MOUNT SPOKANE TRAIL 131, 130 & 140 TO SUMMIT
Distance: 8 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1577 ft
Dog Friendly: Yes
Discover Pass Required: Yes
Getting There: From Spokane take State Route 206 (the Mount Spokane highway) to the park entrance, then continue three miles to the parking area along the main road near the summer Summit Road and SnoPark lot.
Tips: Bring enough water to get you to the top and back! Hungry? Plenty of places for a picnic along the way. Just remember - pack it in, pack it out. You may also want to bring binoculars for all those summit views.
I should have known I was in for a wild hike the moment I almost ran over a peacock at the base of the mountain. Yes, a peacock. Now I don't know anything about peacocks. Was it someone's pet? Was he wild? I have no idea. But when you see those feathers in front of you, you hit the brakes. This little fella was making ALL the wild turkeys jealous. So anyway, watch out for peacocks.
I parked in the SnoPark lot at the intersection of Mount Spokane Park Drive and N Summit Rd. From there, cross the road to the Trail 131 trailhead. Follow 131 to the Bald Knob Picnic Area and head toward the road on the other side. Cross that portion of N Summit Rd and you'll see Trail 130. Follow 130 for about a mile and you'll come to the CCC Camp. During the Great Depression, this was the summer spike camp of Company 949 of the Civilian Conservation Corps, voted the best of the nation's CCC camps.
You'll want to take a moment to explore. In the winter the log cabin provides shelter, in the summer it provides many photo ops. From the stone walkway and steps leading to the cabin, to the stacked wood waiting to be burned in the fireplace inside, I almost wanted to set up camp myself.
From the CCC Camp, follow the dirt road until you see Trail 140 on your left. This is your final leg to the summit. This is where I met my next little friend. Although she wasn't all that little.
When I hike, I'm always prepared for what I may encounter. Whether that be another human, an impassable trail, wildlife or the chance at getting lost. Bears have always been my biggest fear, followed by cougar. Mainly because of encounters my father and I had when I was growing up. But one thing I never thought I'd cross paths with was a wolf.
As I came across one of the final switchbacks near the summit, the trail opened up to a field of slate. And there she was. Silver and standing close enough I could lock eyes with her. She didn't stay long. I blinked and she was gone. My realistic mind said...oh it was just a coyote (and my idiot brain followed suit calling her to come back). But she was BIG. And she was pretty. No offense to the coyote...but those big ears and odd statures kind of remind me of my little dog - nothing graceful or elegant about them. This was no coyote.
I decided I'd do some research when I got home to see how crazy I truly was.
So back to the hike. One final push and the trail breaks into the parking lot by Chair One and the Vista House. The Vista House was constructed in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was renovated in 2002 with native granite stone and timber framing. And it's quite spectacular a sight from the top of Mount Spokane.
After taking in the setting sun and my fingers started to stop functioning from the cold, I knew I should probably head back down before dark...and before my wolf (coyote?) decided I was dinner.
Rather than taking the long route back through the now dark woods on the trail I decided to jog down N. Summit Road instead, shaving what I'm guessing would be about a mile off my trip. The wind was intense but it kept the sweat from dripping into my eyes and I made it back to my car right as the sun dipped behind the horizon.
I'm home. I forgot to stretch. My muscles are COMPLETELY tightened up. I draw a super hot bath with an overkill of epsom salts and hop in to ease my aches and pains and still have one thing on my mind. That magical dog.
Google search: Mount Spokane Wolves.
First result: A story from KHQ posted the same day. I wasn't crazy. But I do find it crazy that they did a story about a wolf seen in MARCH on the same day I encountered my magestic creature. Somebody was letting me know I wasn't crazy. And my spiritual mind rejoiced. A wolf is one of my spirit animals after all.
Now the only reason I'm crazy is that I was on a mountain by myself with that beautiful creature. But I still think she was there to tell me I was on the right path. Literally and metaphorically.
Happy hiking! :)