Steve and I started hiking Mount Olympus at about 3:30 PM. We had planned on starting at 3:00 PM, but I was late because I discovered on my way to the trailhead that I had forgotten my water bottles in the refrigerator at home. My return trip home to retrieve my water made me about 20 minutes late.
About twenty minutes after we started, Steve passed a rattlesnake basking in the sun on the side of the trail. Immediately, the rattlesnake made a few quick rattles that startled Steve and made him jump back quickly. The snake, still coiled, just looked around for a couple seconds, and then slowly slithered back into a nearby bush. I had heard there were lots of rattlesnakes on this trail, but until this hike I hadn't yet seen one.
For most of the day, the sky was overcast, but the sky began to clear up a bit about the time we started hiking. Although parts of the valley were clear, there were still some dark clouds to the south and east that didn't look threatening, but I wasn't sure the conditions wouldn't deteriorate.
We hiked quickly, with Steve leading the way, of course. On the steep sections past the stream, he was well ahead of my pace. Despite my slower pace, I still made it to the summit about a half hour faster than suggested by the Wasatch Mountain Club-published hiking guidebook.
The evening lighting from the summit was spectacular and I captured quite a few good photos from the summit and while I climbed up and down the steep scramble to the summit from the saddle.
We hiked two-thirds of the way back down in the dark. We arrived back at our cars at 9:00 PM, and Steve followed me back to my place for some homemade pizza.