Green Mountain #782
Jun 25, 2006
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Green Mountain
- Region: North Cascades -- West Slope
- Agency: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Darrington Ranger District
- Trails: Green Mountain (#782)
- Avg Rating: 3.10
- Be Aware Of
- Snow on trail
After the tremendous success of our first day hike to West Cady Ridge on Thursday, my young Italian buddy was eager to head out again on Sunday. I told him I'd like to go to Green Mountain; long drive, but lots of icy peaks and not too crowded. He asked happily if there will be snow. ""I love theee snow. I FLY on theee snow!"" ""Yes, there will be snow,"" I said with a knowing smile.
Sure enough, he learned that snow doesn't always mean fun (at least going up).
Scenery starts immediately, as Glacier Peak starts to come into view at the 2nd or 3rd switchback (how many trails can say THAT? usually that wild Glacier stays hidden until you get way on top of something). It was of course a pretty hot day, and we took a decently long rest in a nice little grove of 3 large trees nicely placed right before the trail enters the open slopes. At 5000 feet, the trail goes over a little hump and, suddenly, solid snow. It was strange how there was no patchiness to warm you up; it went from nothing to constant (and deep) in an instant.
Not long after that, the trail takes a little dip to the ponds, where we rested for a while (too long -- Italian boy was having too much fun playing in the snow). After ascending a couple hundred feet in the snow, Italian boy needed another break, complaining of a stomach ache. I pressed on alone up the snow, following the footprints that stayed pretty much on course with where the trail would be. But then the last section of snow before hitting the nose of the ridge looked a little steep, even though the snow was pretty soft, and there was a bare area of ground that could take me most of the way up, so I did that. It was a mistake. Those heathery areas are marmot city, and the marmots attract bugs. I got swarmed by these little insects as I trudged up the loose, hole-filled dirt. At the top of that, I still had to cross a short stretch of yet steeper snow, which I did fairly easily with hard steps, and then fight through some brush to joint the trail on the ridge top.
Lookout of Lookouts, Perserved by The Lookout Preservation Society, Darrington High School, NUMEROUS Volunteers, the United States Forest Service, Inductee of the National Register of Historic Places ... is not there. That touting sign at the trailhead is just a big tease, not sure what happened there. A guy sharing the summit with me suggested that the Preservation Society comes up every year to polish the little eye bolt that sticks out of the rock. At any rate, the views were of course amazing, just a panorama of glacier, jagged rock, and deep blue-green valleys, including Downey Creek just below, which had been my first hike of the season. Glacier Peak still dominated, but Dome, the Pickets, Baker, Shuksan, Whitehorse, Sloan, bla bla were all there too.
I headed back down the trail way, and plunging down the snow-slopes, I heard Italian Boy yelling from above -- he had taken a more direct route, pretty much straight up the snowfield to the summit rather than traversing to the right with the trail as I did. The snow was soft enough that none of these routes were particularly risky, but on a cloudier or cooler day, an ice ax might be a good idea.
Going down was fun and quick. I had reached the summit about 5 hours after we left the TH, but from the time Italian Boy left the summit and we arrived back at the car was only about an hour and a half. There's the upside of snow!