To celebrate my wife-to-be’s birthday we decided to get out of the city and hike to Spider Meadow in Glacier Peak Wilderness. I had heard that it was a wonderful trail culminating in a jaw-dropping meadow and that it was a mild 12 miles round trip.
We packed up a tent, a few beers, and our mangy canine trail partner and headed out to Wenatchee late on a Monday afternoon. We pulled in to the first National Forest campground near Lake Wenatchee at about 10:00, set up the tent, drank a few beers, and celebrated her turning a quarter of a century under the clear night sky. Her birthday present really was an “us” gift because I bought her her first real sleeping bag. I found an REI Lumen +25 synthetic bag for $62.83 on sale and couldn’t pass it up. She was absolutely thrilled and I am glad that we can now go on overnight trips.
We lazily woke in the morning, packed up and drove the 20ish miles on Chiwawa River Road. In retrospect this was the most difficult portion of our little adventure. While most of the road is well beaten in gravel there are a number of sections after the turn on Phelps Creek Trailhead Road that are really rocky and gave the tires and suspension on my little Civic a workout.
The trail winds through the forest and over quite a few shallow creeks. There was a number of delicate rock hopping traverses but the creeks were no more than ankle deep and the consequences of a wrong step were simply wet socks. It was actually kind of fun.
Some forests are mind-numbingly boring with evergreen, after evergreen, after evergreen. The forest on the hike to Spider Meadows was surprisingly varied. Some sections were overgrown with doug fir, while other sections had only a few towering trees with light ground cover. Some patches had seemingly ancient timber downed by mountain storms, while others were fields of berries and flowers. The subtle changes in scenery made the miles on the relatively flat trail painless. There was just enough going on to keep me occupied, but not too much to prevent a carefree conversation.
The six miles to the meadow went quickly and almost out of nowhere the forest opened up and we were greeted with a sea of alpine flowers set against a backdrop of jagged peaks. It was classic beauty and a sight that every PNW’er should behold. Spider Meadow imbued a sense of serenity that allowed me to forget modern civilization, whatever that may be. I had stepped into a holy place where the mountains were my cathedral, the streams my choir, and the breeze my salvation. That may be a little dramatic but it was awe inspiring to the n’th degree.
We poked around the meadow for a while enjoying the sun and the breeze. It was a perfect couple of hours but eventually we had to leave. It was tough to tear ourselves away but we still had a 6 mile hike out and a couple hour drive back to Seattle.
All in all I deem it a +1 in the Jon category for celebrating the wife-to-be’s birthday in grand fashion.