Mount Peak Piqued My Curiosity

When I had a few hours to kill I climbed the Enumclaw landmark and found it to be more challenging than I thought it would be.

I had planned to go to the library to write stories for a few hours. But I forgot. The library isn’t open on Fridays.

So, I had a couple of hours to kill before the home football game, so I decided to climb Mount Peak. I had heard while it is steep, it’s also short so it only takes about a half-hour to climb.

I hadn’t been hiking in about year. I climbed Mount Si last summer with a friend. It was grueling as I hadn’t been on a hike like that in about 20 years. It was four miles up, and that took about two hours. But it wasn’t any faster coming down because my legs were so wobbly I had to take it slow. Ski poles for support would have been a great idea, coming down especially.

Mount Peak is like a mini Mount Si. It’s about as steep. It climbs a little more than 1,000 feet in a little more than a mile if you take the Cal Magnusson Trail, which I did. It’s a little southeast of town on Southeast 472nd at 284th.

I’ve heard the trail on the south side is a little easier. It is longer, but has nicer views. To get there take Southeast Mud Mountain Road and go to about 481st. I’ll try that another time.

There were about a dozen cars parked there since it was a really nice day.  I was not prepared because it wasn’t planned, but it’s a short enough trip I was fine. It would have been nice to have water. I was in tennis shoes, but hiking boots would have given me more support.

I was in jeans, and that was fine even when it’s hot because the entire trek is under a cover of trees so I stayed nice and cool. There’s an outhouse at the foot of the trail, but that’s about it for amenities.

The trail is a mixture of steps, roots and dirt path most of the way, with some rocks near the top. Apparently there is one spot that can get slick because there’s a wire mounted on the side hill to grab on to for support. Two benches at the top surround a foundation that used to be a lookout. That’s the perfect resting spot or a place to grab lunch.

I met a variety of people on the path. Lots of dogs and families use the trail. One dad was carrying a baby in a frontpack while his young daughter sauntered along. At the other end of the spectrum a woman with ski poles was a speed demon. She probably did the whole thing in 40 minutes, while it took me about twice that long.

I was a little disappointed in the views. I was hoping to see the entire Enumclaw valley and Mount Rainier. But the trees are so thick that’s not possible. At one time I’m sure the views were amazing.

There were spots where I could see the city of Enumclaw and the farmlands below. There was even one spot where I could see the new Enumclaw Stadium. That’s where I was headed next for the big game.

Merrilee Robertson September 17, 2011 at 11:36 PM
there should be no bikes or trikes allowed up there....and no trimming of trees. why can't you enjoy what is? quiet and woods......does everything have to have a view for you to enjoy?
Nancy Merrill September 18, 2011 at 05:46 AM
Steve, there is a spot just below the top where you can get to a lookout of Rainier, if that is important. But Mt. Peak is much, much more than a place to seek a workout or views. It is a magical opportunity to escape into the woods just minutes from town. When one is watching, there is much to find to enjoy, and look forward to seasonally. The Indian Pipe have just finished their extravagant showing this year, and a partner and I discovered a rare orchid, the Phantom Orchid, several weeks ago! In fact, we found 5! Soon the fall colors will make the backside trails indescribably beautiful, and you will find any number of fascinating funghi and such to watch for. Before long there will be snow, and that is when the huge, old trees stand out so magnificantly - and there really are some grand-daddies there! Unlike Mt. Si, you can get there and back in under an hour. Of course, I never do - it's just too wonderful to be there to race in and out.
Nancy Merrill September 18, 2011 at 05:48 AM
p.s. John, I am very impressed you can take the recumbant bike up there! Bravo!
John Anderson September 18, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Thanks, Nancy. I enjoyed your description of some of the many overlooked wonders of this little mountain. I must also sympathize with Merilee's comments. I can understand how wheels could interrupt the enjoyment of people on this special trail. That is one reason I only ride the road on the back side, one that is still shared with the motor vehicles of the property owners on Mt. Peak. But I would add that the richness and variety of the natural world can be experienced kinesthetically, as well as visually and auditorily, especially in a place of such unique topography. However, a recumbent trike can provide a closeup view of our surroundings from a unique perspective. I love to ride in the woods at one mile an hour or less, stopping frequently, just to see the familiar with eyes 24 inches off the ground rather than 64. It is like the connection you have to a water environment in a sea kayak, quiet and close, wearing your transport rather than riding in it.
R September 22, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Use caution, King County Sherif is known for writing parking tickets, I got one last summer.


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