Anniversary Hike to Mount Catherine

Anniversary Hike to Mount Catherine

By: Shelby August 9, 2016 9:50 pm 1 comment

Mount Catherine was recommended to me by a wonderful coworker of mine who had just accomplished it. When he told me about it, it ticked all of the boxes that I had in mind for this nebulous anniversary hike: short, scenic, close to home, and not too crowded. We’ve had a busy month in July and didn’t want to spend all day driving or out on the trail, but rather wanted plenty of time left in the day to relax at home together.

Mount Catherine, Hyak, Washington

A goal of mine since our wedding almost a year ago is to go on an anniversary hike every year, and take my wedding dress wherever we go on that hike. Besides being fun, there are a lot of ulterior motives here:

  • I want to stay in shape and always be able to wear it.
  • Get my (mom’s) money’s worth out of it. (thanks Mom)
  • Keep the wedding alive because it was a lot of fun.
  • August is prime hiking season so why the heck not.

    IMG_5061

    I lovingly rolled and stuffed my wedding dress inside of my 65L backpack. It’s never been so full yet so light. I also packed half a bottle of wine in a platypus inside my lunchbox and wet wipes, because I was not about going to get in that dress all stinky. We ended up leaving home a little late and arrived at the trailhead at 11:30. The trailhead is 4.4 miles up FR 9070, and it was pretty smooth gravel until the last mile or so. There were 6 or 7 cars in the tiny parking area and on the side of the road. The trail doesn’t mess around and starts going up from the beginning. It was super rocky for a few hundred feet, and then the switchbacks start. Fewer rocks, but more elevation. My calves were on fire, and I realized how long it’s been since I’ve hiked with any real elevation gain. I guess that will have to change before we tackle Aasgard Pass in October!

    MtCatherineS-20

    The trail goes up and up until you there is no more up to go, and then the trail blissfully meandered along the top of the ridge through shady forest, looking out through the trees over the tops of neighboring mountains. At 1.25 miles the last push up to the summit started. There was a steep scramble where we pulled ourselves about 20 feet up along a cable. Then we were there at the top!

    the tree that ate the sign

    the tree that ate the sign

    switchback after switchback

    switchback after switchback

    IMG_5066

    The views were incredible! Unfortunately it was pretty cloudy to the south, so we couldn’t see Rainier, but the layers and layers of mountains were breathtaking, especially with tiny I-90 snaking through the pass below us. Spenser was feeling rather vertiginous so he sat down right away. It was super crowded at the tiny summit, but luckily people weren’t staying too long. A small crowed hiked down after swapping stories of their peakbagging years in the 80s, and we snagged their spot and were instantly more comfortable.

    I was eventually feeling brave enough to don my dress on top of a mountain, and I’m not going to lie, putting it on was pretty awesome. I thought back to putting it on almost a year ago, in a room full of my best friends, and freaking out because I was about to get married in front of a whole bunch of my friends and family. Up here on the mountain, I was just hiding from a few strangers while half-naked behind a tree, teetering on the edge of a cliff trying to get my dirty boots into a pristine white dress. No biggie.

    more comfortable than the other shoes I wore with this dress

    more comfortable than the other shoes I wore with this dress

    Spenser set up the tripod, got a little gussied up, and we took some pictures. We didn’t get super creative with photos this time around, because, well, we were on the cramped summit of a mountain, and people kept coming and going so we were pretty quick about it. BUT it happened. Luckily we have like every year from now on to get more creative. Maybe we’ll take a friend with us next time too. Who knows?

    just posin'

    just posin'

    getting all set up

    getting all set up

    MtCatherineS-8

    MtCatherineS-18

    One year down!

    One year down!

    Fun wildlife spotting alert! I read on WTA before doing this hike that this summit is a favorite of the extremely endangered Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly. I thought “wow, it would be cool to see one of those” and then forgot about it. Well what do you know, one fluttered down while we were both holding our cameras and let us take pictures of it. It was super exciting!

    Butterfly encounter!

    Butterfly encounter!

    Keechelus Lake & I-90

    Keechelus Lake & I-90

    We decided to free up some space on the summit while more crowds were filtering in from the trail down below. We made it down quickly, passing lots of groups who were on their way up. On our way back home we stopped at Dru Bru at Snoqualmie Pass for a snack, after a couple of recommendations from coworkers who know the owner. The beer was good, the sriracha pretzels were good, and the space was pretty cool and hoppin. One of the best things about the hike was that we were back in town by 4pm and still able to swing by a party and run some errands. A perfect day!

    Happy anniversary, Spenser! :*

    MtCatherineS-19

    Northwest Forest Pass required.

    Total mileage: 3 miles
    Total elevation: 1330 ft
    Hiking time: 1 hour 39 minutes

    Directions: From Seattle, take I-90 east to exit 54. Turn right at the bottom of the exit ramp, cross SR 906, and follow the road which becomes Hyak Dr, and then FR 9070. 4.4 miles after it turns into the Forest Road, on the right there will be a sign calling out trail #1348, and a small spot for a few cars.

  • 1 Comment

    • Stacey Pothier

      Happy Anniversary!!! What a beautiful place to go. Shelby you look fabulous darling. Much less stressful. What a just wonderful idea to wear your wedding dress on your anniversary on a hike. I love it. You will start a trend with that idea.

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