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Wilderness Peak
posted by John : February 6, 2010

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Ready to get wild

Nana was doing great, but Amy and Auntie Nicole still wanted to hang out at the hospital. After visiting I can't imagine why. It's not like it's a UW Medicine hospital. There's some serious class in those facilities. Anyway, I had all our kids plus Molly and Tokul. No chance I was gonna stay inside, especially when the weather was pretty good.

I'd seen recent trip reports from TNAB friends who had spent some time tagging a bunch of peaks on Cougar Mountain just west of Issaquah (I know... I didn't think there were mountains west of Issaquah, either!) so we headed for Wilderness Peak, which is possibly the least appropriately named high point in all of Washington.

There's a decent trailhead off SR 900, but it was full so we had to park on the side of the busy road. Blech. I got the kids ready one-by-one and had the girls glued to the hood while I finished up. We crossed frogger-style and found a really nice little trail heading up in the hill. It was actually kind of wildernessy in spite of being on Cougar. (The only other trip I've done on Cougar was mostly road walks so this was quite a surprise.)

The girls took turns leading (holding up a branch just like a real tour guide) while Henry and I brought up the rear. We developed a technique to avoid arguments. The leader was... well... the leader. No issues there. The middle kid was next to be the leader and pretty content. The last in line was the most recent leader so a bit out of sorts, but got to hold Tokul. Every once in a while I'd yell out, "ROTATE!" and everyone would trade spots. Crisis averted.

We turned the trip into a lollipop by heading up the Wilderness Cliffs trail to the summit with plans to descend on the Wilderness Creek trail via Shy Bear Pass. (It sounds all so wild, doesn't it?) Henry made it on his own to the base of the Cliffs, but then hopped on my shoulders to keep up.

After passing a beautiful mountain tarn (um... more like a muddy hole) we found the completely treed summit with a few people there. They were amazed the kids had made it to the top, but I assured them I hadn't carried all of them. Once we drove those folks away we had the summit bench to ourselves for lunch and register signing. Yeah. A summit register. Amazing as it sounds, there's a nice little register with a break-in-case-of-emergency case mounted on a tree. It wasn't the first time for my girls, but Molly had never signed in so she got to go first.

On the way down we saw evidence that perhaps Henry's not quite ready to keep up with the big kids. He was hurrying, lost his balance and went down. No problem. He'd been rolling in the dirt all day so he popped right back up. However, now the girls were even further ahead so he didn't wait to get his balance back completely and proceeded to dive into a ditch.

Of course, I was right there to help... er... after I ran down the hill from where I was recording the kids charging down. Lucky you, I didn't turn off the camera and got some great footage including quotes like, "Henry ate dirt!" and the image of Henry actually chewing whatever it was that was in his mouth. Enjoy.

Needless to say, that was about as exciting as it got for us. In total we managed 4.2 miles and about 1,700 feet of gain. Then we skipped naps, but had early bed times. For all of us.

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