Our destination early this morning was the Mt. Dickerman summit. This is a fairly steep and strenuous 8.6 mile roundtrip hike with about 3800 feet of elevation gain. It's been described as extremely tough but honestly after a lot of the other climbs I've done this summer I thought it wasn't too bad. We just took it slow and steady. We never found ourselves so out of breath that we couldn't talk.
The trailhead can be found on the Mountain Loop Highway about 27 miles east of Granite Falls, WA. For those that don't know, there is no cell service along this fairly remote loop of road so be sure to bring the proper supplies. Water is especially scarce on the mountain this time of year. I carried 3 liters and had extra waiting for me in a cooler in the car. We hit the trail at 6:22 AM and arrived at the summit 2 hours 59 minutes later. Our return trip took just 1 hour 50 minutes.
Today my buddy and I climbed up Mt. Defiance via Mason Lake by starting at the Ira Spring trailhead. I have climbed Bandera Mountain from this trailhead on several occasions, most recently in June 2011, so driving instructions can be found on that trip report. It was a fantastic warm (sometimes very hot) day and the views were spectacular. Unfortunately we didn't quite prepare as well as we should have the night before the hike.
My wife and I last night found ourselves engrossed in a Breaking Bad (highly recommended) season 4 marathon and I couldn't make myself go to bed at a reasonable hour. At the same time, my buddy and his wife went to an outdoor concert and imbibed a bit more than one should before a hike like this. So at 5:30 AM when my buddy knocked on my door, he looked and felt terrible and I looked - well - I felt terrible, at least.