Poo Poo Point Power Hike

Paragliders getting rigged up for takeoff at the Poo Poo Point clearing.

After a record cold and snowy February, the sudden switch to summertime temperatures the past few days has been just the prescription to get over our collective cabin fever.

Saturday afternoon I got out for a spin around Mercer Island, and it felt as though the entire region with letting out a group “…ahhh….” Mid-way around the island I crossed paths with cycling and hiking buddy Tobias Holgers. He was on the phone with Mercer Island’s finest reporting a road rage incident. The driver of a white Nissan SUV wasn’t sharing the joyous state the rest of us were in. The thought bubble over my head as this jerk lingered behind me blasting the horn: “must not be from around here.” Tobias said the MIPD were surprisingly responsive to his complaint.

As Tobias and I finished the Mercer lap we began to plan a Sunday afternoon hike. This is how dedicated cyclists define “multisport:” Ride one day, hike the next.

The trail was wet and muddy below the snow line.
The trail was wet and muddy below the snow line.

With abundant snow on every trail along the I-90 corridor, the decision involved some debate. Although the normal go-to choices this time of year would be a trek up Mt. Si or Mailbox Peak, the thought of trudging through gloppy slush made us consider options at lower elevations. We settled on Poo Poo Point via the High School Trail.

The money shot view from Poo Poo Point is toward the northwest across Issaquah and Lake Sammamish toward downtown Bellevue. On days like Sunday, the view is delightfully peppered with paragliders and eagles, who look like they are playing together in the sky.

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There are actually several trailheads that give access to the High School Trail. We parked at Issaquah High School because it has plenty of parking, and no parking permits are required. The first two miles ascend at a relatively mellow rate. Between miles 2 and 2.8 or so there are some steep ups and downs. The final half mile or so is a relatively gentle ascent along an old road to the Point. The total round trip mileage for this route to Poo Poo is 7+ miles.

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The trail was completely snow-covered after about 2.5 miles, but with the warm temperatures we are experiencing, conditions will be changing daily if not hourly. We noticed quite a number of folks hiking with poles or traction footwear.

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Another popular route to Poo Poo is the Chirico Trail, home of an annual “Chirico Tenpeat” endurance event. The event is hosted by Jess Mullen who “Everested” Chirico last year as part of the Tenpeat. Jess and a team of volunteers man an aid station at the base of the trail, and runners can spend the day testing themselves to see whether they can complete ten full round trips up Chirico. Each round trip is about 3.6 miles with ~1,660 feet of climbing.

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Of course, the post-hike meal is always an important part of the experience. Our usual go-to spot is the Rogue Ales Issaquah Brewhouse, but this time based on Tobias’ recommendation we finished the day at Naan N Curry, which I would highly recommend for authentic (to me) Indian and Pakistani dishes.

Whether you are game for an ambitious trail run or a leisurely hike, the Tiger Mountain trail system is a great year-round option for moving your body in the woods.

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