9 miles roundtrip
3250 Feet Elevation Gain
On Saturday I hiked Mt. Washington with my friends Jingyan and David. Mt. Washington is a similar level of difficulty as the popular Mt. Si trail but not nearly as crowded. The hike is located on the north slope of the mountain so the trail tends to get more snow and ice than Mt. Si. In fact, the parking lot was closed yesterday due to icy conditions so we parked down the road and walked to the trailhead.
We were all prepared for the conditions with microspikes strapped to the bottoms of our shoes. The microspikes proved to be very useful, as the entire trail was covered with snow and ice. Jingyan gets cold easily so she braved the weather with a full-on balaclava.
The trail angled sharply uphill from the parking lot, where it briefly followed along the Iron Horse State Park Trail and then diverged into an an unmarked path up the hill.
Along the first part of the trail, we passed a few frozen waterfalls. One even flowed directly over the trail and froze. This would have made for dangerous walking without traction, but was no problem with microspikes. Hooray for microspikes!
The trail climbed steeply uphill and I was soon lagging behind my patient hiking partners. I started a new regimen of group classes at the gym this week as a part of my PCT training and had an especially strenuous session on Friday. My muscles were really feeling it. Hopefully the next time I attempt this hike I’ll be a hiking machine!
After a few miles, the snow deepened to a couple of feet. The trail was fairly packed down and I was usually able to walk along the middle of the trail without difficulty. The few times I strayed from the main trail, however, I post-holed into knee-deep snow.
Eventually we made it to the top of the mountain and stopped for lunch. The views were spectacular! We were treated to 360 degree views, including Mt. Rainier to the south and Chester Morse Lake to the west.
I’m looking forward to doing this hike again.