Green Mountain
Day 3

Day 3 - The Descent
It was a strange night. When we arrived back at camp after our trip to the summit my tent and Gary's bivy sack were soaked. A whole lot of dew by 8:30 pm. Then the animal sounds began. I have no idea what most of them were. I did recognize the crazy pikas who stayed up all night sending out one "eek" after another. Don't they ever sleep? One sounded like it might be a bear cub cry. Loud and close by. In all my years of backpacking I've never heard so many loud calls in one night. I was up much of the night but finally got in some sleep later on. The flip side of the early shade on our campsite should have been early light. Well, that did not go so well. One big clump of trees meant no sun until more than an hour after sunrise. Since our trek was mostly downhill this day we slept in. To top it off, the almost non existent bugs the day before were existing this day. Lots of them.

We finally arose at 8:00 am. by 9:30 am we were on the trail. I left rain pants at home to squeeze everything into a smaller pack. If it was as damp on the green slopes as at camp I would be soaked very fast. We climbed up 120' and began the descent. Pretty good views of the surrounding peaks though they paled in comparison to those at sunset. Once in the brush I was relieved to see our pools of dew were a localized effect. Bone dry on the south slopes. It was getting mighty warm even though it was just morning as we reached the end of the open slopes. From there to Downey Creek we would be in dark and cooler forest. That was alright with me.

The forest trail went fast. In no time we were back at the normal parking lot. After a lunch break we soon reached our marked entrance to the old trail. The trick was going in the first few hundred feet and finding the trail. The GPS helped but it was not that accurate. We recognized a few stumps and had less trouble than expected reaching the faint tread. Going down the way looks different when the trail is that faint. It took a little while to get comfortable with our navigation. When it completely faded away the GPS sent us in the right direction to pick it up again. We had left a few markers that helped as well. Interestingly, in the middle of the route there is one solitary cairn. That was helpful too. The going will never go fast with the need to follow the faint route and all the logs to cross but we did make better time going down. The generally smooth tread and thick moss in places was easy on the knees. It was only 1:00 pm when we reached the bottom. Only 3 1/2 hours to descend from camp.

I had biked to the end of the road twice before since the washout. Gary had not been there by bike. As tired as we were and as warm as the day was getting we chose to ride the two miles to the end. No packs this time. There was a big group with three Hilleberg tents in our camp spot at Downey Creek as we rode by. The road is really getting narrow beyond Downey. It has been nearly 9 years now since the last two miles has been closed to vehicles. At the end of the road we went down to the river where we could look up to the Green Mountain summit. We also stopped at the Sulphur Creek Campgrounds. The trees in the road in the campgrounds are getting very large. I'll be glad when it is cleaned out and back in use.

It was uphill to the end and now downhill back to our packs. It was surprisingly shady on the road. That made the entire ride back much more enjoyable. We managed the three hills okay then it was much faster the last six miles. We did pass a number of horse trailers at the end of drivable road before Downey. Looks like a trails crew at work. We made it all the way back in only twice the time it took to change the inner tube on the way in. There were still over a dozen cars parked at the gate after 3:30 pm on a Sunday.

This was a great trip. Other than one distant hunter we saw nobody once off the road. The weather was good. The summit view is extra special. A terrific sunset from a 6500' summit. Seeing a mother bear and cubs. Getting to hike the old trail one more time. Not getting lost on the old trail. Lots of things to be thankful for. I am very glad to have had this trip without crowds but I will be even happier when more hikers can enjoy this wonderful place. For the trip we biked 21 miles with 1200' of gain and hiked 13.5 miles with 5400' of gain.

Lake Reflection
Heading Out
Lime Mountain?
Open Slopes
Thicker Brush
Very Thick Brush
Parking Lot & River
Leaving Parking Lot
Back On Old Trail
Easy Hiking
Thick Moss
Big Trees
Big Tree On Trail
Start Of Old Trail
Green Mt. From Rd End
Suiattle River
Narrowing Road
Sulphur Creek Bridge
Campground Road
Campground Entrance
Zooming Down Road
View Up
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

<< Days 1 & 2

Green Mountain Report

Trips - 2012