When the word “Mountain” is part of the name of my hiking destination, even when paired with the term “Little”, I still expect that the trails will be on the challenging side. Having completed several good hikes earlier this week, I had been rained in for the last two days and was starting to feel a little sluggish. With what appeared to be a break between downpours, I was hoping for just enough of a challenge on the trail today to make up for having been idle for the last two. Today’s hike on Little Mountain was no disappointment. The trails offered plenty of challenge, and I only got caught in two very light, very short rain showers.
This was my first time to Little Mountain so I was not familiar with the options for parking at the base of the mountain. There is a narrow road that goes all the way up to the top and on my drive up, I only noticed a couple of spots that might have been suitable for parking. One looked to have space enough for one car – and it was already full, and the other might have just been a turn out because the road itself was very narrow and signed for drivers to yield as vehicles came down.
I ended up parking in the lot at the very top of Little Mountain. That was good – and sort of bad at the same time. Good because I got the payoff of the great views from the top of the mountain first (instant gratification!). Bad though because all trails winding around the mountain eventually led down. Then, of course, I had to turn around and hike back up. I prefer to hike UP first, then I coast as I go down. Seems to work better for my energy level. Today, I kept thinking about that wonderful view I had enjoyed as I first got out of my car all the while I climbed my fatigued little body back up that mountain. I enjoyed the viewpoint to the north the most (seemed more northwest than north to me, but I didn’t bother to pull out my compass to check). I think the reason I liked that view the most had something to do with the spectacular structure they saw fit to build there. Isn’t that something?!
The trails on Little Mountain are maintained by the Mount Vernon Trail Builders, a group of volunteers dedicated to building a community trail system in Mount Vernon. I noticed several signs posted regarding the need for volunteers for several upcoming work sessions. I had to chuckle about the names given to some of the trails. Names like – Lazy Boy, Surfer’s Way, Down South, High Road, Over the Top, Huff N Puff, Up Only and Drop Down. Their rating system indicates that every trail on the mountain is either “More Difficult” or “Most Difficult”. The Lazy Boy trail, for example, holds the rating of “Most Difficult”. I found it interesting that the legend next to the map showed a rating of “easiest”, yet there no trails with that rating. Perhaps “easy” trails are yet to be built!
With trail after trail on Little Mountain, there were more miles available than I could cover this afternoon. I will go back another day, after I have identified suitable parking at the base of the mountain, and hike the other trails. I like the payoff of a great view.
Information about Little Mountain Park can be found on the website for the City of Mount Vernon here – http://ci.mount-vernon.wa.us/little_mountain_park.