Sunset To Tiger 3

I was ready for a Monday hike on Presidents Day. After a 12 mile mostly snowy hike the day before I wanted a shorter trip. A few days earlier the forecast was for sunshine all day long. Now it was for a little sunshine. Even that was too optimistic. The morning Doppler radar showed the only precipitation in Washington state was around Issaquah. Recent lowland snow had filled the trailheads with lots of the white stuff. DNR was not going to plow them all so they gated parking lots for the MF of the Snoqualmie River, Mt. Si, Little Si, both ends of Rattlesnake Mountain, Tiger Summit, and Cougar Mountain. Some routes up high were deep untracked snow. Avalanche danger in the Cascades was high. Low trailheads on Tiger Mountain accessing popular routes were the best bets for easy travel. On Wednesday evening Gary, John, and I headed up the Nook and Section Line Trails to West Tiger 3 the 2. We were fortunate to have fresh snowshoe tracks on the route. This day I planned to go back up Tiger 3 via the Nook and Section Line but start lower in Issaquah at Sunset Way. Most folks would start 350' higher at High Point.

I waited at home for the rain in Issaquah to move. It did. I headed off a little later than hoped. The roads were amazingly empty for a holiday that many folks do not get off. As I neared Issaquah the rain began. It rained even harder as I exited I-90. The lot was about half full when I arrived at 9:10 am. The rain did let up a bit and I was on my way by 9:23 am. It was about 35 degrees. I hoped to get high enough that any rain would turn to snow. Patchy snow began quickly. I reached the Tradition Plateau and there was a bit of a view down to Issaquah and out to the west. I walked the road a short way and turned left at a four way junction. On the way back I would come out on the trail to the right. The left trail quickly brought me to another junction where I took the Big Tree Trail. The snow was not deep and the walking was easy.

I stopped for photos at the big tree. It is almost eight feet in diameter. Continuing on the trail I reached the gas line, an open swath of snow covered grass. Here I turned right and uphill. The route went downhill to the Puget Power Road where I turned left towards Tradition Lake. I looked for the Around The Lake Trail as I neared the lake and I completely missed it. I followed animal tracks into the woods and a few minutes later I found the obvious trail. Tradition Lake was frozen for a change. It is seldom cold enough long enough at 500' to freeze solid. I followed the trail out to the Bus Trail and turned left. This brought me to the start of the Nook Trail.

Two other hikers started up the Nook just ahead of me. They were moving fast and were soon out of sight. There was obviously new snow since our Wednesday trip. I continued up until the slick footing had me stopping to but on microspikes. I had a jacket on for the early rain but it had almost stopped and with the steep climb I was overheating. The going was much easier now. Another hiker went by and also moved out of sight pretty fast. After the trip the day before I was not moving all that fast. Steady but not all that fast. At the "T" junction I went right over to the Section Line Trail. It was well packed down. While not icy the steps were hard. That made for easier climbing then the soft snow we had on Wednesday. My poles were not sinking in a foot or more with each planting.

David had been up the Section Line the day before and mentioned seeing ski tracks coming down. That was one reason I chose this route. The Section Line is very steep in places with a lot of trees and down logs. I can't imaging skiing down it. I soon began to see the tracks. They were parallel to the boot prints and crossed over them a number of times. If slow and steady wins the game then I guess I won. I reached the railroad grade at 1960' at 11:24. Two hours to reach the railroad grade must be a record slow pace for me. Now I just had another 600' of steep climbing to go. That went well and I reached the summit of West Tiger 3 at 11:47 am. 2:23 to hike up 2400'. At least the way down would be much less steep and on well packed snow. There were three folks on top when I arrived. Three more arrived soon after. Seven of us on top and I saw three people all the way up. A lesser used route provides a lot of solitude.

I debated going over to Tiger 2 but there was zero visibility. I could not come close to seeing the tower on Tiger 2. I was ready to just head down. At 12:08 I headed down. The upper trail was a narrow trench. I had to step into deeper snow to let folks go by. I passed several groups in short order. One other hiker passed by going down as I was taking photos. That was it until I was in the last half mile above the plateau. I was not expecting that much solitude. Microspikes were not necessary as the compacted snow was a little slick but not icy. With spikes it was really easy travel. The snow turned patchy before the last switchback and I stopped to take them off. The last part to the flats was on mostly bare ground. I reached the Bus Trail junction at 1:11 pm. 1:03 down from the summit was a good pace.

I only had another 400' or so to lose but almost two more miles. I headed down the Bus Trail. I almost immediately passing the start of the Nook Trail. I stayed on the Bus Trail and crossed the gas line and the Power Line Corridor to reach Round Lake. It to was frozen and snow covered. Now I started on the Wetlands Trail. This took me back to the four way junction where I turned onto the Big Tree Trail in the morning. I was back at my car in short order. I arrived at my car at 2:01 pm. My route down was longer and much faster. No, the forecast sunshine never showed up. In fact I used an umbrella for much of the last couple miles.

This was a fun trip. Lots of snow on the route. A little down low and a lot up high. The Section Line route was obvious footsteps and the route down was smooth packed snow. With so many popular trails closed down I expected Tiger to be over run with hikers. That was not the case. I saw three people on the way up and more on the way down but it was never close to being crowded. I will not be unhappy when all this low elevation snow melts but it had been fun to start low and be on snow for the entire trip. I am still way behind on normal hiking miles this month but I did get in 20 miles over the holiday weekend.

Icy Steps
Big Tree Trail
The Big Tree
Tradition Lake & WT3
Bus Trail
Bridge On Nook Trail
Rubber Ducky
Ski Tracks
Section Line Tracks
Broken Branches
Straight Up
Almost To RR Grade
Flocked Trees
Grade Heading South
Pretty As A Picture
Looking Down
At Cable Line
Down Cable Line
Fast Growing Trees
No View Of Tiger 2
Starting Down
Arty Shot
Highlighted By Snow
Just Beautiful Scenery
Misty Forest
Narrow Trail
Bare Ground
Back On Bus Road
Rose Hips
Round Lake
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2019