Taking Some High-Speed Laps on Mount Hood

It’s a great year to ski into summer.

Heavy snow in the Cascades over the winter will ensure a long season on the volcanoes of the Northwest. The SkiZer sampled the still-ample snowpack during a late-May romp at Timberline on Mount Hood.

With slopeside temperatures in the 50s, it was soft and fun skiing. SkiZer hit it early, arriving at 8 a.m. The slopes were already slushy, so he spent most of his time on the Palmer Express lift at the top of Timberline ski area.

There’s something to be said for a chairlift that goes to 8,540 feet on Mount Hood. Less than 3,000 vertical feet above is the summit, which seems close enough to touch.

Day 41: Timberline, Mount Hood

  • Vertical: 18,000
  • Vertical for the year: 720,000
A skier walks to the lifts near historic Timberline Lodge.
The Palmer Express lift takes riders to 8,540 feet on Mount Hood’s south flank.
Riders descend near the top of Timberline ski area.
A snowboarder on the slopes of Palmer Snowfield.
The SkiZer stops to enjoy the view.

Quick Hiking Fixes from Seattle: Cougar, Squak and Tiger

A lot of hikers in the Seattle area tend to ignore the Issaquah Alps peaks — Tiger, Squak and Cougar mountains.

Until this year, the SkiZer was one of them. He thought, “Too close to the city. Not challenging enough. Boring.” It’s hard to admit, but the SkiZer was wrong.

In recent weeks, SkiZer has summited all three peaks and found things to love about each of them. And that thing about being close to the city is actually quite a benefit: A hiker from Seattle can get to the trailhead within minutes, pound out a great hike, and be finished in a couple of hours.

That kind of access is pretty amazing.

Here’s a look at those big three peaks looming above the city of Issaquah:

The summit of West Tiger No. 3.
Hiking the Section Line Trail on Tiger Mountain.
Near the summit of Cougar Mountain.
Lovely Wilderness Creek on Cougar Mountain.
Climbing “Maggie’s Way” trail on Squak Mountain.

Quick Escapes for Excellent Views Along I-90

What makes a great hike in the Washington Cascades? For most people, it involves climbing a mountain for a view or to see a waterfall.

That has been a challenge so far this spring. Cold temps, rain, snowy and muddy trails have delayed the start of hiking season for most people. But the SkiZer has been hitting it, going on a few lower-elevation hikes along I-90 east.

Here are a few excellent quick hits in the North Bend area to get that view fix:

Summit of Little Si near North Bend.
Mailbox Peak: Checking for delivery after a 4,000-foot vertical climb.
Rattlesnake Ledge on a cold day.
Asahel Curtis nature walk.
Cedar Butte
Looking at Mount Si from the Cedar Butte summit near North Bend.
Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.
A big plume at Snoqualmie Falls.
The Talus Loop Trail on Mount Si
Heading up the trail at Rattlesnake Mountain.

Great Early Season Hikes from East of the Cascades

Over the last few weeks, the SkiZer has shifted over to hiking for his mountain fix.

During a recent trip to the Methow and Leavenworth, the early season hiking was fantastic. Here are some of the highlights from the east side of the Cascades:

Peshastin Pinnacles near Wenatchee.
Snow Lakes Trail in Leavenworth.
The Penstock Trail in Tumwater Canyon near Leavenworth.
Patterson Mountain near Winthrop.
Blackbird Island in Leavenworth.
Icicle Ridge near Leavenworth.
Sun Mountain trails in the Methow.