By the time I got close to my hiking destination, I was seeing Smurfs walking around these amanita mushrooms:
I should have paid closer attention to the “difficult” rating of the Cool Creek trail. As it was I didn’t even make it to the lookout tower at Devil’s peak even though the trail was a mere 3+ miles. I quit hiking out of sheer exhaustion about 400m before the endpoint:
I took the above photo of the Devil’s Peak fire lookout the next day when I was able to hike a little bit more without a backpack. The incline never quit, and it worked muscles I haven’t used in a long time both going up and going down. I’m still sore as hell today but glad I quit a day early, as it got very hot the next couple of days. But the view the morning I left was unbeatable (click to embiggen):
If you look closely you can see (from left to right) Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and the big one is Mt. Hood.
Today three of my toenails are purple, and expected to die in a few days. Next time I will make sure upcoming hikes are rated “easy” or “moderate.”