Hiking is difficult in the fall. Between the workload from classes (yes, I am prioritizing school mom), coordinating with friends on a date/location, and the unpredictable Washington weather, hiking the beautiful PNW is halted.
We were determined to sneak in one hike before the second round of midterms consumed all of our free time and settled on Mt. Pilchuck, rain or shine. In typical fashion, it would have to be rain.
Polly, Hunter, Winnie, and I embarked on the early morning drive on Mountain Loop Highway and watched the rain hit the windows and the fog roll over the mountains. We weren't really surprised, but prepared for the worst with layers of raincoats. Oddly, when we pulled into the parking lot, the weather was mild and quite pleasant.
The trek up started out fine and dandy until the rain began and the slope increased. We would stop every so often to catch our breath (I was out of shape, actually I think we were all a little out of shape) and remark how soaked we were.
Once we emerged from the main tree line into a boulder field, we searched for the lookout. Polly pointed in a vague direction which was basically up much to my chagrin, but we couldn't locate the structure because of all the fog.
On we went, actually up is a more accurate description. It honestly felt so long because we couldn't see our end destination. As we neared the top, the temperature dropped while the wind picked up. It was a bitter cold. At the last turn, we spotted the faint outline of the fire lookout along with a brief scramble to get up to it.
WOW WAS IT COLD. The wind blew the fog all around us along with the freezing rain as we attempted to get past the rocks and get to the ladder to climb up to the lookout and into warmth. It felt so good to get out of the cold and into shelter. The next fifteen minutes consisted of us attempting to warm up and throwing on every layer we brought along. I can honestly not recall a time when I was this cold. We slowly ate our lunches and prepped ourselves to look outside.
Unfortunately, the fog obscured the view below, but it was kind of cool. A white wall surrounded us completely. After about five minutes, once again we were freezing and scurried over to the side that was blocking the wind the best. Also, I forgot to mention, Hunter wore shorts for some reason.
We all popped back into the lookout one last time before dashing down the mountain to avoid the cold. As we arrived back at the boulder field, the rain finally subsided and we warmed up a bit and continued down. It was a fun hike, although I'll have to do it again sometime in order to see the valley below.
On the way home, we cranked the heat on high and made a pitstop at food stand on the side of the road. There was so much fresh food, and the perfect way to end the day! We stocked up on snacks and veggies, messed around, then made our way back to Seattle.