Poo Poo Point Via High School

     I have a three day weekend coming up and planned to get out at least two days. Unfortunately the weather forecast called for sunny and warm today and raining all weekend. With that in mind I worked until 1:00 and then headed out to Issaquah to get in a spring like hike. Before leaving I checked the Internet and found that it was 62 degrees on the plateau above Issaquah. With those conditions I put on shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  The lot near the high school was full and there were only two on street spaces to be found. I guess others couldn't pass up the sunny weather either. I was on the trail by 1:45 hoping I would not need my headlamp. I had heard that the Poo Poo Point trail had been cleared of blowdowns and wanted to see for myself. I also hoped to see maybe one violet or other early flower. I was disappointed by the lack of flowers but everything else was superb.

     The trail is easily graded and gains 1800' over 4 miles to the West Tiger Railroad grade. As I have seen on other sides of the mountain, there were few blowdowns below 1600'. The affects of one big one was seen at the big bridge. All three rails on both sides of the bridge were broken out. A big tree must have slammed into the bridge. The bridge itself held up fine. Surprisingly, I could not find obvious remnants of the tree below the bridge. Although we have had a fairly wet winter so far there was little mud on the trail. The one short bad spot higher up was not too bad at all. Three or four short clumps of downed trees were passed and all have been completely cleared. The real damage was done in the last 200' vertical feet below the railroad grade. Many trees blew down and the root balls ripped up the hillside but good. Trail crews have completely repaired this spot. A section of new trail switchbacks up through here. All in all, the trail is now in better condition than I have ever seen it. Thanks to all who worked on this section of trail.

     I reached the grade in 66 minutes. My maps agree that it is about 4 miles to here and I can seldom hike 4 miles gaining 1800' at a 16 minute per mile pace. The grade is just about perfect for me. From the intersection at the grade I turned right towards Poo Poo. One point of contention. The sign says 2000' at the grade but my map and altimeter agree that it is only 1900'. It only took another 13 minutes to reach the point. There were 4 cars in the lot. I expected a crowd but there was only one man with a toddler in sight. I sat down at the top of the hill and basked in the sun. I had been quite comfortable all the way up in shorts and a short sleeve shirt. It felt like early May. On top I put on a windbreaker but barely needed it. Baker and Three Fingers were very clear to the north. I could see the Olympics from Mt. Constance to the far north of the range. It was not only sunny, it was crystal clear as well. I was able to spend just about an hour in the sun before heading out at 4:00.

     The low sun was blocked by Squak as I headed back to the grade. It felt about 15 degrees cooler. Only the steep uphill climb kept me warm enough to avoid putting on another layer. At the intersection I was back in the sun and would remain so most of the way down. It instantly reverted to pleasant warmth. The way down was a little slower as I just enjoyed each step. All the cars in the lot must have been going somewhere else as I passed one hiker while ascending and nobody else until the last mile coming out. I stopped for some trail maintenance lower down on the trail and finally reached my car just before 5:30. I still had plenty of light. It may rain on my holiday weekend but I had a spectacular spring day in early February.