Sept 5-6, 2004
Saturday’s rain was forecasted to give way to partly cloudy skies on Sunday and great weather on Monday. I’ve wanted to hike up Mt. Pugh for a couple of years now and managed to talk Denver into going for it. We decided to camp at Metan Lake Sunday night and summit on Monday. Monday’s weather turned out just as forecasted, and there were clear blue skies.
The trail through the forest from the trailhead to the top of Stujack Pass is in great shape. The trail is free of debris, and there are minimal roots in comparison to our last hike on Vesper Peak. The trail in the forest climbs at a very modest rate. Stujack Pass picks up nicely as is to be expected and gives a good workout in contrast to the ease of going through the forest.
From the top of Stujack Pass we had great views of Mt. Baker, White Chuck Mountain and Sloan Peak along with tempting views of Mt. Rainier.
Here is our first warning on the hike. Metan Lake was fairly brown in color which made the thought of drinking the water, even filtered, seem unappealing. Also we couldn’t see any water coming into or draining out of the lake. We decided to hold out for some running water later on and doing so proved disappointing. There was, of course, no running water as we were going up rather late in the season. We each had a little over a quart of water and we managed to ration it just fine. Remember, you’ll want to bring plenty of water with you on this hike.
This was our first experience with a razorback ridge and it proved impressive as well. There is a fair amount of exposure on the ridge and a lot more on the scramble up from the ridge to the top.
Here is our second warning on the hike. You’ll want to cinch your packs down tight, keep a close eye on the cairns and watch your step. The margin for error is minimal at best in several places above the ridge.
The exposure had us questioning our sanity and right about the time we were discussing turning around, we made it to the top. The 360 degree view from the top is truly amazing and makes it all worth while. In addition to the mountains mentioned above, we had great views of Glacier Peak, Three Fingers and Whitehorse Mountain.
The bugs were light and the other hikers were polite and courteous. We recommend adding this hike to your to-do list. It is outstanding!
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