October 12, 2014
The new trail has been open for a while and I wanted to check it out. I have seen many positive comments about the new trail but my diehard hiker co-worker was complaining it took the challenge out of the hike. As this hike was in lieu of my scheduled long run of 9 miles, I decided to get a good workout in and get the best of both worlds. I went up the old trail and returned via the new trail.
The old trail was harder than I remembered from doing it the year before. Partially because there was heavy rain the day before, so it was wet. I also did not stop for breaks to catch my breath. I wore my trail running shoes and somewhat regretted that on my climb up given the terrain and mud. I am happy to see they left the last part of the old trail the same for both routes. My GPS said that was about .56 miles that the trails were combined. It still gives hikers a good tough section. I reached the mailbox in just under 2 hours. The area was surrounded by clouds but I was up there long enough to get a few breaks and some views. Until I reached the trail merge point, I had only seen two groups of people. After the merge was a different story and there were 6-7 groups at the top.
Coming down on the new trail was what I expected. A very nice, maintained trail. It will still give the hiker a lot of elevation gain but over a much longer distance. I jogged most of it and was down to the parking lot in an hour and 20 min. I was done just in time to get home and watch the Seahawks.
My conclusion was that I prefer the old trail for many reasons. It kept the traffic down to people that wanted the challenge; you have to continuously monitor trail and markers; and, of course, bragging rights.
*GPS miles measured from the parking lot.