PCT Hiking Snoqualmie Pass To Stampede Pass – it was September 27th, 2008. The idea was park a car at each end, one at Snoqualmie Pass, the other at Stampede Pass. And walk Southbound on the Pacific Crest Trail from pass to pass. In a day. Teresa, Steve, and Jeff joined me.
It was an early start, leaving one car at Stampede Pass, which is a drive over Snoqualmie Pass on I-90, then in on a FS road. When we got there we encountered a number of Eastern European mushroom pickers heading out, a few who were drooling over my Benz I was driving (before the little ones were born I had a bio-diesel Benz I drove nearly everywhere). Like they were touching the car and asking me what kind of man did I have that let a lady drive such a car. I might have slightly hit the gas just right on the way out to give them a diesel toot 😉
I’d like at some point to re-do this section and compare mileage. It was about 4500 feet cumulative gain and various maps had the mileage at 18 to 20 miles.
The first part is climbing up the first ridge, through the ski area. Looking back across with the mountains on the other side of the PCT.
The first miles go quickly, past Beaver Lake, Lodge Lake and small lakes without names.
We had picked the right season for berries – with plenty of wild blueberries, huckleberries and salmonberries.
And old trail sign for the CCT (Cascade Crest Trail). Stuck in some not so pretty woods, where the sound of I-90 was with us (you could look and see it as well).
Another old sigh, this one destroyed.
Looking Westbound down I-90. Around this area you walk over the snoqualmie tunnel below, that the rail to trail Iron Horse Trail goes through.
Looking across West/North to Granite Mountain and its lookout tower far up there.
Teresa in the open areas.
Wild berries are always worth a little slowdown.
Or really, many, many slowdowns.
This section was for me quite pretty. Little streams, berries, lots of views.
The trail goes through Ollalie Meadow, a prime berry picking area. Serious slowdowns on a day when we should have been walking faster. But it’s easy to ignore that gem when the sun is high 😉
Still so many great Western/Northern facing views.
This sign got a lot of attention that year – it was posted at a road crossing at Windy Pass. As more people from urban Seattle fan out, it has caused more issues with hunters feeling like they have fewer places to be.
These tiny ponds sit just past the barely marked turn off for Silver Peak.
After hooking around the ponds, the trail heads uphill and gets back into forest.
Still gorgeous views….
Gotta climb and pose on rocky outcrops, with Jeff and Steve.
Me and Teresa checking out the views.
We ran into a thru-hiker named Wrongway, who when he finished a few weeks later sent me an email. A sweet gesture!
Oh those sunny days where you take forever in the glorious sections…..
PST marker on a tree….
Jeff and Steve as we finally approached Mirror Lake. The lake is very, very pretty and worth the hike to. You can also reach it a few other much shorter ways. It is a great backpacking destination.
Old CCT marker, being eaten by the tree.
As the trail – and outlet stream – leave the lake and head southbound. Enjoy that last joyful section of woods and sun….
Because this is what you get to see for the next umpteen miles……the clearcuts of Snoqualmie, hidden away from highways. In the distance lies the Cedar River Watershed, which isn’t as pristine as most people Seattle might assume it is….
The headwaters of the Cedar River (which flows through the town I call home), is a lake that sits in a vast meadow.
We took lunch here and cooled our feet off. Long days are good to carry 2 pairs socks, so you can air out, then switch socks. Less chance of blisters.
Twhikight Lake is the headwaters, and it sits at Yakima Pass, elevation 3575. The PCT here goes from trail to old road back to trail.
After lunch, back on the trail. Looking back North at Twighlight Lake and up high where the clear cuts stop – which is where Mirror Lake sits behind. They cut it to the exact line.
Me and Teresa as we climb up, with the meadows below us.
From that point we had signs to our left often telling us to stay out of the Cedar River watershed. The trail crossed old closed roads, sometimes on said roads. You had to pay attention – sometimes even these signs, hidden up in trees. The Meadow Creek and Stirrup Creek areas were pretty, but much of this section wasn’t pretty. I’ll be honest about that.
But also…we were running out of light. As the final 5 miles ahead of us or so, the sun was setting, with a glorious sunset over Mt. Rainier. We tucked in and started walking even faster. A final ridge had us on top, headlamps off. We could see I-90 below us, this time it was looking East. We listened to coyotes, Elk and a cougar echoing. Coming down the ridge we had to turn on headlamps. A sigh of relief….Teresa’s car was there and fine, we loaded up quickly. A drive back down the FS road and back up I-90 to Snoqualmie Pass to get my car, and then a long drive back down to town. Bone tired, we ate dinner and tried to not fall asleep.
It was a hard day, but so worth it. I’d do it again, but start a LOT earlier (no 10’ish am starts….).