did an 11 mile hike on Saturday with a long drive. I wanted a shorter
drive and hike for Sunday. It looked to be another sunny winter day
before rain returned on Monday. Saturday night I settled on a trip up
and around South Tiger Mountain. The north peak was logged about 10
years ago. The south summit was logged just a couple years ago. I did
one trip up the south summit in February 2020, just before the pandemic
hit. There were a lot of down trees near the top. I expected high 30s
to start. It was much colder. In North Seattle there was fog and 32
degrees. Around Tiger weather stations showed high 20s all around. The
station at Poo Poo Point showed near 50 degrees. Another at 1600' on
the south side of Tiger showed 44 degrees. I was prepared for cold to
start. I held off leaving hoping for some warming. When that did not
happen I headed out. I arrived at the trailhead at 8:20 am. There was
one car there. On the drive in the Chirico Trail was full with cars
parked along the road. I like less crowded. One more car pulled in as I
was starting out at 8:25 am.
I made good time trying to warm up. It was 27 degrees. I reached Holder
Gap at 1.4 miles in 30 minutes. I heard voices catching up with me as I
arrived. I went left then steeply uphill on the South Tiger Traverse
Trail. They must have taken the TMT as I did not see them. The steep
road climb brought me to the power line corridor. It was now noticeably
warmer. Add in some sunshine and it felt much warmer. I had views west
to the Olympic Mountains. The fog was just in the Seattle area. I had
blue sky from Eastgate on. With no low cloud cover where did the
significant temperature inversion come from? I still have no idea. The
road used to revert to trail beyond the power lines. Now it is a new
logging road with trees cut down on both sides. I continued up the
road. The point where the South Tiger Traverse Trail turns
off the road is well signed. I continued up the road gaining more
elevation. The trip would not have a lot and I wanted to add a little
more. When the road flattened I turned around. I now had a great view
of Mt. Rainier. The low morning light lit up the mountain.
Dropping back down to where the trail leaves the road, Rainier is still
in sight though not by much. It was nice to be back on soft trail. The
route enters forest and stays there for a while. It reaches the clear
cut of the top of the south summit of South Tiger Mountain. The trail
turns north just into the clearcut. I could have gone for the summit
from here. I chose to go on to the start of the old way trail to the
top. In 2020 I took that trail a short way and lost it n down trees and
slash. I thought I would see if anyone had tried to repair the old
route. The big old stump with a face cut into it is still at the start
of the route. I was only 200' below the summit. The trail starts out
okay. Soon enough I lost it at several big down trees. I never found
any part of it again. Now it was just slog up the slope trying to avoid
all the big down trees, piles of branches, and sticker bushes. It is
not difficult but is a real pain.
Part way up I hit the new logging road that comes up from near the
saddle between the two South Tiger summits. It does not go any higher.
I was back to cross country travel. The top is a mess of down trees,
small branches, and holes to avoid. The very top requires climbing over
trees in about all directions. It is not worth the effort unless one
just wants to reach the top. I did find that there is now a view of
part of the buildings in downtown Seattle. I was surprised I could see
it over taller Squak Mountain from only 2020'. I could also see that
the towers rose above a sea of fog in Seattle. I arrived on top at 9:56
am. Photo opportunities and navigating the clearcut slowed me way down.
From here it was much easier to drop to the saddle between the two
summits. There I picked up the road and then boot path up to the north
summit. In 2012 the views were great after it was clearcut.
Now the new trees are 20'+ tall and there are no views at all. I had my
lunch break here.
Next, I dropped back to the logging road and followed it down to the
north. Part way down I took another road heading left. It quickly
reached the South Tiger Traverse Trail. Even for a short distance I
prefer the trail to the road. This brought me to another logging road.
Across the road is the old horse trail up to the Carole Hapke picnic
spot. Three is a cut on a tree but no trail sign. It is getting very
narrow at the bottom as trees grow and nobody cuts them. The going is
better higher up. This once lead to a viewpoint but the trees have
grown a lot since I first visited it several decades ago. It was one
more spot to add a little more elevation gain. I dropped back to the
road. I had now traveled 4 miles. Half way done and I had not seen a
single person. Heard but not seen. In 2020 I spotted a woodpecker here.
This day I heard a woodpecker. Same guy?
The road starts dropping. I quickly picked up the road I took from
north South Tiger. Two runners passed me by. The road drops to meet the
Tiger Mountain Trail. (TMT). In 2020 I turned left and followed the TMT
to the old railroad wreckage site. That added 1.2 miles round trip. I
debated doing it again bu my feet were getting sore from the two days
of hiking. I went to the Main Tiger Mountain Road and decided to just
head back. The TMT is a fun hike along the backside of South Tiger
Mountain. There was no sunshine at all in the forest and a little
chilly again. There was some sun shining through the trees. Since most
trees were draped with moss the sun really lit them up. I also saw one
tiny lone yellow wildflower. It was not a yellow violet or a buttercup.
I'm not sure what it was. It was the first wildflower I have seen this
year. The grade is very gentle and I set a good pace but stopped many
times for photos. I finally ran into some hikers heading out as well.
The TMT hits a logging spur and then the main power line corridor. I
was back in the sunshine. It soon leaves the road for forested trail.
That was about it for sunshine this hike. The trail brought me back to
Holder Gap. Just 1.4 miles to go. The fist .40 miles is two different
trails. I came up on the hiker trail and went down on the horse trail.
The hiker trail crosses a steep slope on a narrow trail near the Gap.
The horse trail is wider all the way. I usually go up one way and down
the other. The last mile went by pretty quickly. I did have a lot more
sunlit mossy trees that slowed me down. That ended being the photo
theme for this trip. I arrived back at the trailhead along Tiger
Mountain Road at 12:20 pm. I hiked 8 miles with 1700' of gain in 3:55.
Considering the lunch break and 140 photos that was not a terrible time.
This hike accomplished all my goals. I had a short drive and an easy
hike by the numbers. The clearcut slog was a bit more work and much
slower. I did see a number of folks the last 2 miles but the first 6
miles I had a lot of solitude. It was much colder than expected at the
start but as I climbed it became much warmer. This might be the first
time I can recall the temperature doubling during a 4 hour hike. It was
27 at the start and 54 at the end. That is pretty warm for mid
February. I was even home hours before the Super Bowl started. A fun
day on a close to home trail.
Click on thumbnails to get
Lots Of Open Parking
South Tiger Traverse
Power Line Corridor
South Tiger Is Above
On Boot Path
On South Tiger Summit
Sort Of View
Yellow Rose Of Tiger
Back On ST Traverse
Carole Hapke Spot
On The TMT
First Wildflower 2022
3 Mile Marker
More Good Colors
Fungus & Moss
Trail In Trench
More Mossy Logs
Nearing The Car