Granite Mountain

Granite Mountain is a hike I seem to do every year or two. I was surprused to see that it had been 3 years and 1 week since my last visit. On that trip a sunny fall afternoon turned into a 40 degree early evening with strong winds. No such conditions this day. Another summer like day in early October. I was moderately early arriving at the Pratt Lake Trailhead at 7:45 am. The lot was more than half empty. By 7:55 I as on my way. Even at that hour it was not cold. A long sleeve shirt quickly gave way to short sleeves and shorts. Having come down Little Annapurna and Aasgard Pass six days earlier, I should have chosen a smoother trail. That's the problem with a three year gap on this trail. I forgot just how rocky it is.

At the Granite/Pratt junction I headed right and began to climb in more steeply. I was noticeably slower than usual but kept up a consistent pace. One hiker passed me and I passed half a dozen others. Once out of the forest it was much warmer than I expected. The day nearly reached 80 in Seattle and it was warming quickly in the mountains. I hoped for some good fall color and was disappointed with the lower berry bush leaves. Higher up, with some backlighting, it was not too bad.

Soon the lookout came into view. the shutters are still up. I had hoped the muddy section would be dry but that was not the case. Looked like some recent rain had fallen. Some pretty good color in the upper basin. the last switchbacks seemed to be longer than in the past. At least to me this day. I finally reached the summit at 10:13 am. A not so great time of 2:18. There were a couple guys around the lookout. One more near the high point on the rocks. That was it. Not a bad crowd for a sunny Saturday morning. I had some plans back in town but had time to enjoy the summit. I found a comfortable spot on the rocks and enjoyed the view. Unlike my last visit there was nearly zero wind. I spent the better part of an hour on the summit.

The sky was clear and the views were terrific. From Mt. Stuart to peaks north of Snoqualmie Pass, to Glacier Peak and high points along I-90. Great views. Mt. Rainier was in the clear to the south. More folks began to arrive and at 11:00 am I started down. The sun was now backlighting the leaves in the basin and provided some nice photos. After that I picked up the pace. The one factor slowing me down was the unending stream of humanity heading up the trail. The gaps seldom lasted more than one or two minutes. I did not count but would estimate more than 100 folks passed by heading up. Considering this trail gains about 3800' over 9 miles round trip, that's a lot of folks. Not Mt.Si but much more than I see on most all my hikes. Still, that is what I expected and it did not really bother me. Nice to see so many folks out on the trail.

Though my knees took a pounding my time down was much quicker. I was at the bottom by 12:45 pm. I sliced 33 minutes off the uphill time. A fine hike up with a lot of solitude and a nice long stay on top. I was back home before 2:00 pm. Granite is not on my annual hike plan but it is a great workout with good views. I'll be back in a year or two.

Light On Trees
Light On Trail
Great Leaf Color
Brown Coloring
Mt. Rainier
Lookout In Sight
Backlit Color
Bright Color
Very Nice
Lookout Above
Summit Basin
Glacier Peak
Chair Peak
Kaleetan Peak
Basin Below
Granite Mt. Lookout
View West
Cascade Crest Peaks
Pica On The Rocks
Heading Down
Basin Color
Tri Color
Two Hikers
More Color
Scrambling Ridge
Last Color
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2014