Sunday, July 3, 2005

Little Si

I would love to say I hiked Mount Si, really I would. But I hiked Little Si — that's the smaller peak just above the third foreground green tree from the right. Yeah.

Forrest and I went out hiking again this weekend. This time we went with a more ambitious trail than the meandering, level walk through the Redmond Watershed Preserve. East of Redmond is the city of North Bend, at the foot of Mount Si, a 4167-foot peak.

We didn't climb that mountain, though. Instead, we tackled the much less imposing and impressive Little Si, which tops out at 1576 feet. That may not seem like much, but let me tell you, when you're out of shape, it's a noticable climb, thankyouverymuch. I don't see any of you running marathons and the like.

We started up the trail at 2:30, relatively later compared to the rest of the hiker crowd that had turned out for the beautiful Sunday weather. Frankly, I might have preferred some cloud cover for the first steep section of the hike, but otherwise most of the trail was under the shade of second-growth forrest. We ate some of the blackberries and salmonberries growing along the trail. Mostly they weren't ripe, though.

Thankfully, the bulk of the Little Si trail is level and cool. We still took our time, and got passed by several hiking groups as a result. Near where the trail makes its final 300-400 feet of elevation gain for the summit, there are prayer flags and a bench dedicated to the memory of Doug Hansen, one of the Everest climbers who died in 1996. I have just recently finished reading Into Thin Air, so I recognized the name even before reading the rest of the plaque. Hansen apparently liked hiking in the Cascade mountains around here. Sometimes it really does feel like a small world.

Anyhow, we got up to the top at 4:30. There were quite a number of others there, scattered in the trees just below the rocky summit, eating lunch. The view from the summit was pretty impressive, so long as we didn't look behind us at the much taller Mount Si proper. ;) We couldn't see Mount Rainier for a ridge, but perhaps it's visible from Mount Si's summit. Strangely and somewhat annoyingly, highway 90 was still audible, even this high up. We ate lunch, rested for a bit, then headed back down. Down is much easier than up. :)

Forrest took some photos with his new cellphone; hopefully he'll post them soonish.

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