Tiger 1-2 Snow Loop

A last clear day before some snow in the lowlands. There was snow down to about 1000' a few days earlier. I chose to stay closer to home and head over to Tiger Mountain. It was a balmy 38 degrees at Eastgate on the drive over. One hiker started out as I arrived and I never did see him again. I hiked up to the Tiger Mountain Trail on dirt. As I ascended near High Point Creek snow began at about 1300'. At first it was just a little on the ground. There were a number of branches down across the trail from  a recent wind storm. I managed to remove more than half a dozen  bigger ones. Soon I could see footprints in the snow. There was just the one person's tracks in the fresh snow. It was warm enough that the trees were raining down melting snow. I was also working up quite a sweat.

Near where the route meets up with the old High Point Trail once again there is a tree down across the trail. It is so long that going up or down the steep slope would not be easy. I managed to crawl over it with some difficulty. That one needs to be cut out soon. That was the only difficulty on the whole route due to the wind storm. Back on the straight up the slope old route the snow began to get deeper. This old route follows a long gone logging swath and is more open. The bridge had a solid layer of snow up to about 4 inches deep. A few minutes later I reached Fred's Corner.

Here the TMT goes right and I chose to go left. Although I was not far from Interstate 90 it was completely quiet. Perhaps the snow had something to do with it but I could not hear any sounds. No squirrels, no birds, no people, and no cars. My traverse on the old West Side RR Grade took me to the intersection with the Preston Trail. Here I was surprised to see the footprints headed down. Now I would have to make my own trail. In this next section I found many branches heavily laden with snow hanging down across the trail.

The snow was beautiful but a real pain to get by without getting soaked. I had more than a few snow piles go down my neck. A small price to pay for fresh untracked snow so close to home. My pace slowed a lot between breaking trail and fighting around the heavy snow laden branches. I had hoped to take a side trip to the Tiger Christmas Tree but I could see that there would not be enough time. The trail was completely buried and I had to stop a few times to make sure I was still on track.

At the Bootleg Trail junction I turned right and traversed below the summit of Tiger 1. In one open swath I found the deepest snow of the day. It was knee deep for a short distance. Back in the trees it was only about 6 inches deep again. Along this traverse a lone hiker using my tracks caught up and went by me. It had been calm all morning though moderately high winds were forecast. I expected the wind to pick up when I came out of the forest at the Hikers Hut. Instead it was almost calm. Not the rime ice I found last December but still plastered in white.

The bench was almost buried in snow so I chose to hop into the Hut for lunch. It was probably a little below freezing though not  uncomfortably cold due to the minimal wind. After lunch I headed on down the road towards Tiger 2. There were lots of prints in the snow now though I did not see anyone along the way. The one thing I did not have was any views. The cloud level was near the top of the Tiger peaks and I could not see much of anything.

From Tiger 2 I found no trees down across the trail but many more snow laden branches to fight through. I even found two snow arches. Tall skinny trees were bent over and form complete arches with snow frozen to the whole thing. I moved one big branch at the TMT junction with the RR Grade. Just before the big bridge there was a 25' long jungle of bent over trees blocking the trail. I was about soaked after working through there.

From there it was an easy walk. At the power line swath within 1/3 mile of the car I caught up with two hikers. They were the only folks I saw except for the lone hiker near the top. Not bad solitude for Tiger Mountain on a weekend. It turned out to be a great day for a walk in the snow.


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Trips - 2008