Continuing with the training hikes for Divya, I chose nearby Granite mountain. The trip reports had mentioned about Beargrass and given the cloudy forecast, I thought we could see at-least the flowers on this steep hike for motivation. We started to hike at 8:30 AM and we hit the fog/clouds after a mile. I had kept the Beargrass as a surprise from Divya. We saw the first flower in less than 2 miles into the hike and that’s when I introduced the flower to her.
Love the way it looks. Numerous tiny flowers form a cylindrical dome
I told her that we would see 100s of them ahead but little did I know that I would be surprised myself. The flowers started appearing again especially in the regions where the tree cover was absent. The bottom of the flowers were faded and I was wondering if we were a bit late from the full bloom. Soon, we saw the flowers had lined the trail and we were already going gaga. After few switchbacks, we could see the flowers in abundance enveloping an entire small portion of the hill.
An elderly hiker offered us a couple pic
Motivated, we continued with almost no tiredness and what we saw for the next 1 hour completely blew my mind. I hadn’t experienced such views in my 4 years of hiking in PNW. The flowers had blanketed the entire slope of the mountain and we could see them as far as our eyes could see. The clouds were still hanging around so it felt like we were in a dome full of flowers. I was expecting something in the range of 100s, but we estimated them to be in multiples of thousands. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was super awesome. The flowers in this section were almost in full bloom. We spent ample of time clicking pics but if only the photos could capture what the eyes saw.
The blog post here captures what the heart felt. Ethereal!!!
There were flowers of red and purple in few places and they contrasted well. The surrounding mountains were playing hide and seek and the Sun lit the place occasionally. We continued on to reach the ridge from where we could see the lookout. The flowers here had hardly bloomed and we could see the buds in the top. After reaching a high ground, we decided to stop there for lunch and return. On the winter route, we could see few people making their way through boulders to reach the lookout and there was a summer route which was less exposed. Enjoying the occasional surrounding views we had lunch and started the descent. The sky got clearer as we hiked down and it was then when I felt it was a summer hike. The blue sky and the green surrounding mountains were a treat too. It was well over 7 hours by the time we reached the car. It was fantastic to observe the number of flowers which appeared in the increasing log scale. The progression of bud to bloom was interesting too. Washington had surprised me yet again.
Photos and Videos
Michael, the meetup organizer had chosen a hike in the Central Washington due to the rainy weather around Seattle. We gathered at Park and Ride and it was like a get together for the hikers since there were around 40 people for the hike. It was a long drive and the snow fall en-route, rains and standing waters on the road made it an exciting one. The sky started to clear up once we were close to Ellensburg. We started our hike to the ridge and except the last part which was very steep, it was a gradual ascent. the views en-route were spectacular and the barren terrain was very different from west Washington. We reached the ridge and had our lunch. Surabhi was there and she loved the Shavige uppitu I had prepared and was curious about my cooking skills. We then attempted to form the word ‘Meetup’ with our bodies which I think didn’t work out well. We then descended enjoying the amazing scenery ahead. Since we had reached the trailhead quite early, we went scrambling on another hill. I thoroughly enjoyed scrambling the class 3/4 routes. There was a small cave which was quite interesting. I also liked the hanging bridge next to the parking lot. The sky was quite clear and the drive in the canyon alongside the Yakima river was scenic. It was nice to be on the sunny side of the state.
Photos and Videos
I was in Calgary on the weekend of 26th August to meet a friend and didn’t want to miss the chance of hiking in the Canadian rockies. I searched online for a challenging – beautiful hike within a 2 hour drive from Calgary and finalized Mt Sparrowhawk in Kananaskis region. I didn’t expect much crowd on the hike and due to the bear season, we planned to carry bear spray. We started from Calgary at 07:30 AM and stopped at Canmore for breakfast. We bought the bear spray from CanadianTire shop at Canmore and left for the trailhead. I was unaware that last 25kms of the drive was unpaved but it was not so bad that a front wheel drive couldn’t make. We reached the trailhead where I did my first major blunder of the day. I had never used a bear spray before and wanted to test it. I moved away from the car and sprayed but the wind took the chemicals to my friend which caused her eyes and face to burn. I was really scared that it would be something worse than burning. We waited for her to get better and eventually she did, at-least thats what she told. We started the hike at 10:45 AM.
The first part of the hike for 1 km was quite easy with wide trail and gradual ascent. From then on, it was quite steep all the way till the summit. I had loaded the route on my watch and kept checking every now and then. We started to see part of Spray lakes which looked magnificent. Eventually we were above the tree line and we were in a position to see almost entire Spray Lake. The turquoise lake surrounded by mountains and green trees provided for an excellent panoramic view and I realized why everyone had rated this hike so high. We could see the summit of Mt Sparrowhawk in distance and I wondered if we could make it well before evening. We saw few hikers on Reed’s tower which looked impressive as well. An helicopter was making rounds throughout the day. The next part of the hike was a light scramble and then the last part was on the loose rocks. I realized that we won’t be able to make it to the true summit given the time and just aimed to get as high as possible. There were few people on the trail and most of then were returning by the time we neared the summit. A hiker told me that we could get to a point below the summit section from where we could see the other side. My friend chose to wait while I went to the pass where I could see the mountains and lake on the other side. I had gained 4000 ft in 3.3 miles to reach an elevation of 9826 ft. There was snow and it was quite windy with a weather station on the pass. I then hurried down to meet my friend and we sat for lunch on a green flat patch overlooking Spray lake, Reed’s tower and surrounding mountains.
