Grand Prospect

I spent much of Saturday traveling home from the Bay Area. Daylight Saving time started overnight. I slept in and lost an hour. I chose an easy drive for my hike. There was little traffic as I headed east past Highway 18 to the Snoqualmie exit. Up the road to Snoqualmie Point and the trailhead. There were a lot of cars outside the gate. Inside the first two rows were mostly full. I packed up and was on my way at 9:42 am. 8:42 body time but still one of the latest morning starting times I will have this year. It was cold but not freezing. I did not have a good idea of the snow level and brought low top boots, gaiters, and microspikes. I made good time heading up to the powerline corridor I passed a group coming down and a single hiker heading up. I reached the half way point at the short route to Stan's Overlook at 10:18 am.  I was making reasonably good time.

The forest opens a little where it drops down to cross the small bridge. Here I began to see some snow alongside the trail. Back in forest it mostly went away. I caught up with a mom and two elementary school aged daughters here. They were talking with a hiker coming down. I talked with them all for a minute and headed on. The ground began to have a light snow cover. It was cold enough that it was still on the trail too. The trail is a little hard to see in spots and with the snow even harder. I scraped off some snow to show the way in a few spots.

I expected the snow to get deeper where it exits the forest onto an old road. That is what happened. It was still only an inch or two deep. Higher up the forest thins and soon there was a small trench in  6-7 inches of snow. Still easy walking. One tree is down and requires going to the edge of the trail to get by. I was careful to not fall down the slope.  A little farther was the last switchback up to Grand Prospect. I considered going up from the switchback to the towers above. It looked like an easy ascent on the thin snow. Not now. I quickly reached GP. There was a couple there when I arrived at 11:20 am. 1:38 is not a bad time with the snow up high for the four miles. There was a little patch of blue overhead. There were no views out at all. Oh well, at least it did not rain.

The couple soon headed down and the mom and daughters group arrived. They seemed chipper and happy after the hike up. I had a little to eat and drink and took some non view photos. The trees were all heavily flocked with fresh snow. It was about as good as Grand Prospect can look. Trip reports from the past few days mentioned a lot of trees down farther up the trail where the big ridge top clear cut is located. A runner came from there and I inquired. Yes, there are a lot of trees down. I had planned to head straight back but I decided to see where the problem is. On a one way trip a few months earlier we looked at a place where it seemed to be pretty easy to climb the slope up to the towers that could be seen above. I wanted to check that spot out too. The trail beyond Grand Prospect was the best of the day. A nice packed trench and more heavily flocked trees. It was very scenic.

The trail climbs a little and before reaching the clear cut and the down trees I spotted a good place to leave the trail. The footing was okay. A little fresh snow over a hard crust. The crust was a bit slick. I managed to weave up the slope missing all the normal down trees. Higher up I entered the clear cut and the snow became much deeper immediately. It was way over my boot tops when I stopped to put on gaiters. The deeper snow also made for much better footing.  It was almost kneed deep with fresh snow. It would have been above the knees on average sized folks.

Above the clear cut I had views out at the partly cleared ridge top of Rattlesnake Ridge. I was almost to the top of West Rattlesnake Mountain. The towers just above me are below the actual summit of the peak. Not only did I have some views now, there was some blue sky and sunshine beating down. The top of the cloud layer was not far above my 3200' elevation. Blue sky, shining white snow and black clouds made fore dramatic lighting. I took way too many photos trying to get a moment when it was just right. It was fun trying. I decided I did not need to get to the real summit again and soon I headed down. It did not take long to reach the trail below. I was only a quarter mile from GP and I was back there in no time. There was a bit of a view down to the valley below but still no views of any peaks. I was soon back on my way.

I met a number of folks heading up as I descended. Over four miles I had long stretches of solitude between seeing other hikers. I saw fewer than I expected. Most of them were in the last mile. I did head over to Stan's Overlook and was still Nolook this day. I reached the parking lot at 1:35 pm. I had 8.5 miles done with 2300' of elevation gain and it was still early afternoon. Even earlier since this was the first day of daylight saving time.  I did have a nice view over to Mt. Si from the end of the lot. Other folks later reported getting rained on to the west on Tiger and Squak Mountains. I had a little rain driving by on the way home. It was dry with that sunshine at the high point so I was pleased with the conditions. The temperature range from top to bottoms wass only 33-36 degrees all day. It was cold but not freezing or windy. It turned out to be a fun half day hike close to home.

Near Powerlines
Mossy Branches
First Snow
Bridge Is Bare
Light Snow Cover
Much Snowier
Trench Begins
Snowy Arch
Tree Blocks Trail
Approaching GP
Some Blue, No Views
Continuing On
Heading Off Trail
Towers Above
Deep New Snow
Snowy Trees
Dramatic Lighting
Rattlesnake Ridge Top
East Rattlesnake Mt.
Top Of The Clouds
Back At Grand Prospect
Buried Bench
Under The Arch
On Old Road
Below The Snow
Green & Mossy
Nearing The End
Mt. Si
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2020