Gary wanted to get in at least
3000' of gain. He was not free until the afternoon. Since we could not drive
far and I was too beat from snowshoeing the day before to try Mailbox, that
left Mt. Si. We did not want to just go up and down the new trail so we
agreed to meet at the Mt. Teneriffe road to stash one car and make it a
loop trip. The day before had been warm and sunny. This day was overcast
and a little cool though not cold. I had naively hoped that Si would be
mobbed the day before and only crowded this day. It was not to be. Gary
managed to get the last parking spot at Teneriffe. It was more crowded than
I have ever seen it. Driving in I saw that the official and unofficial Little
Si lots were over filled. Along the road was also bumper to bumper. The
big Si lot had cars visible in the last row near the road. I had had an
off beat idea since the morning and Gary strangely had the same one.
About 10 years earlier when the Si trail was closed
for major work we searched around and found an old, long abandoned trail.
At that time the tread was pretty good. Since then there has been logging
at the start and we didn't know if we could find the old trail. Still, an
attempt was more appealing than joining 300 people on the new trail. We had
similar memories as to how the trail started. We looked around for some kind
of tread and found none. What we did find was a mass of blackberry bushes
and salal. I tried tromping across the blackberries and promptly fell in up
to my waist. Not a good start. I won't even mention tripping over an unseen
cable and falling flat on my face. As a last resort we headed lower down and
cut around the worst of the sticker bushes. A steep climb using hands and
feet brought us into thick salal. Salal but also more stickers. Game trails
provided enough room for us to make some progress. At long last we came out
on an old road. We remembered that the route angled left so left we went.
The road soon deteriorated to a trail then nothing. We headed back and Gary
picked up a small game track heading uphill.
Heck, we had nothing to lose, so up we went. This was
all within one large clear cut. If we could get into forest maybe the brush
would lessen. The route seemed to peter out many times but each time we
picked up another faint track. At long last we reached a flat area and the
old remains of a road. By now we were committed, or should have been committed.
I had no desire to try and head back down that mess. At least the old road
made for easy progress. We had now climbed about 500' up the side of the
mountain. Suddenly we reached the last thing either of us expected to see.
It was a nice well maintained dirt road. Down the road below us was a nice
new car. How in the world could someone drive that far up Mt. Si? Without
a word we both stopped talking and hurried up the road. Had we stumbled
into something we shouldn't have? We quickly got out of there. That road
remains a mystery to us. The route now consisted of a series of old logging
roads. These have not seen use in many decades. We carefully checked each
possible intersection trying to take the most obvious one. When in doubt
the rule was to the most uphill and left most option. At one point we both
recognized a section from 10 years earlier. A section of honest to goodness
tread appeared with cut logs even.
At long last we reached the old Si trail. It was not
where we expected to be. Oh well, it was an adventure. From there to the
top we saw one group of two hikers. At the top was another story. The usual
mob scene was in full force. Clouds were all around but we could see down
to North Bend and across towards Rattlesnake. It was much clearer than when
we began. Short sleaves gave way to long and a breeze began to blow. Our
ascent route was very interesting but not quicker. We could have made it
up and half way down in the time it took. After a late lunch or early dinner
we headed out. There were only a few small patches of snow on top. We headed
towards Teneriffe and the snow began. The first part down gets little sun
and it really holds the snow. We made it all the way back to the Tenerrife
Road intersection before seeing any dirt. Snow was off and on for the next
half mile before finally ending.
The rest of the way down the Teneriffe Road was long
but not unpleasant. This was the first time Gary had been on the section
below the Si turnoff. It was no surprise when Gary's car was the only one
left in the lot. A quick trip back to my car and we closed the loop. We succeeded
in avoiding the crowds but had quite a bit more of an adventure than we
planned on. I think I'll leave that old trail alone for a long while. In
the interest of keeping people off of private property no more information
on this route will be given. Stick to the real trail and save yourself from
getting scraped and torn up by the stickers.