On Saturday, Julian, James, Kirsten, Stefan and I headed to the Quilcene area for a hike up Pk 5480 with hopes of great upfront views of Mt Constance.
Stefan and Kirsten picked us up in Kingston because Julian, James and I walked onto the ferry in Edmonds, so that we'd only take 1 vehicle to the TH. The road to the Tunnel Creek trailhead was snow free although there were a few rocks on the road that didn't seem to get out of the way of the car at times.
We started off on the snow free trail that was in great shape except for a big blowdown about a half mile in. After a mile and a half of hiking (directly below the W saddle of Pk 5480) we headed off trail up the steep slopes. Not much brush but occasional rhodies slowed progress. At around 4200', we finally encountered a shallow layer of icy snow. We put of snowshoes on for traction at 4400'.
the mossy forest carpet
Just before the saddle, we headed right to avoid a rocky barrier. More steep snowshoeing in shallow snow got us to the Western ridge. At the ridge, the snow depth increased and there were a couple open spots to see the bigger pks to the West. The rest of the way to the summit was easy and mostly treed. After touching the summit, we went back down to an opening a couple hundred feet down for a break. From there, those were the best views of the trip.
Stefan always surprises with summit treats and this one was no different. He pulled out some whiskey and squid. Not sure if I've heard that combo before but I tried both. We headed back down and during the descent, Julian lost his camera. Since this TR is online, we're hoping this trip gets popular(like mailbox or si)and his camera will be found!
sunlit forest floor
The hike back was nice as we were able to do a January hike without the use of a headlamp.
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