David has been working weekends, so weekdays are his weekends, and he was kind enough to invite me to accompany him to Mt. Ellinor, where he has been wanting to hike. There is a six-mile trip and a three-mile trip. Six sounded like more of a challenge, but the second half is considered extremely steep, so to play it safe (for me), we started at the upper trailhead. Thank goodness we did!
The elevation gain was about 2,400 feet in 1.5 miles; oh my goodness. David is quite fit; I was panting and sweating from the beginning, as the trail headed steeply uphill and never stopped. Long rocky steps, slushy snow, mud, switchbacks and scree alternated with each other. The trail was beautifully maintained, and we had a gloriously mild, "bluebird" spring day in which to enjoy the natural world of the Olympic Peninsula. But I was not nearly fit enough for this trip, and it showed immediately.
The summit views were spectacular. We saw two white mountain goats on a snowfield below the summit; we saw Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and a panorama of the Olympic Mountain range. I truly enjoyed the hike on the way down. But going up was a hard slog.
|Summit view to the west - Olympic Mountains in the background|
|Summit view to the north, with Hood Canal partially obscured by high clouds|
|On the summit|