Sunday, June 30, 2019
Trailhead: Fire Tower trailhead, Upper Works
Elevation gain: 3760′
I was up at 5:30am, packed up, and left the campground by 6am. I made it to the trailhead around 6:30am, suited up, and then headed out from the buggy trailhead by 6:45am. It had rained overnight and then proceeded to rain for most of the morning, so everything was very wet. The trail was overgrown and the evergreens soaked me to the skin.
I spent the first few hours navigating relatively flat but very, very muddy and flooded sections of the trail. I made it to the start of the herdpath, and found that section to be more enjoyable than the official trail.
I kept up a good pace until I made it to the bottom of Allen and started climbing straight up the creek, with lots of friction climbing on wet, slimy rock face. It was a ball of fun (not), though at least I felt accomplished for not falling to my death lol. It stopped raining while I was ascending Allen, so I got some nice views from the summit, though the wind was making the felt temperature in the high 40s.
And then I had to go all the way back down… It stayed nice and sunny from the summit all the way back past the herdpath register and onto the regular trail, before the sky decided to open and soak me to the skin again. I hiked as quickly as I could, and made the same time back as out (4.5 hours each way). I arrived back at the trailhead around 3:45pm, changed out of my wet, muddy shoes into flip-flops, and then started the 3.5 hour drive home.
If I’d been able to do this hike on a sunny, dry day, after the mud has dried up, I think it would actually be quite an enjoyable hike. And I also don’t understand the number of people I’ve heard complaining about Allen as being hard to follow and easy to get lost. I supposed if you don’t have a GPS or detailed map it could be difficult, but overall, it was a complete straight shot out and back, with very distinct herdpath. In truth, the actual trail was harder to follow!