- Distance: 10 miles round trip
- Elevation: 3900ft (highest point 5966ft)
- Weather: 40’s and foggy, 50’s and sunny
- Commute from Seattle: 2:30 (Road rough but passable – potholes and washboard but any car should be fine)
- Did I Trip: I postholed and slid into a tree well but did this bad ass spin to make sure I landed feet first instead of letting my face meet a tree trunk (apparently it didn’t look as cool as it felt because no one was impressed)
Trappers Peak is a hike that’s been on my list since I moved here, a list that rarely garners my attention now that I’m turning into a snobby climber. But since Angie needed to be back in Ashford by dinnertime, we needed a short easy hike, and that meant Trappers! Five star views with nothing technical. And since we weren’t doing anything Sunday evening when I tossed out this suggestion, we rounded up Kacie and Tony within a half hour and met at the trailhead for a fire, non alcoholic beer, hot pockets, and some hot wings cooked over the fire. You can guess who ate all the hot pockets (it was me) and most of the wings (also me) and a bag of oreos (me) and a whole roll of TimTams (you guessed it… NOPE it was Angie).
We woke up around 5:30am and started moving. I had a nightmare that the cloud level was just above our heads. I think I’ve established that I have boring dreams. Some people dream about flying or being heroes or climbing mountains and I dream about eating a sandwich, or washing the dishes and doing laundry, or going for a jog, or trying to complete excel spreadsheets except I’m drunk and all the formulas are wrong and oh god will my boss know I’m drunk at work?! That’s about as good as it gets. Well, to get to the point, I woke up, and my dream had come true. It was foggy. Dammit.
We started up anyway. Kacie had the motors on and she and Angie took off while Tony and I hung back. The trail is obvious but a bit brushy right now thanks to spring growth. I believe it follows an old logging road for the first few miles. Flat, even, and straightforward. Finally it turns off the road, gets a little steeper, and you’re on a slightly more wild trail. For the record (because I’m fascinated by this shit), according to google maps, the road actually used to go all the way to the lakes. The trail takes a more direct route, but the road’s still on the map. I’ve been searching for an old map of logging & mining roads from the first half of the 20th century – haven’t found one yet, but it must exist somewhere.
Kacie’s single. I’d say get at her boys, but you have some stiff competition. The local Trappers Peak grouse has already staked out his claim. There’s a pecker joke in there somewhere. We heard some honking in the bushes, and it ran across the trail. Besides looking like it’d make a tasty dinner, this guy was a stunner. All fluffed up flaunting his stuff, with feathers that change color over his eyes (okay I swear they were red and then LATER THEY WERE ORANGE). We stood there snapping pics, and we all agreed the feathers changed color so I’m not crazy. We finally continued to hike, but this guy wouldn’t let Kacie go. Love at first sight, he tagged along beside her following us for a solid ten or fifteen minutes. Kacie fell behind, enamored with her new grouse friend. I mean she’s a Grice, and that’s basically the plural of grouse, right? So it kind of works.
We hit snow around 4500ft and I swapped from trail runners to mountaineering boots (can you say overkill) and waited for Kacie. The trail was still easy to follow in the snow, and we made a great boot path. Soon enough we were at the split from the trail to the lakes and the trail to Trappers, and the fog was getting brighter. My hopes were up but I didn’t want to announce them and jinx it. We started off along the ridge to Trappers, and soon enough, we were suddenly out of the clouds. I ran through the trees to look out over the lakes and squealed, and called everyone else over. Tony was excited, Kacie was okay, and Angie was unimpressed. She’s been all over the world these past few months, so she’s a tougher sell than we are.
The ridge was gorgeous. In and out of snow, some cornices left but some boot path totally melted out. Some small veggie belays, one or two scramble moves. I took photos in every direction. The Pickets were covered in fresh snow. Snowfield looked incredible. We got to the summit and Angie and KC set up on the rocks but I ran over to the true summit, knowing the Pickets were hanging out over there, wanting a better view of Triumph, desperately seeking the “top of the world” feeling I love so much but that’s tough when you’re on a 5966ft peak.
The cool thing about being on a short peak with views is that you feel dwarfed. Triumph looked stunning, and the views of the glacier are awesome, especially if you go over to X peak. We took a solid hour break, maybe more, just soaking in the sun and the views and eating goldfish and chocolate-dipped brownies and laughing at how awake Kacie was even though it wasn’t even noon.
Eventually we knew we had to turn around. The trip down went quickly. We made quick work of the ridge, and were soon back at the trail split. I wiped out due to a posthole and ended up in a tree well (to which Tony announced “DID YOU TRIP?!” but made a bad ass spin and landed on my feet rather than on my face, which had been the potential outcome when I first fell. Tony jogged down a snow slope, postholed, and fell flat on his face. One of the two behind me fell and yelped and I laughed.
Once we hit bare trail, we jogged most of the way down. I periodically stopped to wait for Kacie who is apparently not the biggest fan of running. I fucking love running, and as soon as the skis are off I’m going to be in trail running mode. Summer means speed and not slog!
*Well, it turns out the US Board of Geographic Names has an apostrophe eradication policy (WSJ). There are only five exceptions. They also transliterate freely, including shortening Bangkok’s traditional 189-character name to the 7 letter name we have now. I guess I’ll sacrifice the occasional possessive apostrophe if it means we can keep full names. Thank you for the info, Craig Romano!