Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mt Rainier National Park Unabridged, Or.....

.....Let's get this party started!

Just so we're all on the same page I suppose I'll throw down a few ground rules.  First, what I type may, or may not, have anything to do with the pictures in which my words are intermingled. Second, if you click on the pictures, they do get bigger.  Lastly, I'll provide a link*** to the whole set of pictures sometime, somewhere.  Okay?  Okay!

I departed my place bound for Mt Rainier National Park last Friday morning.  I had one pit-stop to make at REI - Tacoma, but other than that it was pretty much a straight shot.

I rolled into the park and setup camp in the Ohanapecosh campsite.

There were warning labels on every picnic table.

Once camp was set up it was time to feed and then explore the immediate surroundings.  The river in the picture below was roughly 50 yards, that's 150 feet for those not familiar with the metric system*, from my campsite.  The rushing water sound was both theraputic and also muted sounds of any neighbors.

Friday I loaded up the back pack with a full water bladder, an extra layer, first aid kit, and bear spray.  For the record, I did not see any bears.**  I made my way north along the Ohanapecosh river to the Grove of the Patriarchs trail.  I hiked that, too.

I did find that really cool pedestrian suspension bridge I'd been across the last time I was there.  
The deck is not rigid and moves around a bit when you walk across it.  It's fun to see elderly people have a death grip on the side cables as they cross.

I went out on the west side of the river but came back on a different trail on the east side.  That deviation allowed me to get some pictures of Silver Falls.

Saturday I was up early-ish to go hiking again.  This time I went out on the same trail I'd taken the day before but took the left fork at the first junction and onto the Cowlitz Divide trail.  I was hoping to make it up to, and intersect, the Wonderland Trail.

Judging by the map, I made it to within about one mile of the goal.  At that point the snow became deep enough I could no longer distinguish where the trail was.

Side note - this area has lots of Douglas Fir trees and Redwoods as well.  The next two pictures are sort of glommed together to sort of show how tall they are.  If you look AND pay attention, you'll be able to match mark them by the shadow on the trunk.

Given melted areas by trees and my post holing, the snow was about four feet deep at the turn-around point.

One of the things I picked up at REI on the way to the park was moleskin.  I'm glad I had it.  I was starting to get some hot spots on my big toes.  I moleskinned them up and added some athletic tape to boot.  No blisters!

Sunday I was up early and had a similar plan - hike a trail until I attained a goal or was thwarted by snow.  Sunday's trail choice was the Laughingwater Trail.

There's a primitive campground at Three Lakes.  I was hoping to make it to there to check it out.  In other weekends I'd like to backpack to there, camp there, and maybe explore part of the Pacific Crest Trail, too.

The trail was pretty much up from the get-go.  Some parts were pretty steep and others not quite as much.  Trail crews had not cleared the deadfall from the winter.  There were quite a few trees to hop over, climb under, or go around.

Once again, judging from the map, I made it to within one mile of the goal before snow cut my journey short.  Though the below picture depicts it as patchy, in the big main set, you'll see a lot.

I made may way back down and past this little lake/pond.  There's no name on the map but I suppose it has one.

The mountain (Mt Rainier) was mostly "out" on Sunday.  I was not patient enough to wait for the clouds to clear a bit before taking the picture.  Hopefully you'll forgive me.  If not, well, I know a place you can go.

It was a GREAT three day weekend in Mt Rainier National Park.  I'm excited to go back again to explore other areas, check out Wonderland and Pacific Crest Trails, and to just be out in the woods.

This coming weekend is the Washington Brewers Festival.  As much fun as this sounds, the weather is supposed to be great again.  I'll probably save beer festivals for the monsoon season.  Good weather season means "outside."  That's where you'll find me.
* I know "yards" is not in the metric system.  You don't have to point this out to me.  Don't be a dick.

** Not only did I not see any bears, I did not see any bear tracks or bear poop. Though this part of the country is supposed to have some of the largest concentrations of black bears, I've yet to see any.  I know, I know - be careful what you wish for.  I've probably now jinxed myself to not only seeing several bears every time I go out in the woods, but, they'll also probably steal my lunch money every time.  Stupid bears.

***The link to the whole picture set is HERE.  If you're going to go there, I recommend you click on the "slideshow" option.  It's near the top on the right-hand side.  It has arrow pointing right inside of a box.  Click it.  It makes the whole thing more gooder.

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