With the predicition for the first 90 degree day of the year, we decided to head to the mountains to escape the heat. Last year we did a loop from the Pansy Lake trailhead to the Bull of the Woods Lookout Tower. That was a nice hike but we didn't many views because of the clouds/fog. This time, things were going to be different. Awoke to a cloudless sky and arrived at the trail 550 trailhead about 10 AM. Decided to take this route as it's a little shorter and has a lot less elevation gain. Was surprised to find no other cars in the lot. More surprised that we saw one other couple at the lookout tower and that was it! Last year with worse weather we saw lots of people. This year perfect weather and nobody around. We did meet a couple getting ready for a backpack trip we arrived back at the car. They were happy to hear they'd have the place to themselves! At the lookout tower the views were great. All 5 peaks (Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson) were all visible!!! A good view of the three sisters as well. Not a cloud in the sky -- even last night's moon was still visible in the sky. The wildflowers were pretty great as well. The peak has probably passed but we still saw quite a few along the trail. We passed a sign toward the beginning of the hike that mentioned we'd have the opportunity for solitude -- it didn't lie!
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.