I've hiked on Little Mountain more times than I can count. It's my stomping grounds; almost literally in my backyard. So of course I never take a camera, or think about writing about it--it's too much of a snore. But this last Saturday when we had temperatures reaching almost 70 degrees (unheard of in March...heck, it can be a rare thing in June around here!) and no hope of driving to somewhere exciting, (a house full of people coming the next day for Easter...lots of cooking and cleaning and yard work to be done...ugh) it was time to turn Little Mountain into something a little more inspiring, being it was my only option. So I decided it was the day to do what I've been meaning to do for years--up and over.
Rick called the night before, antsy to go anywhere because of the weather being so good and the skiing conditions not so good. (every Washingtonian had being outdoors on the brain, I'm quite sure) Melissa's chore list was even longer than mine, so she opted out. Ken was game though, and so were our girls; (with fully charged ipods at the ready) and thus the Little Mountain expedition was in full motion.
Little Mountain has evolved tremendously in the decade plus that I've lived beneath it. The Mount Vernon Trail Builders have done a TON of work making the trails top notch. I had every intention of showing up on the Saturdays that they have work parties...I managed to show up once. I discovered what it was like to hike with a wheelbarrow of crushed rock; and I'll confess, it really kicked my butt. Not to discourage anyone from helping out with the Trail Builders...but if you do, just remember the emphasis is on "work", and not "party".
Thankfully, there are some real hard workers out there that can handle their wheelbarrows, and they have completed the trails so that you can go all the way from one side of the hill to the other. We left our car at the trailhead on Little Mountain Road, and drove Rick's car over to East Hickox. On the map it shows that there is parking--but don't expect anything like there is at the east trailhead. On Hickox there is just a little sign that shows the start of the trail, and it is super easy to miss. (We drove by it twice)
I don't think we were on the trail more than 15 minutes before the girls were out of sight. It's really not fair to have your legs as 75% of your body; not to mention how tiny of a torso it has to carry. They looked like little gazelles bounding though the forest...oh, to be young again. (Actually, you couldn't pay me enough to go back to middle school--for real.)
We took a nice break at the top to enjoy the lookouts and have a snack. Of course, the girl's break was much longer, considering they got there about 20 minutes before we did. (punks ;)) Ken had fun freaking them out by pointing out the abandoned hang gliding launch, and recalling the story of his friend who forgot to hook in. (more about that on the Sauk Mountain post)
|Too bad this warning isn't on the launch at Sauk|
To get down we took Sidewinder, (without the winding--not necessary without a bike) to Service Road, to Up Only (except we went down), to Laz-E-Boy, to the new Cairn and Nature Trails, and finally to our car and our not-so-patiently waiting tweens who ran the whole way down. (Is there an end to their energy? Oh yes, when you tell them to clean their room ;)) From there it was just a short drive back home, where my dirty house and messy yard awaited. But I was so thankful to have enjoyed a whole morning of sun and adventure on my faithful, always present, near and dear, Little Mountain.