Written while watching the finale of The Great British Baking Show and eating leftover enchiladas.fullsizeoutput_51afWoohoo! Mountain Chicks take Mount Townsend for a Halloween hike!!!

Location: Olympic Peninsula — Hood Canal
Length: 8 miles
Elevation gain: 3010 ft.
Highest Point: 6260 ft.
Parking pass/entry fee: None
Ranking: Intermediate-Expert

Good to know: There are two trailheads. We started at the upper trailhead for the 8 mile hike, which then becomes a 10.4 mile hike if you leave from the lower trailhead. The lower trailhead hikes 1.2 miles to the upper trailhead and then you essentially are just starting again from the upper trailhead. As WTA suggests, the lower trailhead, which is 400 ft lower, may be a good option if snow has closed the higher roads.

After your hike, head to the Hood Canal Brewery outside of Kingston (they open at noon) and get some fresh lumpia!

Mount Townsend…was hard and killed my legs and made me question “do I even really enjoy hiking?” It also took my breath away and reinvigorated my spirit and reminded me why difficult hikes are 100% worth it.fullsizeoutput_5121Sam and Chelsea and I stayed with family in Edmonds Friday night and caught the 6:20 ferry out of Edmonds to Kingston (yeah…we probably could have gotten away with a later ferry perhaps) to make it for a 9:00 am trailhead start.fullsizeoutput_51aeWe caught glimpses of a wonderful sunrise while driving to the trailhead and because we were early, we even stopped along a beautiful stretch of road to get some classic instagram-worthy road shots.We got to the trail head half an hour early and had plenty of time to use the restroom, lace up our boots, and pack (and repack) our bags.

I ended up hiking between other people’s paces and had the whole trail essentially to myself (aside from occasionally being passed by other badass hikers). We switched back through old growth trees and as the valley got more and more exposed, we caught increasingly breath-taking views across the puget sound.fullsizeoutput_51b0fullsizeoutput_51b1When I got high enough to see Seattle blanketed by a layer of clouds, I thought I’d died and hiked to heaven. When I got high enough to see Mount Rainier, I think I did die for a moment. Then there was Glacier Peak, a lesser know and lesser seen peak hidden back in the cascades. Then I hiked a little more and my love, my mountain, Mount Baker came into view.fullsizeoutput_51d2At the top we could see all five volcanoes in Washington and had the Olympic range to our west. A couple girls put up with the heat and hiked in their costumes while others put theirs back on when we got to the top.fullsizeoutput_51b9fullsizeoutput_51bfAmbassador Jennifer Mabus hiked part of the way on her buddy’s shoulders but he got way too tired to do that the entire hike and rode in her backpack, legs out. She jumped back on when they got to the top!This hike was close enough to Mountain Chicks’ birthday, which was November 4th, to make me reflect on how this group has changed my life. I will eventually write a whole post on how Mountain Chicks has impacted me but I first need to find the words to fully express my gratitude and love for the enormous group of badass women. I have come to know and love some of the most empowering, kind, inspiring, and all around badass women I have ever met because of Mountain Chicks.fullsizeoutput_51d5I am so very grateful for all the opportunities this group provides – for all the hikes I have been on – for the wonderful friendships I have made with fellow badass women – for the simple joy of knowing so many beautiful spirits on this earth that value and love the outdoors like I do.

Because of all the women I have met, because of this community in general, I have come to love the woman I am becoming as well. I have grown in all the ways I so desperately wanted to grow in and I have learned to go through life with the knowledge that I and my endeavors are supported by an incredibly powerful force of women.

Trust me, I know how scary it can be to put yourself out there and believe me, I have lost a couple hours of sleep the night before a hike because of nerves, but this group of women will change your life for the better if you let them!

As far as the hike goes, I’m pretty sure our summit views can speak for themselvesfullsizeoutput_51d3


Mountain Pup!