January 17, 2009.
9 mi | 3500′ ele. gain | 6 hrs.
Plan B. Today I was supposed to climb Mt. Ellinor with Rick and his friends, but that fell through. The group decided to head up Mt. Rose instead.
Mt. Rose is a 4300′ peak on the Olympic Penninsula. With a trailhead elevation of only 840′ we thought it would be easily accessible this time of year. But the road was not maintained beyond Mt. Rose Village, adding an extra 1.3 miles of road walking in each direction. No big deal for this group.
When we arrived at the trail head, there was a sign with a warning that the area had been burned in a 2006 fire and, while the trail has seen repairs, the forest was still in a state of recovery. Hikers needed to be aware of unstable ground, fallen trees, holes, and general shifts in the forest environment. Since this was my first time here, I had nothing to compare it to. It looked like a forest.
The trail climbed up and up, and after entering the snow, we simply found the path of least resistance.
It was a remarkably clear day for January in the Olympics, so we happily enjoyed a sunny lunch spot at the summit. We could see a sea of clouds down below; the moisture hugged the valley bottom as well as Lake Cushman.
T-shirt weather, amazing mountain and lake views, what’s not to like about all of that? Not bad for a plan B.
It took about half as long to get down as it did to go up. We moved quickly, bombing downhill in the soft snow. The sun had softened it since morning so it was much more mushy than before. In no time at all, it seemed, we reached the road and made the final flat walk back to the vehicle. A wonderful winter day in summer weather!