November 8, 2013.
East Ridge > Meadow Edge Loop > East Ridge | 7.4 mi | 1530′ ele. gain | 2:45 hr.
I wanted to scout out another route on Marys Peak. I’d been up here four times, but I’d taken the North Ridge Trail every time. It was the longest route on the mountain, so it always felt like the most worthwhile way to go. But I wanted to have a more gentle option for my winter training group and I figured this might be a good one.
The weather was total crap; typical of a November day in the valley. Or coast range, or whatever this place might be. When I pulled into the parking area at 11 am I was the only one there. Not much of a surprise. The air was gray and gloomy, with a light mist filling the void. My hike began through a pretty forest with rain-soaked undergrowth. Wet salal leaves glistened as I walked past. Douglas fir, straight as rails, reached upwards towards the clouds.
I walked as fast as I could to break out of the trees. Once I reached the clearing, I was greeted by the summit road. Across the road there was a post and a singletrack trail. I found a sign indicating the Meadow Edge Trail, but I wanted to tag the summit first.
Up top I found the familiar radio tower and buildings behind a beefy fence. What a lovely view. None of the surrounding hills and valleys were visible. All I could see was golden grass.
After a brief moment in the clouds I headed back down to investigate the Meadow Edge Loop.
I was greeted by displays of pretty mushrooms in all shapes and sizes. What a great place for fungi to thrive: so much moisture and decaying matter. It was like fungus heaven.
The walk was pleasant, and it would make a great destination for my training group. Not too strenuous or long but more robust than many of the trails in town. The little forest atop Marys Peak was delightful; I could have just done laps up there.
After returning to the road junction I quickly headed down the way I came. The East Ridge trail goes by so fast. Before long I popped back out to the parking lot, where my car still sat alone. No one else wanted to walk in the clouds today. Funny, since that’s mostly what we get out here.