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Trip to help Lesley Yuen explore a little of Washington state.
Friday 22nd June
Leave Waco at about noon, have a very leisurely drive up to Dallas airport. Board Alaska airways flight to Seattle. Leaves at 6:26 pm. Fly over loads of wilderness. Arrive at 8:40pm local time, four hour flight, two hours local time difference. Lesley has a bit of a problem remembering where the car is parked. Drive back to their house in Renton. Lesley shows me round, it is a fantastic mansion with a large garden. Have a few beers on patio and talk about things, have a look at various climbing and walking books for the area.
Saturday 23rd June
Get up at 6am and have a lazy breakfast. Depart at 7:15. Meet two of Lesley's friends at the High point trial head, Jeff and James. Head off for a 50 minute jog. Go round Swamp, Adventure and another trail. I get very out of breath and decide not to do the Bus trail and walk back. Follow a set of pylons, but they are not the right ones and I get rather lost. The others all set off looking for me. Set off up Tiger Mountain. Long slog up to Tiger 3 summit, trees prevent any views on the way up. The top is clear and we get views across to Seattle. Carry on to Tiger 2 peak and then the summit. At Tiger summit sit there and have dinner and look down to Puget sound. Get a bit lost on the bypass round the summit of Tiger one. Long descent, Lesley reckons that I talk too much. Get back to the house and the bench at Tiger summit can be seen from the back garden. I drive into Seattle, park next to Safeco field and go into the Pyramid Alehouse to meet Simon. Try a couple of the local beers.
Get out of bed at about 7:30am. Drive out to North Bend. Head up Mount Si. Very dense forest, I like the fact that it is totally unmanaged. There was a large fire there in 1910, some of the blackened trees can still be seen now. Starts to rain as we approach the summit. It is raining when we get to the top, the last bit is called haystack and is quite a scramble. Very cold hands when on the top. Some views from the top at 4167 feet. Come down fairly quickly. Call in for cherry pie in North Bend. Stay in for the evening, have a little salad and make plans. Whilst discussing the bike ride planned for Sunday Lesley asks me, "On a tandem, which one steers ?"
Bit of a late start trying to get a number for bike hire shops. Drive down to Enumclaw, hire two bikes. Head down the state route 410 for about 25 miles. Set off at 1pm. Do a trail called Skookum flats, very good to start with, but then the trail runs out. I have to carry the bikes up hill for a while and then we carry them over lots of fallen trees. After we get to the swept away suspension bridge and it gets a bit easier. Stop for lunch at about 3:30pm. Long two hour sit by the white river and have the sandwiches from yesterday. Get back to the vehicle for about 7pm. On the drive back get my first view of Rainier, from the cycle shop, completely covered in snow and massive. No phone signal all day. We get back at about 9pm. Lesley cooks some pasta. Have some more Curve Ball and look at the guide books for tomorrow.
We all have breakfast together and look at the fantastic sunny start to the day. I drive down to Enumclaw again. Pull in at the cycle shop and ask him about routes, in the end do the one that we had decided last night. Park in the same pull-in as yesterday. Start up the Fawn Ridge trail at 11am. It follows a dirt road uphill for about 6 miles and climbs 4000 feet. Fantastic views across to the Palisades. Have dinner right at the top. Great descent down the Sun Top trail, have some fun crossing Doh creek, lots of water splashing. Take the bikes back to Enumclaw. We all go out to the REI in the centre of Seattle, I drive. Buy a couple of air beds for the camping trip and a guide book to Mount St Helens. Head to Fred Meyer, Rich is after a BBQ, gets a combined gas and charcoal one. We rush back and assemble it from 10pm till 11pm, then get the steaks on. I have a very good rib-eye.
Leave the house at about 10am. Have a few problems finding the I5, head south. Have some debate about which junction to come off at, turn round and come off at 133. Head down Washington route 7. Get to Morton, buy a few provisions, cheese cobs and cookies. Drive down the east side of Mount St Helens, first on the 25 and then on the 99 and finally on the 26. Call in at the Iron creek campsite to get a permit. Start walking from the Norway pass trailhead. Do a 7 mile Independence trail route. See loads of humming birds, they are making a strange deep sound. Fantastic views of Mount St Helens, Rainier, Mount Adams and Mound Hood, 60 miles away in Oregon. Spirit lake has still got loads of logs on it from 1980. Long lunch over-looking the lake. Back to the car for about 9pm. Drive down the 25 till about mile 22. Find a great pull-in so that the car is off the road. Have more cheese cobs and ham for tea, drink the beer left from last night.
Lie in till 9am. Pack up and drive down to the Ape Caves trailhead. Go down the upper Ape cave, use Lesley's head touches. Explore the Lava tubes, some of the longest in North America. Try to take some pictures but it does not work very well. I fall over and hurt my right shoulder on the way out of the upper cave. We do the lower cave as well, but it is a bit boring after the first. A bit of rain whilst we are inside. Leave at about 4pm to drive back. When we get signal there are messages from lots of people wanting me to go back to Waco. Back to Lesley's for about 7:30pm.
The weather forecast says a strong chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. After some debate drive up to the Snoqualmie pass and start up the Kendall Katwalk at 11:15. Hear lots of whistling marmots on the way up. Pass two old boys, one of which slid down this time last year and broke his ankles, they comment on us walking in sneakers. One of them slid down the slope last year and broke his ankle. We have to cross a lot of steep snow fields, I cut steps. We wonder if we have passed the cat walk. When we get there it is very obvious and quite cool. Back home for 6pm. The three of us go down to the Issaquah brewpub.
Sort out a rental cycle from Kirkland. The plan to hire a tandem does not come off. Set off from here at 10am. Call in and get the bike. Head up to the North Cascades. Drive up through Granite Falls. Drive a long way along a forest road. A section has been washed away. Start walking at 2pm. We are attempting Mount Pilchuck. Walk up through the forest and arrive at Pinnacle Lake. Have to traverse round the side of the lake on the snow. Go up a very narrow gully heading west, we have to make up our own route. Do a lot of scrambling up the stream and over a lot of snow. Go up a narrow muddy gully. Start traversing across to a spot for lunch and Lesley slips, decide to call it a day. Have lunch and then turn round. Back to the car for 8pm. An hour and a half to get back to Renton. Rich does a very good BBQ, with burgers and salmon.
Sunday 1st July
Leave at about 8:30pm and head to Kirkland. Start from the Marina. Meet Lesley's cycling friends, Kim, Diane and Casey, they are a good bunch. Do a counter clockwise route round Lake Washington. Go along the Burke Gilman trail for a fair way. Get a little lost in Seward park. Stop for coffee on the way near Renton airport. Race Lesley up most of the hills and win. Back to the marina for 3:30pm, have ice cream. Take my bike back and then sit by the lake for a while. Head back home for beer and BBQ.
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