joined me for an after
work hike. For most of the past week the Puget Sound lowlands were
under all day low clouds. The mountains were bathing in sunlight. We
wanted to get in a hike and get out of the clouds. I was waiting for a
delivery and it did not come until 2:10 pm. I called John and we
decided we still had time to go up to Snoqualmie Pass. I was a little
late getting started but made very good time. I reached the pass at
3:35 pm. Up into the PCT parking lot and John was waiting. We were on
the trail at 3:41 pm We quickly turned onto the unofficial Commonwealth
Creek Trail. A section of it was a small creek. I had not seen running
water here before.
After a pretty flat start the trail climbs up into the basin. It was
about 65 degrees and sunny. Shorts and short sleeves were fine. Much
clearer than back in Seattle. There is a bit of fall color along the
trail. We also saw a few good sized mushrooms too. I don't
hike this trail very often. About half of my trips up it have been on
snowshoes in the winter. After climbing into the basin the grade
lessens. There are several crossings of the creek. It is low but not
mid summer low. I rock hopped the second crossing and John walked the
narrow log. The flat ends with the steady climb up to the upper basin
and Red Pond. We saw a couple groups coming down as we went up. That
was it for the hike.
The climb is well graded but steep enough to build sweat on an October
late afternoon. We hoped get up to the pass and part way down in
daylight but knew we would need headlamps coming down. The last bit to
the basin is out of the forest and we had some views. We took a short
break when we reached the upper basin. Some water and food an we headed
up. Red Pond can be nearly dry by late summer. It had more water than I
expected. Mt. Rainier was visible but the low sun put some glare on it.
Near the ridge top we found a patch of very colorful huckleberry
leaves. The best of the trip. We did this hike after work in August of
last year. We continued on to the top of Little Lundin Peak. In October
it would be dark much earlier. The summit was a maybe.
I had done 20 miles of hiking on Saturday and Sunday. After a day of
rest I was not as fast as usual. John had not been out for a few weeks.
He was faster than me. I was not sure the peak would work this evening.
We reached the ridge top and had some nice views of Thompson and Big
Snow to the north. After another photo break we continued on to Red
Pass. The breeze was a bit chilly and the sun was close to disappearing
behind the peak. We sat in a patch of sunshine and took our last break.
We arrived at the pass at 5:27 pm. We left at 5:48 pm. He had about an
hour until sunset. The trip down started slowly as the lighting was
really good at this time. Red Mountain and Kendall Peak looked great.
We took quite a few photos. The red berry leaves looked even
better with less glare than on the way up.
We dropped down to the lower basin and hiked the flat stretch. We made
it across all the creek crossings in daylight. Part way down the steep
section we ran out of light. Time for headlamps. With more light our
pace picked up. Down to the last flat section that led back to the PCT.
A few minutes after that junction we were back to the trailhead. No
broken windows. It was 7:28 pm. We were soon on our way home. The
freeway entrance was closed for overnight construction. The old highway
is now uphill only. We had to detour to the East Snoqualmie Pass
interchange to get on the freeway. It was one lane only for the first
Soon Daylight Saving Time will end and we will be back to mostly hiking
on Tiger Mountain on after work winter hikes. It as nice to get up to
over 5000' one more time. The trip is pretty short at 6.5 miles with
2500' of gain round trip. It allowed us to get up and down early enough
to get home at a reasonable time. It was a fun trip. Good weather, very
few other people, great views, and even some fall color. A fun trip
Click on thumbnails to get
Some Fall Color
Sun Lit Colors
Little Lundin Peak
Red & Kendall Peaks
John & Peaks
Big Snow Mountain
Really Good Color
Still Terrific Colors
Red Pond Below
John & Magic Hour