A Brief Visit to Mount Rainier National Park
Beginning Elevation = 5,200
Ending Elevation = 5,750
Elevation Range = 4,100 – 5,850
Weather: Overcast turned cloudy, high 70°F
We had no more encounters during the night with elk or any other wild creatures for that matter. Pops was the first to leave camp, maybe around 6am ish. I escaped next at 6:25am and the girls were in the process of getting going and packing up when I departed.
My day started off with a pleasant and peaceful walk through some more pine forests. I passed ponds and lakes, streams and a river, and for the first 6.5 miles got to go downhill. That’s where I reached my lowest elevation point for the day at Bumping River. Here’s some snapshots from the morning trek…
After easily crossing Bumping River via stone stepping, I went a short ways to where Fish Lake was supposed to be according to my map. I suppose it was there, but it was more of an extension of the river through a marshy area. Very pretty with the clouds rolling through overhead. I had my breakfast stop and hoped to see some elk visit the water for a drink, but no such luck.
After leaving breakfast, I began the approximately 4 mile climb up to around 5,700 feet elevation. Lots and lots of lakes/ponds today. Here’s a little unnamed one.
Whilst filling up with some water at one of the many creeks along the way, Calzone caught up, and soon later Cheer too. We had a nice break there, made a plan for where to meet for lunch, then all took off together. We each seem to hike at slightly different speeds and so were near to each other, but not really hiking and chatting with each other. On occasion though, we’d take some breaks together to stop and look out at the views.
Here’s some we saw on our way up…
Once at the top, we entered into Mount Rainier National Park. We’d only walk about 5 miles through the park, but those 5 miles were pretty amazing!
I think it was this vista where I had one of those moments where I stepped back and contemplated how priveliged I am to be out here and seeing so much incredible beauty. I’ve certainly had these thoughts throughout, but I think as things move closer to the later parts of the journey, I’m feeling and becoming more aware of it all.
Something else today had us thinking about more serious matters as well. There was a search going on for answers related to a missing hiker from 2016. He’d last been seen leaving White Pass a few years ago and his family is still hoping to find some clue as to what happened. There was a helicopter going back and forth along the trail above us as well as maybe a half dozen folks in orange vests hiking around. It was all very sad. I don’t think there were new developments that brought about the search, moreso it was to try once again after the snowmelt had occured for the year.
We stopped for lunch at a nice spot with a view of Mount Rainer and got our first reunited maid of the mist team photo.
And the rest of the day provided an amazing hike as well. Washington is gnarly. Rugged and expansive, so vast! (that was for you Joe and Matt 😉)
One highlight was walking along the shore of Dewey Lake!
There was a little blow up raft out there with two people inside fishing. I’ve been there, but probably it wasn’t in such a beautiful setting. This was the start of seeing a lot of day hikers and weekend backpackers.m, one of the most busy spots I’ve witnessed on trail. And for good reason. The area was stunning and Chinook Pass up ahead a few miles allows easy access for Seattlites (pretty sure that’s what they call themselves). It’s about an hour and a half drive according to the folks who provided trail magic for us!
Here’s looking back at Dewey Lake and the trail leading down to Chinook Pass…
And here’s our lovely experience receiving the trail magic!
Unfortunately, I was having my stomach thing going on since lunch and so didn’t participate myself much in the wide spread of food and beverages that these folks had, but Calzone and Cheer each got a burger and we all packed a few items out too!
Good conversation with this group who’d all hiked the trail last year and all live in Seattle area. We took off later than anticipated and went another two miles up to my second Sheep Lake in Washington. Beautiful viewing looking out on the stretch going up! It was cold too, so much so that I wore my puffy to start hiking out with.
The lake surroundings were so full of people it was silly, but we managed to find a spot to set up, albeit a bit slanted. It was becoming dark as we set up.
I was going to end my post here, but thought I’d add this comment that a hiker had out in our map app explaining the Sheep Lake name…enjoy!