Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mt. Walker Has It All

Rain was predicted, but we went anyway. And typical
of the fickle Pacific Northwest weather, it was mostly sunny on our hike up Mt. Walker on Wednesday. For those of you who have hiked up Mt. Walker in the past, no this was not a dare, and yes we did bring a three year old and a 1 year old up to the summit with us. Not so much we, but Elisa. The truth is, kids always want their mom. Plus, Sam is NOT a baby and does NOT need to ride in a backpack thingy for those types of people! Jeez! It's hard to argue with a three year old capable of hiking a 2 mile trail that climbs 2,000 feet in switchback after switchback. Whew! Okay, I confess I picked him up a few times and even tried to put him in the backpack, but he really wanted to hike and hike he did.

We made it to the top in two hours. I wildly underestimated the time it would take us to get to the top with two small children in tow. I was thinking 40, 45 minutes to the top. Which was accurate for the downward journey, but wildly optimistic on the upward trek. Grades of 10 to 12 percent are encountered on this hike, but we weren't on a tight time schedule and we both had a good mindset, so all was well. Eli got to get out and stretch his legs a bit at the top, we all enjoyed a good snack, and Sam got to have mom carry him (and his brother) for most of the way down. His little legs were finally pooped after running down the first quarter mile and falling hard on a large rock in the trail. Elisa achieved supermom status in my book, yet again. Though her e-mail the next day saying, "I can........hardly walk.", did cheer me a bit. Ha!

The summit of Mount Walker has two scenic viewpoints that are joined by a 1/2 mile loop trail. When the gate is open you can drive to the south viewpoint on the 4 mile dirt road. The Mount Walker Road is right on Highway 101 just south of Quilcene. The trail head is just a short walk up the road on the right hand side. The trail is well maintained, well traveled, and must be glorious in May and June when all the rhododendrons are in bloom as they are abundant from top to bottom. I'm planning to go back in May with my own (not so) little hikers.

Elisa had two different styles of back packs (one for me and one for her, though mine remained mostly empty) and she switched the packs out on the way down. Apparently, the softer style baby pack is much more comfortable for mom and baby than the rigid frame style. I would have to agree, even though I wasn't actually carrying any real weight in either pack, the soft pack was barely noticeable on my back. I'm not sure of the brand......Elisa?

Anyhow, what a great adventure with the little rascals. We are both looking forward to hiking/running up with just a water bottle in hand sometime in the near future.

Elisa, Sam and Eli are ready to hike. (above left)The Hood Canal glistens below as we near the summit (above). We watched a cargo ship cruising down to Seattle in the newly named Salish Sea, but alas, Mt. Baker was obscured in clouds to the north (summit, left). Mt. Constance is shrouded in clouds to the west and close by from the north viewpoint (below).

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