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High expectations on the Kendall Katwalk
posted by John : October 4, 2015

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Kendall Gardens at dawn

The PCT north from Snoqualmie Pass is a welcome relief after the logged sections south of the Pass. It enters the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and provides access to 70+ miles of pristine wilderness. Only six miles from the trailhead is the Kendall Katwalk.

I've heard plenty of people singing the praises of the Katwalk so I figured it was high time I spent a Sunday morning to visit. I'd come close back in 2011 while killing time on a TNAB trip to Kendall Peak, but turned back a mere 0.1 miles short due to snow. This time, no snow.

Instead, I had blue skies, fall color, and Mount Rainier on the horizon. Hiking on the PCT is different than most of the other trails I hike. It's far better maintained and graded for long-distance hikers. Treen and I made great time cruising up the trail and around the shoulder of Kendall Peak to the Katwalk.

Wait. This is it?

I don't know what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. Somewhere along the way I had gotten the impression the Katwalk was a narrow walkway with certain death on both sides. One wrong move and it was a long, long way down.

In reality, it's several feet wide with a wall on one side. True, if you fall off the other side it wouldn't end well, but that'd have to be a major fail to go over the edge. Since I wasn't worried about myself Treen repeatedly got right to the edge and peered over.

Don't get me wrong. The views were spectacular. If I'd had more time I'd have continued deeper into the Wilderness to the lakes beyond. Although I've hiked much of the PCT north of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, I've never had the time to hike the PCT through it. It's absolutely on my list and a trip like this to the Katwalk only reinforces my desire.

But like almost all Sunday mornings I had plans with the smarter members of the family that had chosen to sleep in. Treen and I took a last look into the Wilderness and then turned for home. Next time we strut across the Katwalk it won't be for just a quick morning outing.

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