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Monday, July 5, 2010

Little Si

Say "sigh"

I wanted someplace near to avoid the holiday returning traffic. I had never done this classic hike and I figured today was a great day to do so.

The morning was still wet and drippy.

Clouds threatened but never produced. By the time I got to the trail around 9:00 there were plenty of people already in the parking lot and starting out on the trail it quickly became apparent that this was a routine running place for hard core trail runners. The paths were great footing with only a few mucky areas. Much of the way is root and rock steps. It is 5 quick miles round trip and at 1200 gain, a nice little work out with a lot of variety.

There is a lot of evidence of the glacial impact on this area. Some flat rocks on the ground show glacier etching and the whole area is strewn with moss covered boulders.

They add a wonderful visual appeal and a fantastic change from other lowland areas.

Rock climbers find some good training areas here. These two climbers were planning their route up the rock face.

There were some very big trees in the woods, of a girth that says they were easily 200 years plus. Clearly they escaped the ax back when my ancestors set up their mill 20 miles to the west. This cedar had fallen and the exploded trunk was a wonderful contrast of color and texture. Western Red Cedar indeed.

There were not a lot of flowers and fungus but enough to keep my eyes seeking. Near the top I found a lot of Rattlesnake Plantain, an orchid, in spike and ready to bloom in a week or so. The exposed top of Little Si held quite a number of dwarf pine trees I would have expected further east. There were also Tiger Lily

and White Brodiaea, Tritelia hyacinthina,

both unexpected.

The trees of Mt Si were sending off a lot of vapors and this classic hike is a solid 3500 foot gain in 4 miles. It is for another day, perhaps a cool Fall day.

The best view is from the south face with a clear view east up the valley towards Snoqualmie Pass. Unfortunately the clouds are still not burned off when I reach the top.

There were a lot of people on the trail and you cannot help but chat as you walk along. One family with toddlers in their backpacks was training for the STP ( Seattle to Portland) Bike race in two weeks. Another couple told me about one of their favorite long hikes to a place called Otter Falls. It sounds great! This young man was very happy to show off the Monadilia fidelis he found.

There is a side trail called the Boulder Garden Loop. After climbing up Little Si and the easy and rapid hike down, the Boulder Garden gives you a punch. My legs were happy to walk and even jog along the trail, so easy. Then I hit them with the Boulder Garden trail. It starts with a climb then persists with even more climb. I felt like I was climbing back up Little Si except regaining that height in a short distance. The path wound around and between large boulders covered an many types of moss and fern. One tempting trail branched off and I have learned that is one way over to Mt Si.

What a nifty little hike. It could easily become a default where to go for a quick trail explore. The bounty of Rattlesnake Plantain certaily will require a visit for their bloom.


  1. Looks like a fantastic hike. My mom and I use to ride our horse on the trails along Mt. Si when I was very little but I haven't been there since. I may just have to get over there one of these days.

  2. horsemom I received your comment be see that it has not shown up. Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you can bring the boys back to the places you remember from years ago. There are many trails in the lowlands given over to bike foot and horses . You can get all the way up to the Pass and around to Monroe via Fall City Carnation and Duvall on horseback

  3. The pictures of the exploded cedar are spectacular. Sounds like a lovely walk along a great trail. Can't wait to see the Rattlesnake Plantain.

  4. Love the shots of the water drop with the refractions, and the snail. Is it really as big as it looks?

    We're home again and I'll blog some of my pictures and a diary of the trip when I get a chance, but we had a great time.

  5. The snail was , I would say, the biggest I have ever seen. It was not at all shy and was putting on a show. The boy was about 8 , the snail shell, perhaps 2 inches at the widest.

    I look forward to your adventure stories