July 21, 2017
With my summer Fridays off of work, I was able to do some hikes with my girlfriend Katie, because she has Fridays off too! We went south one day and did the Mount Si hike in the Snoqualmie Region, just outside of the town of Snoqualmie.
Mount Si, for the Snoqualmie people, was the body of the moon, fallen to the earth through the trickery of the fox and the blue jay. It is a spiritual place, with a craggy mountain rising out of the foothills. For those of you who watch the television show Twin Peaks, Mount Si features prominently in the show, which was filmed in and around the town of Snoqualmie. The mountain is named for a settler named Josiah Merritt, who had a cabin at the base of the mountain in the late 1800s.
Katie and I headed down early that morning, and took the scenic route down to the mountain – off on the back roads to avoid rush hour freeway traffic.
We arrived just after 8 – we got out our packs and got ready to go.
Mount Si is a tough hike. It is a steep hike – 8 miles round trip with over 3,100 feet of elevation gain. Mount Si is considered a training hike for Mount Rainier; if you can summit Mount Si in less than two hours then you are considered to be ready to summit Rainier. We headed up the mountain, which is basically 4 miles of switchbacks up the mountain. There are parts that are steeper and parts where the switchbacks are more gentle, but it is all switchbacks, all the time on this route…
The trail beside a cedar log
A section of the trail near the top
The tree canopy on the trail
We took breaks when we needed and encountered several groups of millennials hiking with their phones streaming music into the air. I don’t think I will ever understand why they want to hike with music blasting out like this. I prefer to listen to the sound of nature when I am out hiking.
Early on, Katie and I came upon a leucistic slug – it was white! That was far more fascinating than it might have been had we not needed at rest break! But honestly, I think it might have been the high point of Katie’s day. She was pretty excited about that slug…
At the top of the mountain, Mount Si is a collection of boulders and rock faces – lots of climbers like to climb to the actual summit here. We weren’t going to do that, because it is a technical climb, but enjoyed seeing it still up above us. We did scramble around and among boulders to go see close up where the technical climb begins.
A Gray Jay on Mount Si
The view from Mount Si
More Mount Si view
Mount Rainier from the top of Mount Si
Katie and Me!
Mount Si also has a fun draw. Now, I know I will get in trouble with some of you for this, and I hope you will be able to forgive me… I never do this. Katie and I fed the birds… (hangs head in shame, but only a little…) The Gray Jays there would swoop down to grab a peanut or dried cranberry from the palm of your hand! Surprisingly, they are very gentle. I have to admit it was pretty fun. And the photos I got were absolutely priceless.
Yes, these are unedited…
We hung out at the top and ate our lunch of nuts, granola bars and fruit, and checked out the views of Mount Rainier and the Cascade Range. It was stunning! Certainly worth the pain of the uphill hike!
For obvious reasons, the hike back down was faster and easier, and when we got to the bottom we were more than ready for a trip to Snoqualmie Brewery for a late lunch and a pint. I had the Muffaletta sandwich (which while not very traditional was delicious!) and the Copperhead American Pale Ale, and got myself a pint glass to take home.
On the way home, Katie and I did a quick stop at Snoqualmie Falls. We checked out the falls, which at 268 feet tall is the 6th highest waterfall in Washington State. It has two powerhouses generating power for Puget Sound Energy; one is actually buried underground! Snoqualmie Falls and the Salish Lodge that is located at the top of the falls, were both also featured in Twin Peaks, giving Katie a Twin Peaks trifecta for the day.
It was a great day!