Mt. Si

     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.