The Mountains Are Calling: Mount Si

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Sigh…

Si what I did there? 

Okay. I’m done. Mount Si (pronounced sigh) was our last big hike we did before leaving Washington. As any other Sunday we headed out on July 8, 2018 around 11 a.m. to climb a mountain.

From a previous hike at Rattlesnake Ledge, another must do!, we had seen and heard all the rave about Mount Si. Si is in the Snoqualmie Area and is 8 miles round-trip. As far as elevation goes you’ll get a gain of 3,150 ft in under four miles. The highest point is 3,900 ft. From using our WTA app I found out this mountain was very important to the Snoqualmie people.

“In the legends of the Snoqualmie people, Mount Si was the body of the moon, fallen to earth through the trickery of the fox and the blue jay.”

 

This was a dog-friendly hike so we were taking our German Shepherd/Saluki Mix, Argo, and Drew’s pack. It was the ideal hiking day; maybe even a little too hot: Clear and 72 degrees. As soon as we got near the infamous peak and sheer edges were showing off for us. It’s intimidating to view this driving in but soooo satisfying when you’re driving away. Feeling like a badass=addicting. 

Post-Hike IG story. Can you see Argo’s tired head waiting for ice cream?
IG: @marinslocalcollab

It’s important to note that they have a parking lot but you might find it difficult to find a spot. If it’s a great day expect to create a spot like we (and many others) did. They also have a bus option to shuttle in and out if you don’t want to bother driving. They also have bathrooms and a water spout at the trailhead.

On the way up you have an opportunity to learn about the Snag Flat and how the mountain survived logging, mining, fires, and other natural causes. The trail you walk actually was once a 4×4 track. 

Finding squirrels and chipmunks

By the time we started our hike up it was 12:45 p.m. With a few stops to enjoy the view, catch my breath and dog breaks we reached the top at 1510 (or 3:10 p.m.) 

From the top we could see beautiful Mount Rainier, Snoqualmie Valley, Seattle, and the Olympics. If you look down and around you you can also see small wildlife.

We took turns holding the dog while the other navigated through jagged rocks to climb even further to the peak. If you’re able, go a little bit further up. The view changes with every few feet and you get closer and closer to a 360 view. The true summit is called Haystack.

In early spring, climbers getting ready for Rainier come here with weighted packs. Conventional wisdom says if they can reach the end of the trail in under two hours, they’re ready to conquer the state’s tallest peak. 

WTA

The top is mostly rocks so don’t expect shade for your lunch or snack break. I recommend lots of water, a hat and crouching down under the tree or large rocks you’ll find for shade. 

We started heading down at 3:45 p.m. and were back in the truck by 5:30 p.m. I remember how much my knees HURT so wearing proper hiking gear, layers and good boots will make a world of difference. No, we never used poles. 

As I shared on my Facebook and Instagram (FOLLOW ME FOR REAL TIME UPDATES!)

Conquered Mount Si today and HOLY KNEES AND CALVES this was no joke! 8 miles in 5 hours. We gained about 1,000 ft in elevation per mile and reached the elevation 3,500 ft. Perfect hiking day with clear views of all the cities and #mountrainier ! 😍
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#mountsi#climb#hike#explore#adventurer#getoutdoors#optoutside#pnw#themountainsarecalling#mountains#workoutcomplete#sundayfunday#upperleftusa

This kicked my ass!

Not only was it a steep and slightly challenging hike there were a lot of people on the trail (100,000 per year hike this trail) and I was at the battle of some health issues that would last a few months. But, as with all of our hikes, I was impressed that I was capable of handling something like that in good time and the view is always worth it.

Don’t let this scare you away though! Novice hikers are just as welcome and enjoy it just as much. We had so many friends who denied (and continue to deny) exploring the areas we live in. If you just get out and try you will be in awe. You have no idea what you’re missing until you go see it for yourself. 

Cheers to getting outside and moving today!

Marin

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Our Favorite View in Olympia, WA (And A Few Other Special Surprises)

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If you’ve visited downtown Olympia, WA, you are more than likely familiar with the charming farmer’s market, the eclectic shops, the vast amount of delicious food and local beers and the view of the water.

During our three years living minutes from Olympia we discovered as many easy hikes and places to see as we did new restaurants to try out in the state’s capital. Being from a land-locked state we were constantly in awe of the mountains and water; even in a crowded downtown area filled with concrete and surrounded by buildings.

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There are several short ‘hikes’ and walks you can do nearby and they are surprisingly enjoyable. They are all family, kid and dog friendly so it was great when we had visitors. Some of our frequent stops were Mima Falls (read more here), Tumwater Falls, try the restaurant out, too, Watershed Park, Priest Point Park which we frequently took guests of all ages, Capitol Lake Trail which is a surprisingly great hike with great views of the capital dome before filling your growler, Tolmie State Park, and the Chehalis Western Trail which was right next to our subdivision and offered a great place to walk, run and ruck on gameday weekends.

 

Just to name a few.

But they mostly revolve around the Budd Inlet: a deepwater shipping channel has been dredged providing access to the Port of Olympia. You can walk the boardwalk and Percival Landing in downtown, watch the sunset over the water while eating supper, check out the houseboats parked at the docks or enter from multiple trailheads. One of the hikes we did near the water was Burfoot Park which welcomes families, sunbathers and dogs alike.

 

Burfoot Park covers 50 acres of property with 1,100 feet of saltwater beach frontage on Budd Inlet. There are nature and beach trails (beaches in WA=rocks so wear good shoes) with clear views of the State Capitol and the Olympic Mountains. There are also shelters, a playground, a garden and bbq grills so I frequently saw birthday parties and events going on on the lawn.

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My husband, dog and I headed out on a gorgeous day for the three-mile trail and to play in the water. We had fun walking through the forest, reading signs as we went down the path and it opened to a rocky beach filled with driftwood, sailboats and others looking for a sunny day out.

There were a few large fallen trees we hopped over to travel further down the beach until we reached a ‘No Trespassing’ sign of private residents. There were some crabs and fish in the water including salmon jumping several hundred feet out. Argo was not a fan of learning to swim in the freezing cold water and we decided to turn around. By this time the water had crept up over the trail a bit and we made a loop back. It was fun to watch the dogs run around in the walks and see the salmon jump by sailboats with the mountains in the background.

To get all of these views only a 10-minute drive from our house and a few minutes walk down to the beach access was incredible. If you’re looking for a casual bite to eat in town we loved The Spar Cafe (McMenamins chain). If you go you HAVE to get their truffle fries, add cajun tots side to your entree and top it all of with, my personal favorite, a Ruby Ale. We also had delicious post-hike pizza and built our own six pack at the Oly Taproom.

If you’re looking for any other suggestions, send me a message for more recommendations!

I hope you have a great time in town and I know we can’t wait to come back up.

Cheers!
Marin

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