Smokey Church Mt

Is a trip report required if no other members come along?  Why not.  I, and one non-member guest (my naive young employee) who thought this sounded like fun, and one well behaved dog on a leash, arrived at the trailhead mid morning.There were 3 cars present in the 20 vehicle parking lot when we headed up the trail.   That, and the fact that no members wanted to join the hike should have been a hint of what was to come.  It was a long grind, though my young companion seemed less affected by the relentless upward switchbacks than I.I’ll start at the beginning:  The Forest Road 3040 was relatively short at 2.5 miles, and not in bad shape as most forest roads seem to be these days.  There is that big washout (gully) about halfway in.  Most sedans would high center, so high clearance vehicles required.  There is water running across the road.  Not a problem Friday, but with heavy rain, could be an additional issue.The trail itself was in excellent shape, especially through the 3 miles of forest.  In the meadow there were some muddy patches, but not bad.  No bugs, but for grasshoppers, and tons of sweet ripe blueberries as you climbed higher.  The wild flowers are mostly done.On the way up, we passed the 6 other hikers and one dog on their way down.  The rest of the way to the top, and all the way down, there were no other hikers at all.  The parking lot was empty except for my truck when we returned.  The round trip hike took 6.5 hrs, and included many rest stops, lunch, view gazing at the top, and time lost unintentionally videoing the top of my head, while trying to take photos.  There is that cable for the scramble to the top, but I took a little path to the right that seemed to me to be easier. The weather people promised that the smoke would clear, but from the photos you can see that to the South, smoke was evident and Mt Baker could barely be seen.  To the North, the skies were bluer and not as hazy.  I had dressed for a Fall hike, but soon it felt like a summer hike, and I wished I had on shorts and a lighter shirt.The long downhill trek did have the usual effect on my knees, but it was a wonderful day, and unusual to have a popular hike pretty much all to ourselves. 


Photos can be viewed on the MBC Flickr Album Page.