We began ascending through dense forest, then up a subalpine rocky trail, and finally scrambled over a pile of huge slate boulders to a weathered old fire lookout enshrouded in clouds on the summit.
We couldn’t see much past the big windows of the lookout, where we huddled inside eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But I was hooked. What was out there to see beyond the whiteout surrounding us? I wanted to come back.
|Historic Mt. Pilchuck Fire Lookout|
Recently I had the pleasure of taking fellow blogger Tea of Tea & Cookies on her first hike in the Cascades to—you guessed it—Mount Pilchuck. I figured she might as well walk through a beautiful forest, enjoy dramatic subalpine scenery, and get spectacular panoramic views on this hike not much more than an hour from Seattle.
I, on the other hand, was not so prepared. As we neared the turnoff onto the access road from the Mountain Loop Highway east of Everett, it hit me. Another first—I forgot to bring my hiking boots!
The middle portion of the Pilchuck trail is extremely rocky. At some points along the trail you have to look for yellow arrows spray-painted on the rocks to stay on course. Regardless, there I was, in Mary Jane-style Keens with my twisty ankles, so I tightened up the straps and headed on up.
Not bad for a first, huh?
How about you? Do you remember your first hike or outdoors experience, and how did it affect you? Join in the conversation by leaving a Comment below.
When You Go
Here’s a map showing Mount Pilchuck, which is about 12 miles from Granite Falls and less than a mile or so past the Verlot Visitor Center on the Mountain Loop Highway. After several miles driving up a dirt road to the trailhead at 3,100 feet, it’s 6 miles round trip to the 5,341-foot-high summit. If possible, avoid sunny weekend days because of the crowds you’ll encounter. You do need a Discover Pass for parking here. And don't forget your hiking boots!