Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rising Above

Mt Baker from Poo Poo Point

Rich and I had plans to hike up out of the fog layer that had been hanging over Seattle for the past few days after all the cold and sunshine we'd had. In addition, there was a temperature inversion so it was much colder down in the city than up high in the mountains.

Chirico, or Inca trail?






We went to Tiger Mt via the Chirico Trail, which was pretty busy for a cool, foggy morning, so our idea of climbing above the fog wasn't completely original. The trail was as beautiful as ever, made even more so by the freezing fog on the branches, ferns and even the spider webs. As we climbed higher, which the trail does pretty steadily, we could see the fog taking on a blueish hue and we got even more excited about what was waiting at the top.

Our excitement was peaked when we arrived at Poo Poo Point where not only did Squak and Cougar Mts look like islands, but the Olympics were in view, as was Mt Baker to the north which I think was the first time I had seen Mt Baker from this viewpoint. We soaked in the good air and sunshine (free Vit D), then headed down the road on our loop hike. There was intermittent snow and ice on the road, but the temperature still allowed us to be in light layers. After a little more than a mile, we reached the Hidden Tiger trail and headed up on the quad-burning steep trail for a little less than a mile to gain over 800 feet and reach the Tiger Mt Trail.

frozen fog on fern
In a short bit, we turned off that to the One View Trail, then the RR Grade back to Poo Poo Point.  By that time in the day (afternoon), the paraglider take-off spot was mobbed with people who had also come up high to rise out of the fog and bask in the sunshine. Our departure was delayed as we people-watched, dog-watched, soaked in more sun and just plain lollygagged in the warm and clear air. It was very hard to leave and once we did, we descended back down into the fog, encouraging those we saw on the trail who were coming up, promising that it really was worth the effort.
Squak and Cougar islands



Back at the trailhead, it was as though we had never left, as it was still cold and moist air. But, somehow, the feeling of knowing what was up above and that it was accessible without too much effort, made dealing with the fog much more bearable.

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