Hike up Squak Mountain
Saturday, July 19th 2008
The previous weekend, we tried to hike to Lake Lillian, but were turned back by snow covering the ground to such an extent that we could not find the trail. So this weekend, we did a hike at lower elevation and closer to home. We have been on Cougar and Tiger Mountain multiple times, but so far we had skipped Squak Mountain. Squak is the smallest of the those three mountains, which together form the Issaquah Alps. Squak is between the two bigger peaks, and thus is often overlooked. At least, it was overlooked by us! Our favorite hiking trail book, Beyond Mount Si book makes no mention of Squak.
Squak Mountain state park was created when the Bullit family donated the land at the top of the mountain to the state. They used to have a summer home at the summit, but all that is left now is a ruined foundation and a chimney. The land donation was made in 1972, just 36 years ago, and in less than four decades all that is left of their summer home is the foundation? Or was the home already in ruins when the Bullit family handed over their land? The offical state park website for Squak Mountain does not say. However, the official website does tell me this: The name Squak comes from an early Anglicization of the Native American word "Asquowk," and was also given to the nearby valley, creek and town.
We found a trail map for Squak Mountain in the kiosk at the trailhead. Be sure to pick one up, it is very useful. We were trying to follow directions in the Snoqualmie hiking book, but it was not clear. Squak has several trails crisscrossing the southern side of the mountain. The official site tells me that Squak has 13 miles of hiking trails and 6 miles of horse trails. The website also tells me that Squak is 2024 feet tall.
When we were on the Squak trails, a big doberman came running up and stopped short of us. It barked ferociously at us, and then sprinted back down the trail. A short while later, it came running up the trail again, this time coming a bit closer, barked just as fiercely, and then ran away. A third time, this big dog came charging up the trail and stopped behind us, and barked at us, and then ran away. Eventually, the dog's owner caught up with us. He asked - "Did my dog charge up at you and bark?" Yep. Apparently, the man allows his big vicious dog to run loose in the park, even though he knows of its intimidating behavior. If I had been hiking with small children, or if I had been about 25 years older, it would have been a lot more upsetting situation. Why can't an owner of a dog like that act responsibly? I wonder if Squak Mountain even allows dogs off leash inside the park.
We hiked up to the ruins of the Bullitt summer hope. We thought we would eat our lunch there, but there were too many mosquitos, so we quickly moved on to the summit. At the top of Squak Mountain are a couple of radio towers. I am not sure why towers are necessary here, since Cougar and Tiger Mountain are taller.
I was glad we did the hike in a clockwise loop. The trail is much steeper on the eastern side of the mountain, it would have been more of work out to climb to the top traveling in a counter-clockwise direction. The trails on the east side seemed to be more overgrown, we were whacked by leaves and scratched by brambles on our way down.
This was an easy hike. Mostly deserted, we hardly saw anyone on the trails, except up at the top. We did get passed by a guy on a horse though.
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