Return to Mount Teneriffe

After not making it to the top of Mt. St. Helens  I got the itch to summit something.  I started to consider my options for an after work hike, something that would only take a few hours, a short drive from Seattle, and allow me to stand on the tippy top of something.  I considered a few different hikes, some were too far away, some were too long but Mt. Si seemed just right. While it wasn’t anything exciting or new,  it is just a short drive from work and it had been a while since I climbed all the way up the haystack.  Plus the trail traffic would be at tolerable levels during the week.

So one day after work I made my way to the Mt. Si trailhead and started up the mountain. As expected the trail wasn’t busy at all, I only passed a handful of people on my way up, not something you’d experience on a weekend.  About an hour and a half later I was nearing the top and after navigating over the false summit I arrived a the scramble.

I remember the first time I stood at the bottom of the scramble, nervously thinking that there was no way in hell I was going up. I watched as a few hikers easily navigated up the rocks and figured if they could do it so could I, eventually convincing myself to make my way to the top.. very slowly.  This time, I was excited to see how quickly I could make my way up.  I found a path and scrambled my way up to the top.

On my way up I couldn’t help but feel the need to start climbing again, and by “again” I mean since those two months I spent in a climbing a few years ago. Looking back down was a bit intimidating but I didn’t have to worry about that yet.

At the top of one scramble I was met with the other, much shorter, one. While it is shorter a misstep would result in a pretty bad fall.  I  carefully made my way to the summit and took a moment to take in the views.

I looked back down the side of the mountain and while I felt like I accomplished something It still didn’t fill the void left by Mt. St. Helens. Don’t get me wrong, It was a great feeling to stand at the top and the views were amazing, but it  just wasn’t the challenge I was looking for. 

Looking east towards the Cascades I started to look for another peek to climb that weekend , when the obvious became clear.  I had to return to the only hike I didn’t finish this year, the only way to make up for one incomplete hike was to finish another incomplete hike.  I was heading back to Mount Teneriffe.

Early Sunday morning I made my way to the tiny Mount Teneriffe trail, threw on my backpack and started out. I was on a mission and quickly conquered the flat bit before starting to head up the rocky switchbacks.

The foxgloves were out in force as I made my way up past Teneriffe falls, not stopping to take a picture,  and practically climbed my way up to the top of the ridge.  I took a break to look around and found that like last time I was surrounded by clouds. I continued on ran into another hiker making her way up the trail.

As I got ready to pass her she asked me which way the trail went. She followed me up for a bit before I stopped again to throw on another layer and she continued on I eventually caught up to her and she once again asked me which way the trail went.  As continued up I thought about my last attempt Mt. Teneriffe and remembered where I was when I turned around, before I knew it I had my way to that point.  Knowing that I still had I ways to go I pushed on.

However, I discovered that the trail wasn’t as long as I remembered. After I made my way through another grouping of trees I came to the clearing right before the summit, which still had a bit of snow, the thing that made me turn back last time.

I crossed the snow and made my way to the summit, completely clouded in and windy. I still took a few minutes to look around and enjoy  finally making it back to the top.

I walked around the top and found the marker. When I looked over the edge all I could see is white.  While it didn’t have great views like Mt. Si it was a much more rewarding experience. It was both mentally and physically challenging, and what feels better than overcoming failure and completing a goal. Now I just need to go back to Mt. St. Helens…

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