A Chilly East Tiger Mountain
While on a trip to Washington last week, I managed a nice hike in the famed Issaquah Alps. I’d vaguely heard of Tiger Mountain, a famous destination in an area draped with trails, thanks to my sister who once lived nearby. The peak usually climbed is West Tiger #3. My approach would instead be from the east to scale East Tiger Mountain, which sounded easier at about four miles one way but still tips the scales at over 3000 feet.
From the obvious parking area on the side of Highway 18, a dirt road wound slowly up the mountain. I figured the road was for fire access, but as it turned out, it was for cell tower workers. Three Ericsson trucks passed me at various points. Ah, life in the land of 4G. The smooth surface made for easy walking, and I tried to make tracks, as it were, since I needed be back in Federal Way before 3 p.m.
Jackie Chan and I didn’t stop until we ran into another man about my age with his own dog. Mine’s friendly. Mine too. Sniff sniff. We walked a bit faster than them and continued upwards. After two intersections, the trail headed upward in earnest and snow appeared on the sides of the road. The walking surface itself got that crunchy permafrost feel, slick in spots. I motored through the cold on that north side stretch, trying getting the blood flowing. Jackie was a trooper as usual.
I arrived on top in about an hour and a half. The summit was not exactly wilderness, with the cell and radio towers, but there were still nice views, and blue sky above felt like a treat for a November day in the Cascades. Jackie sniffed about a bit but was mellow while I took photos. Then the other dog arrived and the romping began, Jackie trying to engage the other dog in a serious game of tag. He’s a funny little pup.
The sunlight on top warmed us up, but I still wore my beanie and gloves. Once I headed down the shadowy road, I felt quite chilly, but
I ignored it, although I kept remembering Marine Corps boot camp and how we didn’t put our hand in our pockets. That would be using “Army gloves”.
I wore my gloves now, no problem. As I descended the first section, I passed a group of older folks decked out in serious gear, all gaitered and wearing heavier boots, while I wore trail runners. The snow never really stuck to the path, so I had no problems, although the cold did make it a bit more of an adventure.
East Tiger Mountain is a nice area, and I’d recommend it for an easy walk any time of year, although visitors should know that the single track trails were closed to prevent damage to the trail, so mountain bikes may be on the road. It is surprisingly close to Federal Way, too. I got back to the hotel in less than forty minutes.
Posted on November 26, 2013, in Adventure, General Hiking, Hiking with dogs, Mountains, Outdoors, Winter hiking and tagged Cascade Range, East Tiger Mountain, Good hikes near Seattle, Issaquah Alps, Moderate Washington hikes. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.