Every once in a while, I go out on a trip that’s executed so flawlessly I can’t help but think about it for weeks on end once I’m back in the safety and comfort of my apartment. This past Labor Day was one of those trips. My friend Tobin and I climbed Buck Mountain in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Oddly enough, it was only our second hike together, the first being Luna Peak two Labor Days ago. Perhaps it’ll become a tradition that every other Labor Day we do a death march to some remote peak in the Cascades (even though Buck Mountain isn’t all that remote compared to Luna).
Our original plan was head to the Chilliwacks in the North Cascades – I had even been extra careful to remember my passport for the border crossing – but a poor weather forecast caused us to reconsider at the last minute. I threw out the idea of a leisurely three-day attempt at Buck Mountain and Tobin assented. And even though this trip felt like a consolation prize at first, it actually ended up being my favorite hike of the year and even one of the best hikes I’ve done in the Cascades.
The first day was hot in the morning but became chilly as the cloud cover increased. I worried out loud a few times that we’d get caught out in the rain – the clouds were getting thicker and dropping lower, and I knew rain was forecast further west – but Tobin was hopeful it would pass us by. We began bushwhacking around 4pm and were 1000 ft up brushy slopes when the clouds opened up and the squall began. At one point, Tobin (leading) turned around and just gave me a look. I shrugged and just stared blankly back in response. Our legs and feet were completely drenched but we were so close to our destination that there was no point in really stopping or turning back now.