The realization that I only have a couple peaks left to do along the I-90 corridor has given me something to focus on. Given that I have done most of the more popular ones, I am finally venturing into the less visited sites. One realization so far… there are reasons some of them are rarely climbed…
Mount Gardner is one of those mountains… The trailhead is inaccessible, so you end up parking on a FS road that is gated off (and locked… after I went through it). I took my bike and made it up as far as I could before finally dumping it in the bushes and hiking the rest. Overall the hike was bland, some good views on occasion but it was just a logging road until the last climb to the summit… which was just a bushwhack as there were no trails that I could find. The top had a nice view towards Rainier and the visibility was good, so it wasn’t bad at all- it was an adventure! To keep the adventure going, I made it back down to my car only to realize that the road had been locked. Oops.
After about 2 hours and 45min, I was let out by two police officers (thankfully didn’t receive a $400 ticket) and I made it home. Whew!
Mount Defiance is a gem of a hike however- it uses the same trailhead as a few other hikes, but I had never taken the trail all the way to this mountain. Unlike Bandera and Little Bandera (mainly little bandera as most people stop at this false summit), the trail is not a highway. I had it all to myself as a matter of fact! The flowers up there were absolutely amazing, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds were buzzing me as they collected some sweet high altitude nectar.
This was a much more scenic hike than Mount Kent to put it simply 🙂 I hiked alone as I have been feeling the urge to be that way recently, it allows me to converse with fellow hikers and rangers (if they are present… only 4 paid rangers exist in this ranger district), and I also enjoy the solitude. The hike was rather easy and I enjoyed every second of it- I took one break at the top but I enjoyed the feeling of my legs moving again. 4.75 hours up and down with 11 miles traveled and 3,300+ ft of elevation gain.
The Beargrass was amazing!
I also went on an evening kayak trip- drank some ginger beer and ate Ivars’ fish and chips on the Mukilteo beach while waiting for the sun to set and the waves to calm down a bit. Eventually they did, and my friend and myself fought the waves and current a little bit before turning South and hoping that the waves would die off as the sun set. The evening was filled with splendid views, some trains, and a seal that thought we were interesting. It was good to be back on the water again! No pictures were taken as the water was rough, but it was a perfect sunset.
Then lastly, I tried Mount Kent today- the last of the Southern Peaks… but fell ill and turned back after only a short hike up. I was so close to being done… but that combined with the thunderheads forming above killed that opportunity!