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Saturday Hiking – Rattlesnake Traverse

In the back of my mind I have wanted for a long time to do the Rattlesnake Mountain Traverse. But finding a partner who actually enjoys doing this kind of hike…is well, not so easy. Late last night TwoFourtyJeff had emailed me to see if I had any ideas to recommend to him for the weekend. So I tossed it out. And he agreed.

So off to the trail I went this morning. We met at Rattlesnake Lake, outside of North Bend. We left the truck there and headed to the other trailhead with his car. Looking up at The Rattlesnake Ledges from the road:

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We started at the western trailhead, off of Exit 27 on I-90. The TH is at Snoqualmie Point Park. Off we went in the morning. Starting elevation was 980 feet.

The hike to Stan’s Overlook went fast, with the two of us going as fast as we could. As we cruised past the overlook (at 2100 feet) we headed up into the clearcut. Jeff posing or something:

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The trail heads back into forest at that point. Funky lookig pigs snout fungi 😛

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We hit Grand Prospect, another area with a great view of Mt. Si and North Bend way below. This is where the snow started. We took a lunch there, sitting on the benches and just kicking back.

We headed off into the woods, on solid snow. We came to a junction where we saw a FS style road below us a few feet away. We decided to go take a look and a few feet down we got to see Rainier straight on, showing off Willis Wall:

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On and up the trail went, with the snow getting deeper – around 3 to 4 feet here:

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At East Peak we hit the top at 3500 feet. The snow was 4 to 5 feet (or deeper) here. It was though easy to walk on. You could bite into it. I was wearing my low cuts with OR low cut stretch gaiters which worked well.

The view of Mt. Si and Mt. Tenneriffe across the way:

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As we dropped down from East Peak we finally left the snow behind.

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We dropped fast, heading down to the upper ledges. We passed the first but walked out to the second ledge. Photos of me standing with the Cedar River Watershed far behind me, with the Snoqualmie Pass Mountains in the distance.

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Rattlesnake Lake is far below. The lake was very drawn down. Stumps exposed quite a bit.

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The trail changes fast as you drop down and encounter the turn off for the main ledge (which in the above photo is visible above my head). The place was literally covered in humans/dogs. I hadn’t been to Rattlesnake Ledge since 2004 so it was shocking. We went from seeing few people to suddenly a crush.

Still we made the final 2 miles quick and hurtled down to the starting elevation of 920 feet:

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We reached the truck and sat there for a few, then drove into town and hit up the C-Store at the local Safeway. There is nothing like hiker trash food:

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So a shy 11 miles and a good 2600 feet or so of gain (there are ups and downs). It was to me a grreat hike and I can tell the hard gym workouts/training sessions have paid off. Keeping up with Jeff is priceless! I may well reach my goal of trail running if I keep at it. And that just feeds my desire!

~Sarah

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