Storm King and his mistress Crescent

I’ve never turned around before. Even on those snowy peaks in the Adirondacks, long bare with the wind nudging you with nearly 5,000 feet to fall, I was never afraid. But at the top of Storm King mountain on a calm and sunny afternoon, I turned around. The official trail ended a mile ago, now I was just using ropes to walk myself up the side of the mountain, rocks and dirt tumbling with every step. I couldn’t even write from the top. I had to descend a few hundred feet and still, it took a while to maneuver into a position where I could stop myself from sliding. The view of Lake Crescent, a nine mile long lake was well worth it. A bird approached and chirped, then landed on a branch in front of me. The bird seemed cute enough but what if he was to attack? Any sudden movement and I’d be cartwheeling down a cliff. His friend flew over as well. They just looked at me and chirped. I wonder what they were talking about.

Lake Crescent from the top of Storm King mountain

Lake Crescent from the top of Storm King mountain

Tips for climbing Storm King mountain after the trail ends:
1. Ignore the warning sign.
2. Don’t look down.
3. While evolution may prompt you otherwise, I recommend crawling.
4. Trust the mountain. Any mountain.
5. Grasp both ropes.
6. Don’t look down.
7. When it looks like the only way down is to slide – it is.

Lake Crescent

I escaped the mid-afternoon sloth inducing sunshine by finding my way to a log on the pebbled shore of Lake Crescent. I look to my left and I see mountains in front of mountains, layered on either side of the blue lake, formed by water running from the glaciers of Mount Olympus. To my right the mountains line the lake’s curves and in front of me, you guessed it – there’s another mountain. This is bliss. The sun is strong but the air from the forest is cool and fresh. I stretch out on the hot pebbles. I can see where the idea for hot stone massage came from. The water is clear, I can see to the bottom and the waves gently rock the pebbles making the most soothing sound on earth.

Lake Crescent at sunset, I know, I couldn't believe my eyes either!

Lake Crescent at sunset, I know, I couldn't believe my eyes either!

5 responses to “Storm King and his mistress Crescent

  1. Awesome pic of Lake Crescent!

  2. I’m planning a trip the the area from NC. I’m one of these wacky trail runners. I’m used to rugged 20-30 mile runs on the Appalachian Trail & the like (and yeah, I walk some of the steep uphills). The top of this hike certainly sounds unrunnable and possible impassable? Question for you- is the picture here taken from the very top and if so, does the more manageable sectio have a comparable view?


    • CoachSpencer-
      I just hiked the Storm King Trail today for the first time. Very steep switchbacks, but doable. If you are in truly excellent trail running shape, maybe you won’t be walking/panting like I was. Toughest short hike I’ve experienced (50 minutes up, 30 down), but very worthwhile. The views are as epic as advertised (it’s fun looking down on a soaring bald eagle), and you can even see the Strait of Juan De Fuca and Vancouver Island, BC, Canada in the distance to the North.
      You do NOT have to go past the warning sign to get the views. In fact, the best vantage point I found was just off the main trial 50-100 meters before you get to the sign.
      By all means, take normal precautions and bring a cell phone (there is excellent Verizon service up there), as one small slip or trip may require emergency assistance.
      Have fun!
      Drew K
      Gig Harbor, WA

  3. Thank you for sharing!

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