Monday, September 25, 2006

Mt. Rainier hike

This past weekend we went camping up at Mt. Rainier National Park. On Saturday we hiked the Skyline Trail loop which goes above the timberline. This truly is one of the top ten great hikes in my book. It has been raining (and snowing) at the park for the past week, but this weekend we couldn't have asked for better weather. It was sunny but not too hot. The only cloud was the one that hung close to the mountain. And since it was the end of the summer, the huge crowds were gone.

Mt. Rainier is only about three hours away, so we could have easily made it a day trip. But I like the idea of being able to go away camping on a moment's notice and I knew this would be our last chance for camping this season. We arrived at the campground at about 11 am, and after selecting just the right spot and setting up our tent we drove up to Paradise. Since most of the parking lot is closed for the renovation of Paradise Inn and construction of a new visitor's center, we drove past the main lot and parked down the hill a bit at the 4th Crossing Trailhead. It sounds like we planned it that way, but I'll admit it was pure luck that the only place with parking was at this not often used spur to the Skyline Trail.

We quickly ate our packed lunch and then spent the afternoon hiking about 7 miles with 2000 or so feet in elevation gain. My words can't adequately convey how beautiful it was so here are a few pictures:

Looking south to the Tatoosh Range with Mt. Adams in the background. We also saw Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens (with a little puff of steam coming from it's crater).


The trail goes up and up....


Break time


This was our highest point at about 7000 ft. We stopped for another break and some snow play as we watched the mountaineers and snowboarders ascend and descend the trail to Camp Muir.


Heading back down the trail.


The trail went along the Nisqually Glacier


At the Jackson Visitor Center we took advantage of the two-for-one ice cream cone deal and then resumed hiking the remaining mile to where we had parked the car. The little guy was getting tired at this point, but regained his energy when it was announced that the first person to find the 4th Crossing trail would get an extra marshmallow at the campfire that night. Before long we had found the trail and we were back at the car.



The little guy pronounced it "The Best Hike Evah!" I couldn't agree more.

16 comments:

carrie said...

Stunning. Completely stunning. I want to go on that hike!!!! I had no idea there were glacier's at Rainier! Next time I come up that way in the summer I'm going on that hike!

Donald said...

Very very beautiful. What a great place to take a kid!

robtherunner said...

Not much that compares to the beauty of Mt. Rainier. Glad to hear you had a great weekend hike.

Ginger Breadman said...

Great photos! I love all the shots you have of that big white mountain with blue skies. Pretty cool to get in a sunny weekend camping this late in the year. (And I'm sooooo jealous it didn't rain!)

backofpack said...

Beautiful Sarah! What a fun day for your family. I love hiking up at the mountain. We were running on the Orting trail Saturday morning and laughing at that funny little cloud. It has some special name that starts with an "l" but I can't remember what it is.

Darrell said...

what an absolutely beautiful place. Thanks for sharing the view.

Jack said...

I'm living a deprived life, what a beautiful place to hike. I think I need to relocate, "Hey honey we're moving!"

Great pictures, thanks for sharing!

sherrimc99 said...

WOW! You are so fortunate to live so close to that kind of natural beauty. I am soooo jealous and wondering if I can talk the fam into a trip out west for vacation next year.

olga said...

Gorgeous day all around!
I'll see you Saturday:)

Jessica Deline said...

Great trip. wow! It was so beautiful in Washington this weekend. I was looking up at you on the mountain a few times :) That trail looks gorgeous. need to get up there some time...

angie's pink fuzzy said...

OMG, that's fantastic!!!!

psbowe said...

Hi Sarah,

This is former blogger psbowe aka Bella. So from reading your blog, you're on for Portland this Sunday!

As you might remember, it's going to be my 1st one and was just curious where you'll be hanging out on Sat, plus are you also hooking up with RobTheRunner & BackOfPack?

So I'm nervous, a bit panicky at the same time b/c for one I smashed my left foot a couple weeks ago with a big piece of wood. Ouch! It bruised and swelled a bit, it's been sore so I've been going to the pool to say off until race day.

Email: ph_stanley@hotmail.com

craig said...

Great pictures. Great family time. Thanks for sharing the great day.

Sarah Elaine said...

What a fantastic day! Those photos are gorgeous, too!

Ryan said...

What breath-taking photos...I've never been to this part of the country but I must plan a trip here someday!! Have a good one =)

stephruns said...

Your pictures made me look up Mt. Rainier. What a beautiful place you were. I'm still asking myself what am i doing in this town???