I'm guessing Steve, Jamal, Jamie, and I will be the last to run to the top of Noble Knob in 2007. The forest service road was closed so our run started 5 miles from Corral Pass our original trailhead. We climbed from 3200 ft up to 5700 ft on the road. We hit snow about two miles up the road and it quickly got up to about 1 ft. deep. I tried to get a picture of the first good snowy overlook we came to and I dropped my camera onto some rocks. I think I scrambled its electronic brain. I was only able to get a few good shots and one entertaining video which is on this post. A hunter had driven his quad up the road earlier that morning and we hiked and ran up the tire tracks instead of trudging through the snow.
As we climbed in the snow we started noticing all sorts of animal tracks including deer, elk, fox, rabbit, bobcat, and I'm guessing mice. As we neared Corral Pass Steve and I looked down and saw the hunters tracks along side the road. We started talking about how it looked like the hunter had walked along this area when I just about stepped on the guy sitting in full camo along side the road looking over the valley. He heard us talking about the tracks and though we were kidding until he saw our surprise when we focused in on him. He was hunting deer. It was the last day of the season and he could see two large bucks across the valley but felt they were too far away to get a shot off. The bucks were in rut and fighting each other. He said he also could see several bull elk and cows moving around in the valley. We had seen two cow elk along side the Highway we came in on just before our turn up the forest service road.
When we got to Corral Pass we looked at our maps and decided to see how far we could make it around the Norse Peak Loop. We started down the same trail that is used for the White River 50 miler. The snow was deep and we took turns leading the group because it was tiring busting a trail. As we ran on the trail that runs along the side of Mutton Mountain we came across very fresh elk tracks. I came up on a big depression in the snow on the trail where an elk had been laying just min. before. We continued on hitting deep drifts and then some wooded areas that only had about 4 inches of snow on the ground. We had some unexpected clearing in the weather and were able to see the base of Mt. Rainier up to about the 11,000 ft level. As we neared Knoble Knob we lost the trail a couple of times but were able to pick it up again eventually. We ended up scrambling up the side of Knoble until we intersected the switchback trail and worked our way up. Knoble Knob is exposed and at the peak is 6011 ft. tall. The wind was blowing but was tolerable for the brief time we spent at the top. By the time we left my feet were getting pretty cold so it felt good to get moving again. Working our way down Knoble was slippery and probably the toughest part of the run due to rocks, ice, and logs.
My camera seemed to work using the video mode so I tried filming Jamal as he ran on the trail. As you can see things got going OK but I tripped and made some snow angels on the side of the trail.
We stuck together back to Corral Pass and then Jamal and I ran ahead down the road toward the car. We ran into the hunter again who decided to take a three shots at one of the bucks he had been watching but it proved to be too long of a shot. We talked for a while and Steve and Jamie caught up to us. We headed out again and Jamal and I didn't stop until we reached the car. We changed into some warm clothes and dry shoes. Steve and Jamie were not too far behind and we were soon off to the Greenwater Nachees Inn for an ice cold beer. They had the Seahawk football game on and a roaring fire in an old rock fireplace.
We can't wait till next summer to plan a run on the Norse Peak Wilderness Loop. Snow came early this year and foiled our attempt.