If it happens to be a windy day (it was on the day of my hike) this is also the section of the trail where you’ll feel it the most. The ridges are exposed and the gusts will pick up intensity as you get above 12,000 feet. After the final false summit, you’ll see the true summit up to your left (north). Battle the wind and scramble up the final pile of boulders and the summit is yours.
Mount Constitution sits on the northeastern end on Orcas Island of Washington’s San Juan Islands. At 2,399 feet, it is the highest point in Moran State Park, Orcas Island and of the entire collection of San Juan Islands. Its prominence offers up tremendous views to those who travel to the summit. Yes, driving to the summit and walking a couple dozen steps up to the top of the stone observation tower is an option, but why not hike it instead?
Despite the fact that I couldn’t embark on multi-day training treks to train for my upcoming climb of Mount Rainier, my location (Seattle) helped out quite a bit. Seattle’s hilly terrain helped out in a couple of ways and its proximity to decent hikes was great. My one-month training regimen for Mt. Rainier ended up consisting of three main components.
Mount Si has a bit of a bad reputation in some circles of the Seattle outdoors community, mostly for its crowded trails, so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I stood in the trailhead parking lot in May 2008. It was pretty early – maybe 5:30 am – so the notorious crowds were not present and, from what I read, the hike seemed like it would be an interesting one in dense forest with good views once at the summit basin.
Living in Seattle, Mount Rainier sat in my backyard for more than five years. Despite the approximate 50 miles separating us, each time The Mountain was out (as the locals like to say), the summit seemed within reach. Every time the clouds parted and gave a clear view to the Southeast I couldn’t help but thinking about giving it a shot; I knew a Mt. Rainier summit bid would come eventually. But when? And how exactly? The route was to be the most popular (and the easiest) one to the summit: Paradise to Camp Muir to Ingraham Flats to Disappointment Cleaver to the summit of Mount Rainier.