Having been on one of the most beautiful hikes during our trip to
Seattle, it would be a grave disservice not to post a few pictures of
the hike here. For all you Microsofties out there (and other geeks in
Washington state), I highly recommend getting out of the office for this
hike. Bring some water and sunscreen.
The four to five mile trail begins on the Pacific Crest Trail No. 2000
(the entire Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Canada to Mexico) from
Chinook pass. At the parking area, you’ll cross Route 410 by walking on
a wooden overpass seen above. The two in the picture below are the
friends we visited, Dan and Grace Kalish.
Car careens off the road while hikers wave at camera.
After a bit of hiking, through lush green forest, we came upon the first
of several lakelets. The hike has an elevation gain of just 700 feet, so
it’s fairly easy, though we managed to make it a challenge by taking a
wrong turn and visiting a full fledged lake. The detour set us back
around another half hour.
Dan wonders how those people in the lake got so small
Akumi and I had a plane to catch that evening and we were running out of
time and getting a bit worried. It took us a bit longer than we expected
to get out here, and the unexpected detour cost us even more time. At
that point, we decided to play it safe and return back the way we came
and not complete the loop. What a terrible decision that would have
been. When we returned to the main loop, another hiker told us we were
exactly halfway around the loop. That led to the obvious conclusion that
we should continue. What a fortuitous decision, as this trail saves all
the best views for those willing to stay for act 2.
You’ve seen one picture perfect lake surrounded by violet wildflowers
in the woods with an enormous mountain backdrop, you’ve seen them all.
Man loves nature. Man eats nature.
Not one to let a photographic opportunity go by, we made sure to pose
for a group shot with our new friend, Mt. Rainier. As big as it looks in
the photos, it looked absolutely ginormous in person. It positively
encroaches on us as we take this shot.
That cardboard backdrop is so damn convincing!
For most of the rest of the hike, we were treated to wonderful views of
the mountain. It started to get rather blase. “Yet another view of the
one of the most spectacular woodland scenes I’ve ever seen. Ho hum.”
Tired of my incessant demands to stop and pose, my friends pose a
Rainier tries to hide behind some trees.
At the end, the hike ended up being reasonably vigorous due to our
detour, but quite manageable over all. The next time we hike here, we
plan on making it a picnic next to the lake with the view of the
mountain. I highly recommend this hike.
Directions From Seattle: via the Seattle Post
Go south on Interstate 5 and take the state Route 18/Auburn exit
(before Tacoma). Follow the signs to Auburn and state Route 164 (take
the second Auburn exit off Highway 18, not the C Street exit). Follow
164 through Enumclaw to state Route 410 and turn left. Continue east
to Chinook Pass, about 44 miles from Enumclaw. At Chinook Pass,
continue a short distance past the wooden overpass to a parking area
on the left side of Route 410 (the Mather Memorial Parkway). This is
the parking area for the PCT with stock access and portable toilets,
elevation 5,040 feet. If you are beginning from Tipsoo Lake, park at
the Tipsoo Lake picnic area lot and look for the signed Naches Peak
Loop trailhead opposite the lake.