Thursdays in the summer are a hot commodity, especially when it's hot. Sure, TNAB is just hitting its stride and tackling more interesting peaks, but Thursdays also host the Pine Lake concert series. If there's something the kids love it's dancing to bad music and eating ice cream that's mostly melted. You can see the dilemma.
Luckily, I found some willing TNAB folks and we headed out on a Tuesday. Yes, you could still call it TNAB what with the T in Tuesday, but that's not really right. We were headed to Snoqualmie Mountain where TNAB would be on Thursday so it probably couldn't just be a TNOT (Tuesday Night On Trail) either. Instead, I officially designate it a PreNAB even though most PreNAB activities take place earlier on Thursday. I guess that makes it an EXTREME PreNAB.
Regardless, Scott, Matt, and I hit the trail about 5:30 from the Alpental parking lot. As Matt said, the trail doesn't waste any time. It's a quick climb that's feels steeper than Mailbox and might be, but just barely. In just over 1.5 miles the route climbs over 3,000 feet on a rutted, rocky trail. The weather was warm, but overcast providing a bit of relief from the heat. Near the top we ran into clouds that dramatically cut down on our views. The forecast for Thursday was crystal clear, of course. We made the top in just under 1:30, which I feel pretty good about.
Without killer views and with a bit of a chill in the air we didn't spend that long on top. Certainly nothing like the extended Solstice party in 2008. I did find the benchmark and got a picture of a half-melted Snow Lake before we headed down, though.
We dropped quickly and although tempted by a cave entrance on the flank of Cave Ridge we passed (this time). We were back at TruckTown so early I had plenty of time to start gathering gear for a weekend trip with the girls. Now if the weather would just cooperate we'd be golden...
Total distance was 3.1 miles and about 3,100 feet of gain.