Of 20
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2013