I’m turning my snark mode off for this one. Mostly.
Last weekend Erland, Ben, and I hiked to Hannegan Peak (Forest Service, Hiker Bob, Green Trails #14 Mt Shuksan).
The hike begins at the end of Hannegan Pass Rd and follows Ruth Creek before the trail climbs a total of 2000 feet to Hannegan Pass. The first 3 miles is a gradual incline, but the 4th mile to the Pass is at least an 1000-ft elevation gain. The next mile to the peak is also 1000 vertical feet.
At 6100 feet, the views up there are pretty cool. Canadian mountains to the north; full view of the Cascades to the west; Ruth Mountain “right there”, and Shuksan and Baker peaking out behind the Nooksack Ridge to our south. And there are a few patches of snow, even at the the beginning of September.
Our target was to be back to Bellingham by noon, but we (ahem... I) totally underestimated how long that distance and elevation gain would take. Plus we spent at least 45 minutes at Hannegan Peak just sitting there.
If you go, prepare for a long day. In fact, many people backpack this trail through Hannegan Pass and on to Copper Mountain or through Whatcom Pass. This being Labor Day weekend, we saw our share of both day hikers and backpackers (55 people, 5 dogs, 5 horses).
Hot tip: there’s a great campsite up near Hannegan Peak. That is, there’s a level spot, it has a great view, and there are a few trees that might offer at least a little bit of protection. However, the closest water is, um, not close. Bring lots.