February 17, 2013
So Kelley, a girl I’ve met a few times through a Texas friend, organized a group to hike Chief Mountain this weekend. We were all grateful for her research, as it takes some work to pull a hike together. I took a quick glance at a post on the web about Chief Mountain, located northwest of Evergreen, just so I knew what I was getting myself into, and the person claimed she took all her flat lander friends here because the hike was so easy. I feel sorry for her flat lander friends! It was short, only two miles round trip, but the beginning elevation is 10,670 feet and the summit clears 11,700. Gaining 1,000 feet in one mile at that altitude is anything from flat and easy, especially when you’re 41 years old and following a bunch of guys in their late 20’s!! I was certainly feeling my age as I was resting with a few other girls and they were climbing nearby trees, boulders, or running through the snow. We went too fast for me to break out my good camera, but the iPhone can snap some good shots once in a while!
The trailhead is across the street from mile marker 18 on Squaw Pass Road, marked by a stake. It isn’t very noticeable. The trail winds up through the trees where it eventually crosses above the timberline offering magnificent views of the surrounding snow capped mountains. At times, we faced brutal winter winds which blew Kelley’s hat right off her head! We looked forward to each turn that put the wind at our backs!! To my surprise we found a Bureau of Reclamation Benchmark at the summit. I looked it up on geochacing.com to see if I could log it, but it was not recorded…seemed odd! We gobbled a few snacks at the top, but it was quite chilly, so we turned for a quick walk down with our poles and traction devices. My Yaktrax were still broken from the day before, as we started our hike before REI opened at 10, but I’ll be ready for next weekend! ETB