I started this hike out with the false belief that it was only four miles round trip, as it says in the guide book, "Washington's Glacier Peak Region" by Ira Spring and Harvey Manning, published by The Mountaineers. Generally, books by this duo serve as my Bible, but I discovered that Harvey must have been in need of a new pedometer when he charted this one, because it's been rated as either 5.6 mile hike here, or as a 6 mile hike on the Mt. Baker Forest Service website. Now, what's two extra miles for a decent hiker? Nothing I suppose. But I, along with about 150 other hikers, hit the trail six months early to take advantage of the light snow this season, and needed to be aware of exactly what to expect so as to ration our time and energy etc. (The Forest Service had opened the trail, although the road to the trailhead was nearly impassible with snow and ice) The trail itself was amazing, with more views than any other trail I've hiked, short of the Fremont Lookout hike on Rainier. Every time I stopped for a breath (approxamately every 40-50 steps on account of the elevation and my unwisely overloaded pack and poor physical condition) I was met with more rocky snow-covered peaks, more fog-blanketed forested rises heading off to the horizon. The trail was eaten up by snow about a mile in, so the rest of the way, I had to plant my boots extra hard with each step to make sure they stayed put. All the amazing sun we had that day glazed over the snow and made the hike more of a lunatic dance, flailing for balance at times, though mostly on the downhill. Very good for learning humility. There were some fun boulder fields to scramble over, and the top was one big jumble of rocks to climb to reach the lookout. I didn't have crampons or poles and did fine, but I'm sure it would be steadier with them. What I would take next time: giant telephoto lens, sunscreen, and poles.