The previous weekend we vowed to bring our little brother along for the next journey. This time the decision for location was up to me. I voted for mountain. We planned to leave for Bandera Mountain early, but ended up leaving Seattle by 11:00 a.m. Everyone and their dog was already coming back down from the hike by the time we showed up, but that was okay with us. We carried off down the trail, each with a camera in hand. The first stop we took was over the bridge to shoot the waterfall and adjacent scenery, and from then on stopped at whatever we found interesting. This resulted in us passing and getting passed by the same couple for the remainder of the trip. The main trail really didn’t seem that difficult, until we came to the fork. At the fork, the trail split left to Mason Lake and Right to Bandera Summit. Also at the fork, the trail went from a gradual incline to a you-need-to-get-down-on-all-fours, grassy, rock climb.
It was a lot of fun scaling the mountain side. It was a cool experience: the clouds were low and moving quickly across our view – there were times when you couldn’t see 20 feet in front of you. When the steep climb finally reduced to a regular incline, we were covered in sweat. The remainder of the trail was rocky, and we took our time making our way up. Walking alone the ridge were glimpses of Mason Lake and the surrounding central cascade mountains. The main attraction to the climb was to be Mt Rainier, but the cloud coverage was took thick for the entire mountain to be visible. However, Kaleetan Peak made it’s appearance and gave us a terrific opportunity.
As we reached the summit of Bandera – turns out we didn’t, it was actually the false summit – I pulled out the tripod and started to record a time-lapse with my new Triggertrap Camera Remote. We ate our reward – Market Time sandwiches ftw again! – and enjoyed our view. Other hikers joined us and we shared some stories and took turns as photographer for each party. After, we wrapped up and began our descent. On the way down, I ran into one of my architecture students I taught as he was climbing up @keto1010. About a mile later, I ran into one of my old college friends, from back in the fraternity days @dhawnsome. It was an awesome surprise to see both so spontaneously. By the time we made it down, the clouds were beginning to clear. If only we stayed another hour longer, we could have see Rainier. Guess that just means we have to tackle it again.
Washington Trails Association records the hike at 7 miles, but we logged in a little under 9 miles. Hike Ratings: Difficulty – 7.5/10, Views – 6/10 (cloudy experience).