It's been years since I've been up Fuller Mountain. That time it was Clara in the backpack and Grandpa Jack on the trail with me and Tokul.
This time it was Lilly, Tokul, me, and 11 TNAB hikers. The route is only about two miles long. That means we could almost hold hands and touch both the trailhead and the summit.
Ah, no, really, it wasn't that bad. Right off it was a bit crowded, but we strung ourselves out switchbacking and bushwhacking up the fern-covered slopes so that when we got to the true summit there was only a handful to stand around and say, "Dang. Lame summit."
It's true, the summit of Fuller Mountain (at about 1,800 feet) is wooded and there are no views. It's just the spot on the hill there's no place higher. Lucky for the crew someone (not naming any names) had been there before and knew where we should really do our summit celebration.
So we continued on in the right general direction and were soon on a bald rock outcropping overlooking the valley of the North Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Although Mt. Si stands tall on the other side of the valley it was diminished by the low-hanging clouds and a couple of clear cuts in the tree farm. Happily, brownies from one of the other hikers and a few rays from the setting sun made it all good.
Tokul wandered about looking for handouts (and got some) while Lilly and I ate peanut butter sandwiches and goldfish crackers. It quickly got chilly after the sun set completely so we headed down after about half an hour drinking in the view.
The way down was complicated by the descending darkness (countered by headlamps worn by both me and Lilly) and a bunch of blowdowns across the trail that required us to climb up and over the downed trees. (Of course, these had been there on the way up, but didn't seem as big an issue.)
Back at the cars we realized four of us were way ahead of everyone else. In fact, we waited for 15 minutes for the others to show up. Sure, we could have bailed (and I probably should have to have gotten Lilly into bed a little earlier), but the TNAB rules dictate that we make sure everyone gets off the trail. As soon as I saw their headlamps emerge from the forest I jumped into the car and headed out.
Lilly was asleep within five minutes in spite of the bumpy ride on the moderately nasty road and I think Tokul may have actually slept as well. (She's excused since she's still recovering from a dental visit with the vet earlier in the week.) I was the only one who got to see the deer bound across the road in front of the car or peek back and Lilly snuggled up under my fleece.
Total distance was about four miles with 800 feet of gain.