Mt. Pilchuck Lookout

I’m happy to post this picture today! This is T-Man (age 7) and myself at the summit lookout on top of Mt. Pilchuck. This is what the mountain looks like this morning from our driveway.

View of Mt. Pilchuck

I may look like death, sweaty and in a tank top that shows off my farmer tan and bra strap, but I made it to the top of one of the hardest hikes I’ve done. The mental battle was just as tough for me, as the terrain. This was only halfway (3 miles) and I was so proud of myself!

What, you couldn’t tell? The simple fact that I’m smiling means I’m doing back-flips on the inside.

I will take this brief moment to say that I am so proud of both my kids for making this hike. They were the only kids on the trail all day and while it made for some additional work for us parents, I can’t imagine leaving them at home in order to do this hike. This hike was my idea and I’ve been waiting for about 6 years to attempt the summit. We see this mountain every day out our front window and I’ve lived in it’s shadow (so to speak) for 3 years. I saw this as our last chance this season to try to get up it, despite not doing the training I had wanted to this summer. I realize that if we were in better shape, had done more hikes and knew the trail better, it would have been much easier on us. As it was, we are average people, we don’t ever give up and we made a huge family memory.

With about a half-mile to the summit, T-Man and I sent Hubby and the Energizer G-Bunny up ahead. T-Man and I worked our way slowly, but surely up the last portion of the trail, with me pushing and lifting him up big rocks and picking our way across the large rock fields and him answering no every time I asked if he wanted to turn around and go back down. There was a very nice woman who gave us a motivational baggie full of mangos, almonds, chocolate-covered raisins and some ginger snaps, as we sat on yet another shady rock. I had one mango and T-Man polished off the rest.

We finally reached the top and Hubby came down out of the lookout to help T-Man up the rocks and ladder.

I sat in that last boulder field, with my legs and lungs on fire, not 30 feet from the top and really thought I wouldn’t make the last little bit. Hubby came back down for my pack, a little pep talk and I managed to crawl up to the ladder and into the lookout.

View Two

I was rewarded with the best strawberry I’ve ever had in my life. Some fellow hiker had given them to G-Bunny to share with the family at the top. T-Man and I sat on the corner bench (first photo) and looked out at the views and I tried not to think about the hike down. I realized at that point, we had climbed to just over 5300 feet elevation. No wonder I was hurting as bad as I was, never mind being terribly out of shape, my sea-level lungs couldn’t get enough oxygen.

Cool Rock and Granite

I had to send Hubby out on the walkway with the camera, while I rested on the bench inside the lookout, to take pictures. My legs were so wobbly and my head was pounding so badly, I was afraid to walk around the walkway and add my fear of heights to it. He took pictures until the battery died and I realized the backup was charging at home. I also had the sinking realization that I will have to hike this trail again to get the photos I wanted.

The Other Peak

After a short rest, we headed back down together. Hubby took my heavy pack (don’t ask) for the trip down and I took his lighter one. I asked Hubby to keep T-Man with him and I would stay in the back again because I was going to have to use every bit of strength I had left to get myself down the mountain. We hiked steadily for two hours back to the car, knocking only an hour off our time for the climb up and collapsed with great relief into our seats.

We all drank the extra water in the car, since we had run out at the top of the mountain. The temperature must have been 85* yesterday and not only was my hair soaked through and dripping wet, both shirts I was wearing were soaked. I had finally stripped down to the tank top, during one of our last stops as we got close to the top and shoved the wet shirt in my pack.

I don’t have any pictures of us at the bottom or even after we got home. We all took showers, found food to eat for dinner and took turns using the foot spa. We were all in bed about 9 pm, sore and worn out, but already talking about our next hike.

I also know how to read between the lines in the hike book we have. I know that, “much rocky tread” means you will have to pick your way through what looks like a quarry blast site. I know that, “granite rock gardens and stone stairs” means boulders bigger than trucks and that my quads will feel like jelly from the 2-foot steps up and down. I will also have sore arms from helping a 75-pound child up these same areas. I know that, “a short easy rock scramble” is what almost kept me from the lookout at the top. I also know that the “Allow for” time was listed at 4-7 hours and we did it in just over 5 hours.

Pretty Awesome!