First Post Hike and Scramble to Summit of Mount Margaret
This is a first post by Congo. I left Seattle at 5:00 am today. It was a warm morning so I left the the Outback in the garage as I knew the road to the trailhead would be steep and rutty so I opted for my vintage (old) Honda Transalp for the 90 minute ride to the Lake Lillian trailhead. The ruts were just washboard but the road is steep. First in the parking area and on the trail by 6:45. Unique trail which begins in clearcut with its erosion and rocks under feet but looking up one can see before the ridge is made that there are big trees coming up. It seems forever but soon the clearcut becomes a beautiful transition into an Old Growth forest of mostly large Spruce trees at about 3500 feet. This makes the morning so worth it. My plan was to go to Lake Magaret which is about a 6 mile climb. This is a trip I have not been to before despite it being in Seattle's backyard. The early start and beautiful cooler weather along with being unable to stop this hike in an old growth forest so close to home had me extending my trip. In the middle of the forest the trail to the Lake came up too fast and I was not ready to quit so I opted instead to push on to Lake Lillian which is another 4 miles. I was going light so no camera which was a mistake but a camera cannot capture the heart and sole of trip anyway. At least in my hands. This hike is in the heart of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness which is the forthought of many in our state and kept a few areas up on the pass from becoming one big tree farm. The trip to Lake Lillian was past several smaller lakes and in and out of ridgeline and deep forest. The bird life was just incredible today. Every meadow was filled with birds which would take flight as I passed. Hiking among the big trees is such a treat. The air is different and most notable is the trail condition. If you leave the big trees the soil somehow stays as well. It is just like wailking on a cushion compared to the trail of dust and rocks in the clearcut below. On the return from Lake Lillian I saw the unmarked climbers path to Mt Margaret. Somewhat tired I remembered it was the birthday of a dear friend who's name is Margaret. Not wanting to leave this area and it just being noon, I decided to strike out for hopefully the summit. I was not sure, as I had not read anything ahead of time and was really just winging it at this point. A few views popped into my feild and some peaks of surounding mountains slowly emerged as I scrambled upward. It is not as loftly as some and I was just at 5900 feet but the weather and the day made it feel as good as any summit I have done lately. The wind was picking up and the temperature was dropping so I dug for my wool sweater but this too was such a change from the 92 degree days of the past week. No I was not ready to go back down and my present to my friend was to dedicate this post and summit scramble to her on her birthday and on her mountain. So Margaret this hike is for you.
The hike-scramble is straight forward with just a little dance here or there near the top. The summit is all rock with several scruffy birch trees trying to survive among the cracks. The trick was to be kind to them and place your feet as not to impact these small trees and a few quick moves had me at the top with views of Ranier, Whitehorse and the ski areas of Hayak. It was not a bluebird day but rather a slight breezy hazy day with just a wonderful quality to it and a salute to the lower temperatures. It was wonderful to stand on a summit again. It was the first this year and this view was as good as anything up in these parts. No trail register so my thought of how to document this important birthday hike. I think of Sumitpost.org which I have used to study trip reports and information in the past but have never posted. What better way to say Happy Birthday, Margaret, than to post it from a summit post from Mount Margaret. I look around before I leave and see Mt Rainier and one of its white glaciers as a backdrop to a beautiful hawk which was totally suspended with wings fully out and hovering and not moving at all. It's eyes were fixed on something and she never noticed or acknowledged my presence. It was close enough to see its feathers of copper and brown tones which were beautiful. The profile of the head reminded me of the always present in Seattle Seahawk logo but most important its hovering at 6000 feet without movement reminded me of a freebird much like my friend Margaret and her monkywrench partner, Brad. My best to you both. Happy Birthday to a very special Margaret from Mt. Margeret.
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