2018/12/22 – Tiger Mountain V (Loop) / 虎山之五 (環線)

Leaving East Tiger Mountain behind
Leaving East Tiger Mountain behind

See other Tiger Mountain trips here.

Access: Preston Powerline Trail
Round Trip: 15.3 miles
Elevation Range: 440′-3004′
Gear: none

Having lived at the foothills of Tiger Mountain for nearly two years, today I finally discovered the shortcut to the Preston Powerline Trail through the forest behind our neighborhood. This reduced the usual two-mile approach to the starting point to a quarter of a mile.

Powerline Trail
Preston Powerline Trail

See more trip photos here.

Like last year’s trip to the main summit, East Tiger Mountain, we first got on the Preston Trail. Then we hiked southbound through Dwight’s Way, followed by heading southeast on East Tiger Trail. We had somehow missed the first part of East Tiger Trail after taking a spur trail. However, later we located the official trail at 2100′.

Some mountain view
Some mountain view

See more trip photos here.

The trail eventually made its way out onto a road at the head of Soderman Creek. With no other trail signs posted, we walked down the road for a while before I noticed logging debris ahead. I figured the road was probably not part of the trail system and we turned around.

In search of the trail
In search of the trail

See more trip photos here.

Back at the East Tiger Trail entrance, I noticed a tiny cairn and some blue flagging on the other side of the road. From there, we got back into the forest and hiked a short distance and came out onto the west end of the logging boundary. The logging activities had wiped out a good portion of the East Tiger Trail through this area.

Logging debris
Logging debris

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Since we enjoyed doing things the hard way, we hiked through the logging debris to the east end and came out onto Preston Railroad Trail. Unable to locate the final section of East Tiger Trail, we scrambled up the north ridge infested with down trees, and then picked up East Tiger Summit Trail before the junction with Off-the-Grid Trail.

We do things the hard way
We do things the hard way

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Upon crossing Road 5570, one last bit of the trail hike took us to the summit, where we met four bikers, three runners, and two hikers during our stay. Clear valley views to the southeast; low clouds had shrouded most of Mount Rainier. The incessant clanking from wind gusts beating the towers was a bit nerve-racking.

Mount Rainier in hiding
Mount Rainier in hiding

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With plenty of daylight left and the forecast heavy rain was to arrive sometime between 4 and 5, pup and I followed East Tiger Summit Trail and made our way to Middle Tiger Mountain. Just as I remembered from eight years ago, nothing to see on this summit except trees. So we left shortly after and continued onto West Tiger Mountain.

Summit view on Middle Tiger Mountain
Summit view on Middle Tiger Mountain

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We spent most of the four-mile hike from the Middle Tiger summit to West Tiger #3, by way of #1 and #2, on the road, and it went by fast. West Tiger #3 was the first Tiger Mountain high point black pup and I had visited nearly one decade ago. Good times…

West Tiger Mountain #2 from #3 summit
West Tiger Mountain #2 from #3 summit

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We descended at dusk to complete the final 3.5 miles of the loop hike. Heading north-northeast over a slew of trails and with a tiny bit of bushwhacking, we ultimately got back down to Preston Powerline Trail just as the rain began to fall.

After sundown
After sundown

See more trip photos here.

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