Middle Tiger Traverse
every year I finish with a hike on Tiger Mountain. This tradition began
in 1983 and has continued with only one exception for the last 31
years. This year Gary and John joined me. The previous three days I did
two Tiger hikes covering much of the north, east, and west sides of the
mountain. Gary proposed a one way trip across the south end. And so it
went. We started from the south end of the Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT)
at 8:00 am. I was surprised to see one car already there. We did not
see the owner all day. In fact, we saw only one person until the last
few hundred feet of trail. This is not a crowded side of the mountain.
We hiked 1.3 miles up the TMT to Hobart Gap. We took the shorter hiker
vs. the horse trail. A short jog left then steeply up the road on the
South Tiger Traverse. There are still no info at the Gap but the base
of the road finally has a sign for the Traverse. After the power line
corridor we reentered forest. This section can be overgrown. With
leaves off and ferns dead it still looked like some brushing had been
done. Very easy walking.
Just before entering the recent clear cut we found the side trail
heading up South Tiger. The boot path leading towards the other South
Tiger summit has grown into a trail. No problems following it all the
way down to the road between peaks. That road has narrowed in just a
few years to a path. It leads up to the top of the northern South Tiger
summit. This was Gary's first visit since the peak was scalped. He will
have to believe me that Mt. Si and East Tiger are in view. This day we
saw gray all around us. We dropped down the road all the way to the
junction with the TMT near Otter Lake. A short walk brought us to the
West Side Road. When John and I hiked through here on the last day of
2011 there was some logging to our right. Now their is logging all
around the TMT. We hiked in a little forest and a lot the edge of the
clear cut to the junction with the Artifacts Trail. We followed the
grade a short way to the creek crossing.
Gary had planned to follow a trail on the GPS map up nearby Karl's
Peak. I have been at this place more than a dozen times over the years
and never saw or heard about a trail. Yep, it's there. At least the
bottom of it is still there. We followed the Karl's Peak Trail up to
the clear cut. The trail is now lost under a hillside of slash. In
fact, a better name for the peak now is Karl's /pile. We wallowed in
the slash as we found a way to climb up the short distance to the top.
We met a road higher up and it ended. One last climb up the slash. The
top has two big piles of slash and a road. John tried to climb the
highest pile but it was a mess of wet logs and branches. Very easy to
slip or fall into a void and hurt yourself. He had the common sense to
leave the last 20 feet for a dry day.
No views from the misty top so we quickly dropped back down. This is
one of the few named bumps on Tiger I had not been atop. Until this
day. Back at the creek the Artifacts Trail is buried under a number of
big logs as it climbs the slope. We chose to climb straight up and
avoid the downed trees. At the top we found the trail once again. Two
years earlier John and I had no trouble following the Artifacts Trail
through the new clear cut. The Cut is now larger and there is slash all
over the trail. We were going to give up and head back to the TMT when
Gary and John spotted a new road. we headed over there and checked our
position on the GPSs. They showed the road winding around and meeting
up with the Artifacts Trail farther along. We followed the road and
headed off on the Artifacts Trail again. There were a number of trees
down but we were able to follow the route.
The trail had some very wet sections but we continued on to the top of
Middle Tiger. A recent trip report mentioned a "tepee frame" on the
summit. It was less impressive than hoped for. Imagine a few dozen long
narrow branches forming a conical shape. Three quarters of it is still
wide open. We had lunch on the top. It was in the high 30s at 2600'
with dripping trees. Very chilly. The way down was almost entirely
downhill. A fast half mile to the TMT and another mile down to the
West Side Road. Some road walking and we were done. The whole
day was walking in clouds and mist. There was a lot of dripping off the
trees. I'm not sure if it ever did rain.
The day had more elevation gain than we were planning for. Several
hundred feet up Karl's /pile and a deceptively big 600' drop from South
Tiger. All totally the two GPSs agreed closely on about 9.4 miles and
3100' of gain. This was my 30th year end hike on Tiger. Something tells
me I'll be back next New Year's Eve.
Click on thumbnails to get
Starting At Sunrise
South Tiger Summit
Bald South Tiger Mt.
Trees & Mist
Edge Of Clear Cut
Ascending Karl's Peak
Middle Tiger Summit
More Dark Forest
West Side Road