Seattle and Mt. Si

Nov. 27-28 1999


random trip report

I flew up to Seattle yesterday morning (11/27) to attend a memorial service for my stepmother Lois. The high point was when the family of Lois's nephew Russ performed a song, composed by Russ's wife Ann-Marie, a setting of one of Lois's poems. Afterwards I drove Steve and his kids to Marysville and watched Matt play in a basketball game (his team got drubbed, 26-7).

The next day I climbed Mt. Si, a minor peak in the Cascades, looming about 2000' over the town of North Bend (where the TV show 'Twin Peaks' was shot). Unfortunately the kids had stayed up until 4 AM and showed no signs of getting up, so I had to go by myself. I left Bothell a little past 10 AM. and arrived in North Bend at 11:10. I drove randomly for a while looking for the trailhead, then broke down and asked someone for directions. At 11:30 I was on the trail.

It was supposed to rain, but the weather turned out to be gloriously clear and sunny, and fairly warm. Rainier was brilliantly visible, its shoulders draped with a shawl of wispy clouds, as was Mt. Baker to the north.

Full of pent-up energy, I averaged 3 miles/hr up the somewhat steep trail. Unfortunately this caused me to heat up like a wood-burning stove, creating a thermal imbalance that had my shirt soaked with sweat. I had no walking stick and no water, and got an odd cramp in my left shin. Note to self: tighten boot laces before starting.

The trail was 4 miles one way (perhaps 'Anderson miles'... they went by suspiciously fast). After the 3-mile mark the trail was mostly through snow. At 1:10 I was at the base of a large tor at the summit.
The way up is via a very steep gully, class 3 I guess.

Several years back I did this in summer, exciting but no problems. This time there was snow, ice, and melting water in the gully. I made it up about 50 feet, but at that point my hands were freezing (no gloves), things looked a bit dangerous, and I was worried about the time, so I turned myself around (sad but true). Note to self: in situations like this, getting down (back to rock, on butt if necessary) is easier then you expect.

At 1:30 I was at the base of the tor; I walked/jogged back down, and was at the car at 2:40. I had right big toe pain and some back nerve pain. Having done Whitney recently didn't make this medium-scale hike any easier.

Getting back to Stephen's house was another navigational nightmare. Then, to top things off, I left my boots on his front steps when I returned to Berkeley. To make matters worse, his vacuum cleaner somehow inhaled and mangled one of the shoelaces.

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