Saturday, January 30, 2016

Non Tandy Hills Type Slippery Sauk Mountain Joey Hike

What with today being Saturday, and Saturday being the day I often go hiking Fort Worth's Tandy Hills, and what with there being what look like hills in the above photo, someone with extremely poor eyesight might think they are looking at the Tandy Hills.

That person would be thinking incorrectly. That is not a hill. It is a mountain. Sauk Mountain, located in the Skagit Valley of Washington state. Sauk Mountain is on the far west edge of the Cascade Mountain range.

I saw the above photo this morning on Facebook, via the first wife of renowned best selling author, Martin B.

Seeing this photo caused me to feel slightly homesick.

Sauk Mountain is one of the more easily accessed Cascade Mountain trails. If I remember right the trailhead was about 30 miles east of my abode in Mount Vernon. Slightly further than the four miles I drive to the Tandy Hills, but infinitely more scenic and more challenging to hike.

I have hiked to the summit of Sauk Mountain multiple times. In summer, when the high country opens up, free of the snowpack, Sauk Mountain draws hundreds of hikers on a good weather weekend day.

My last time hiking to the summit of Sauk Mountain was not on a good weather summer day. It was on a mid fall bad weather day.

My Favorite Nephew Joey and I had been doing a lot of mountain hiking the previous summer, like hiking up Mount Baker.

When Joey and I arrived at the Sauk Mountain trailhead there were only a couple other vehicles parked. And we soon saw that the owners of those vehicles were coming down the mountain, almost to the parking lot.

Joey and I decided to go for it, even though a few flakes of snow were falling. And it was freezing.

If you look closely at the photo above you can see the switchbacks of the trail which takes you to the summit of Sauk Mountain. You can also see that when this photo was taken some small patches of snow remained near the top of the mountain.

When Joey and I did that hike, that fall, there was already an accumulation of snow. When we  reached the last few switchbacks the trail was covered in ice, and slippery, but we kept on going til we reached the top.

And then the snow began falling in copious amounts. Around that time it crossed my mind  that I was being a slightly irresponsible uncle. I told Joey we'd go down the trail real slow, til we got off the iced over part of the trail. And that if we slipped and started to slide down the mountain, to just treat it as sled ride til a stop could be made.

Well, there was no slipping, we made our way slowly back to safety, where eventually the vehicle's heater warmed us up enough to stop the shivering.

Since I have been in Texas, Joey's mom, my Favorite Ex-Sister-In-Law, Cindy, has taken up the hiking sport. Cindy has hiked up many of the Cascade's most popular trails, including Sauk Mountain.

I do not know if Joey has ever told his mother that he and his irresponsible uncle hiked Sauk Mountain in an icy snow storm....

No comments: