Photos from this trip can be found here.
I had been wanting to do Spark Plug Mountain since summer 2011 but never got around to it. So far I’ve only been to Surprise and Glacier Lakes, and both trip were done in the snow. I had read some trip reports where both mountains were done in one trip, so I wanted to do both free of snow with the shortening in daylight.
This time I opted to go up via Creek Valley to bypass the lakes, and the drive to the trailhead via Foss River Road was…long. This approach was definitely not appropriate for winter because the area accumulates a lot of snow even in early winter season.
The Deception Creek Trail was in great conditions the entire way. We picked up the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) at the Deception Lakes Basin junction and followed it all the way to Surprise Pass between the two mountains. I wanted to get up Spark Plug Mountain first and if there was time, go up to Surprise Mountain on the way back.
Luckily, we had enough time to tag both mountains and didn’t need to hike out in the dark. The views on Spark Plug were better than expected and I was able to see the lakes down below as well as some of the nearby peaks. We were not blessed with views on Surprise Mountain summit, as it was socked in the entire time we were up there.
The whole time we were out in the wilderness we saw just two other hikers who were making their way up Spark Plug Mountain as we scrambled up to Surprise Mountain. Did I mention this was the first time I had seen LOTS varieties of mushrooms on a hike?! This area would have been a mushroom enthusiast’s haven.