Almost all the hikes I have been having since last 2 months have been fantastic and the fall season has only bettered it. The hike to Carne mountain was the latest and I was just dumbfounded with the beauty. It’s been three years of hiking in PNW – I am surprised and feel blessed that I still have lot more to see and experience. Even though I was way below in the waiting list, I was confirmed by the organizer for the meetup hike and I got to hike with an amazing group in a beautiful place. The weather forecast couldn’t have been better too.
Since there were huge warnings for the bad road in the last stretch, I preferred not to drive my car. I ended up in a fellow hiker’s Toyota FJ cruiser with super duty tires. The last stretch was the worst road I have travelled yet in Washington and the FJ did just fine cruising through it. We could see surrounding jagged peaks from the trailhead itself and the place already looked quite different from the usual hikes I did. It was quite cold (around 3 C) and we started hiking at 9:30 AM. The first 2.5 miles was in the shade, then we saw dusts of snow on the trail after which it was almost an exposed hike. We reached a basin where we saw many larches and few had camped there. Party started from that place and the next few hours just awed me continuously. The first section was through a series of yellow-golden colored larches with snow on the trail. I was wondering if I struck gold.
We reached a ridge and I could see muddy mountains with more larches on the other side. As I walked along the ridge, I was exposed to more of the beauty with a combination of snow covered, muddy, tree laden mountains all around. The Carne summit itself looked like it was amidst many valleys with an awesome vantage point to view the surrounding mountains including Glacier peak. The most interesting part was that the trail provided very contrasting views from different angles.
Looking towards West (reminded me of high altitude peaks in Himalayas):
Towards East, more larches:
Towards South East, typical PNW summer views:
We had lunch on the summit and a bday woman shared chocolate brownies, another person shared watermelon and Ferrero Rocher with everyone. It was nice to be part of the group with similar interests. The weather was just perfect too – with occasional clouds blocking the Sun and almost non-existent wind. It was actually warmer on the summit than on the trailhead. It was around 1:30 PM when we started descending and afternoon warmth felt like a summer hike. I was actually impressed with the group’s strength. It was fast paced – we ascended and descended quite quickly which left us ample of time to drive back and have dinner on the way.
PNW still surprises me and the best part is that she surprises me even on the same place in different seasons. I absolutely love this place and I don’t think I would want to live anywhere else in the world during this part of my life.