A Chronicle of Two Creatives

Trail Report: Moody Conditions on Beckler Peak

When we moved to Seattle from Pennsylvania this past February, we were largely ignorant of how different hiking is in the Pacific Northwest. There aren’t a ton of variables back East – you kinda just say you’re going somewhere and you go walk on those trails. There usually isn’t a specific destination, such as a mountain peak or a lake; it’s mostly just trails through various different groves of trees. We hike almost every single weekend now, and it seems that everyone else does the same out here, which is new to us. Getting to a trailhead earlier than most is the name of the game now. Great care must now be taken into where we will hike – even now in June, snowpack is what usually dictates where (and how high) we will go. Thankfully, the Washington Trails Association exists, their trail database and community is bountiful, and their website and app both work properly.

To expedite the arduous process of finding the right hike for the weekend, some answers should be gleaned from the internet, most of which can be found via WTA’s vast stores of knowledge. When does the trailhead fill up? How popular is the trail? Is the last road to the trail riddled with impassible potholes or washouts? Is there a trailhead bathroom and is it open? Will we encounter snow, and is it navigable without ice picks, actual crampons, or significant route-finding skills? All of that before we even ask what the weather is going to be like!

The hiking community is generous with their knowledge though, and they bless the region with “trail reports” online – basically allowing hikers to know what to expect and plan accordingly for a hike or multi-day expedition. This article is a trail report of sorts, as well as a way to share our adventure and photography with fellow explorers of the Pacific Northwest.

Saturday, June 8th, 2019.

We reached the trailhead after an hour and 50 minutes of driving from Seattle. The last 5 miles was a rough, potholed road leading up the mountain. We hit our Impreza’s undercarriage twice due partially to negligence, but we saw plenty of 2WD vehicles had made it to the trailhead. I filled out a paper log of our group size and travel plans, and deposited it into the box, noting the signs warning of bears. The bathroom was decently clean, but had run out of toilet paper. Note: some kind of trail angel donated some TP to the bathroom later that day.

Beckler Peak Trail quick facts:

Click to view trail map

  1. Roundtrip length is 8.2 miles (slightly longer than what the posted map states).
  2. Approximately 2200 ft of elevation gain to the peak, which sits at 5062 ft.
  3. Some snow patches covered the trail in early June, but all were easily navigable without extra gear.
  4. The trail is very well maintained, with little to no obstacles.
  5. Trailhead parking was halfway full at 9:45 am, and likely full by 10:15 am.
  6. The dirt road to the trailhead was slow going with lots of deep potholes, but still passable in 2WD vehicles.
  7. Bear encounters are a possibility.

We set out on the trail at around 10 am. Due to the temperature and intermittent rain, we found ourselves swapping layers around for most of the first half of the climb. The trail was well maintained, with no downed trees or obstacles.

 

After a beautiful viewpoint near the 2 mile mark, the trail snakes through a beautiful section of green and gray evergreens before switchbacking to the peak. Conditions were foggy throughout the ascent for us, which made for some great photographic conditions. We crossed the first snow patches at around three miles in, but thankfully the trail was well established. Rock outcroppings started to appear, and I couldn’t help but have the Lord of the Rings fanfare stuck in my head.

We had our lunch (tuna salad sandwiches and double IPA) on the craggy rocks on top, and within 15 minutes the place was packed with hikers. The peak itself was shrouded in fog and clouds, so unfortunately we didn’t get to see Glacier Peak, but it was perfect for shooting black and white!

“Overall, a nice workout and an enjoyable trail for two recent Seattle transplants. Can’t wait to return for those views!”

To see Maura’s full WTA Trip Report, click here.

 

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