No, I did not get poo on my hand again.
Last weekend we got two special treats. We had an Adventureweiner friend, Spartacus, come and stay with us. We also had a rare winter (weekend) day of sun and clear blue skies. It was the perfect recipe for a hike so we loaded our gear and the dogs in the car and headed to Poo Poo Point.
Poo Poo Point is a grassy knoll on Tiger Mountain where local hang-gliders and paragliders launch from. According to Wikipedia, it was named after the sound the steam train whistles would make when signaling loggers back in the pioneer days. On a clear day the views are amazing. You can see the Cities of Issaquah and Maple Valley, Lake Sammamish, Mount Rainier and Mount Baker.
There are two ways to get up there – the Chirico Trail and the High School Trail. We opted for the less traveled, longer and slightly easier High School Trail which starts at, of all places, a High School. Ha, ha. It starts at the Issaquah High School, to be more specific.
We had never been there but found out the parking is VERY limited. When we arrived, all we found was a teensy-tiny gravel parking lot at the trailhead. Five cars were enough to fill it up. There were a few spots along the shoulder of the road where you could park but they were taken too.
We parked at the high school hoping to blend in with all the baseball practice kids. It looked like we maybe weren’t the only hikers parking there. I don’t know if you are officially allowed to park there but our car wasn’t towed or ticketed when we got back. However, it was a weekend and I would suspect it is not allowed for sure on weekdays.
The trail is on State land so a Discover Pass is required to park at the trailhead. I didn’t see any of the cars at the high school with one though. That may be a way to avoid needing the pass but I am not condoning it because I think everyone who uses the land should help pay for it by purchasing a pass. We own a pass but I didn’t put it in our window at the school. I didn’t want to make it obvious we were there to hike just in case it wasn’t allowed.
When we were getting all of our gear out of the car I realized that I forgot my SLR camera. I was super bummed but I managed to grab a couple of photos along the way with the point-and-shoot camera S brought. I also was looking forward to seeing the colorful paragliders but there weren’t any up there. It was a clear and gorgeous day but we think it just wasn’t a good day for thermals (the upwelling of heated air that keeps them afloat).
The trail was not crowded but we saw several hikers (about half with dogs) and a few trail runners. The trail was a steady climb but there were some relatively flat spots in between the steep parts so you could catch your breath.
The weather was perfect because there was no wind and it was about 50 degrees. We could see for miles when we got to the top. There were quite a few people up there playing with their dogs, chatting or having lunch.
In case you are wondering what that Astroturf is doing there, the jumpers use it as a runway. The ground beneath it has been smoothed with gravel and this Astroturf covers it for more traction and to keep it in place.
Sadly, we didn’t get to spend much time s the top because we were crunched for time. We were late for an appointment so we had to practically jog out. It took almost 2 hours to hike up and we were back down in just over an hour.
All three dogs managed to run all of the way out with us. We had blisters and our feet were sore when we were done but the dogs didn’t seem fazed at all. Those guys are amazing. I do wonder just how far they could go in a day before they needed to stop. So far I have always quit before they did (except for the 15-mile hike where Chester hurt his foot)
We are going to hike up there again but we will take the Chirico Trail next time. I will definitely wait for a clear day because what makes this hike so great is the view. We will also wait until we are in better shape because that way is steeper.
I hope to catch some paragliders next time….and give ourselves some time so we don’t have to rush (I HATE having to rush when we are hiking). It would be fun to sit at the top for a while and watch them take off.
Trail notes: The roundtrip distance is 7.4 miles. The elevation Gain 1650 ft and the highest point is 1850 feet. The trail was a steady climb, alternating relatively flat sections with some pretty steep ones. There is no restroom at the trailhead but there is one a trash can a pit toilet at the top. I suggest bringing your own TP because it doesn’t look like it is maintained often (there was no sign of TP when we were there). Parking is limited at the trailhead but poaching a parking spot at the High School may be a possibility.