We then started with our hike back to the trailhead. We spent quite some time getting down the scrambling section. We were facing the lake for the next part of the hike and it was lovely scenery on both ends of the lake. I was actually more scared of the last part of the hike due to bears since it was covered in trees and it would be difficult to spot one. I kept making noise and my friend clapped and fortunately we didn’t spot any bear for the day. It was around 7 PM by the time we reached the trailhead which marked the end of an awesome hike. While returning to Seattle next day, I spotted the same Spray lake from the flight.
More photos and videos here
An absolutely fantastic day which included hiking, berries, swimming, scrambling and stunning panoramic views. This event was organized in the memory of a hiker who was with meetup group.
After going on the trail for sometime we took the old trail to Mason lake. This had a huge rockfield which was fun to cross. Then we reached Mason lake and to my surprise, the water wasn’t that cold. I jumped into the water and swam for sometime. Then we left for Mt Defiance where we had awesome panoramic views and did a some scrambling. I could see Mt Adams, Mt Rainier, Glacier peak, Olympic Mountains and tall Seattle buildings. Yesterday I saw Mt. Baker and Shuksan from close. I had a big fall while coming down which could have been serious considering lots of tree branches but fortunately nothing happened. This was one of the best weekends I have ever had.
I wanted to try the hike up to Camp Muir(10000 ft) before the Mt Rainier expedition on July 2-5. I checked the forecast and June 19th looked good. I invited 2 other whom I had met on other hikes. We reached Paradise, WA (5600 ft) at 8:30 AM and it was the best weather we could ask for. Clear sky with hardly any clouds and Mt Rainier looked spectacular. It was a different sight altogether being so close to the mountain. We started hiking at 9:15 AM and I had around 20-25 pounds backpack. I carried extra water just for the weight practice. There were too many people and though we had prepared ourselves with maps and GPS, we didn’t have to use any of them.
The first stretch was gentle and gained little elevation. The steep and continuous slope started from Mile 3 after Pebble Creek (7200 ft). It was very tiring and near the end even though Camp Muir was in sight I felt so energy-less. The view was spectacular throughout the route. The snow was fresh and was pure white. There was the majestic Mt Rainier in the North and Tatoosh range, Mt Adams, Mt Hood and Mt St Helens in the south. We took 4 and half hours to reach Camp Muir. I felt better after having Poha and apples. It was sunny and glacier glasses truly saved my eyes.
I glissaded down most of the parts till Pebble Creek and the last two I did wearing garbage bags. Some slides were awesome and I had a blast coming down. It was so opposite to the tiring ascent. There were people Snowboarding, Skiing and having all sorts of fun. I felt i was on a picnic rather than a hike. It was Father’s day and I saw a father-son duo on the hike. It was the best mountain day I had ever had.
A meetup friend and I hiked to Camp Muir on a smokey Saturday. Though we couldn’t see much of Tatoosh range and other mountains, Rainier itself looked amazing with all the glaciers. Glaciers is what you will get to see late in the summer. I knew it was a slog up, so I kept counting to 500 steps until I looked up the trail again. The shelter at the camp was quite empty and I took good rest there. Coming down was fun again due to the glissades.
Somewhat impromptu, a friend asked me for the Camp Muir hike on 7/29/2818 and I agreed even though it was on a Sunday. We were 4 of us and we reached Paradise by 9 AM and started our hike by 9.30. The temperature was considerably warmer than my previous week’s visit and I started with just my t-shirt and never wore another layer for the entire hike. We split off from the Muir snowfield and I hiked the rest solo. I took three major breaks : Panaroma point, At 8,200 ft and around 9,200 ft. As usual, the last part was quite tiring and a bit frustrating. To keep myself distracted I started counting steps from snowfield and I counted up to 7500, steps. This stretch gains around 3000 ft in 2 miles. I had taken 4.15 hours for the hike up. It kept getting hotter and I felt the warmest at Camp Muir itself. I couldn’t even finish half my lunch there since I felt full. I took a 25 min break and started the descent. Descent was not that enjoyable (maybe due to the heat) barring few really awesome glissades. I used my poles to push myself on the tracks and it was like skiing on my bum. Fortunately, my feet didn’t hurt in the final tar stretch and I was glad to be at the parking lot.
The hike tests my stamina and patience. Let’s see how for many years, I will hike this stretch.