In an attempt to maintain a weekly schedule of hiking with my youngest last week we headed out to do Mt. Washington. Unfortunately for both of us I had lent my parking pass out to a friend and although it was returned it didn't make it back into my car. Not wanting to risk a hefty ticket I struggled to find another option. I had been up Dirty Harry's Peak a few time many years ago and since it was close I thought we would give it a go. We drove up and down the road to the fire training facility without being able to find the correct jump off point. On the way in we there was a single hiker coming down the road looking as lost as we were. Finally I found the correct spot to start our adventure but it wasn't nearly what I remembered. From the onset I new I was in the right spot but the road had been reclaimed making for exceedingly tedious travel. My little one quite enjoyed the higher order gymnastics involved on making any progress. Thinking surely this mess couldn't be long lived we continued on. I decided to detour from the unpleasant former road travel to the relative easy going in the forest. After some time I realized the reclaimed road wasn't going to morph into any easy route to the summit so we decided to head back to the car. After doing some research I realized there is a new trail being built to circumnavigate the tangled mess of the former route.
Originally I had hoped for a route up Mt Washington since I now had my pass, but the sun was shining intently on the East side of I-90 making it for an appealing alternative. I found the new trailhead without issue and we parked and layered up since there was a biting wind. The trail shortens the distance to the bridge crossing the South Fork of the Snoqualmie considerably over walking the road. I was unclear where to look for the start of the new trail but immediately after crossing the bridge I spied a trail and we headed dove into the unknown. The trail is still being constructed but is easy to follow as it meanders up the slope hitting a couple of nice view points which we briefly took in. Around the 3 mile mark the trail reaches the old road be that I remember from previous trips, thankfully this portion of the road hasn't been reclaimed making for steady elevation gain. Once reaching the route I didn't have any aspirations of reaching the summit since the route was considerably longer in both time and mileage than what I had expected. Surely my 10 year old daughter wouldn't have the legs for the completion of this one. Since the there was a serious inversion in temperature, I couldn't imagine not taking advantage of the Spring like temperatures so after a hasty lunch we pressed on. Around 4200' we hit consistent snow which was a new experience for my daughter so I spent some time to pass on some wisdom that I have acquired over the years. I now knew that we were too close to turn around and after over 4 hours we were able to reach the summit for a short lived break.
The down climb was a bit tedious for my little one but I was very proud to see her patience and grit making our way to the lower slopes. Thankfully the descent went quicker than expected coupled with some robust conversations made time fly by. Thankfully we outran the setting sun and found ourselves with plenty of time to make the rest of our evenings obligations.
Approx 11 miles 3500ft of climb and 6.5 hours car to car. and one immensely proud dad
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