Masters Running

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Discovering the Wonders of Mt. Rainier..a Trek report (Read 36 times)

    A little background: Mt. Rainier is centered amid 378 square miles. She sits 14,411 feet above sea-level.

    Mt. Rainier produces a magnetic pull that attaches itself to your heart and draws you closer to her. I thought that I was the only one who felt this way about this mountain, but the more I talk about it to people, the more I realize that the magnetic pull is real Smile.

     

    The short version:

    The Wonderland Trail hike: a hike of 93 miles encircling Mount Rainier, aka the Grande Dame of the Northwest.

    Total days of backpacking: 11 days carrying a 50 to 55 pd. backpack each day.

    Shortest day hiked: 4 miles (which took 7 hours to finish due to the altitude gained and lost during the last 1.3 miles).

    Longest  miles hiked in one day: 14 miles.

    Total altitude gained: over 24 thousand feet.

     

    The Easy Pacer, son David and I ready for our adventure. Don't we look so fresh and naive?

     

    The long version:

    The Grande Dame’s Wonderland Trail has been on my list to hike for over 20 years, in reality,my love affair with the mountain began 28 years ago when I first spotted her at a distance. It was love at first sight, you may say and I knew it then that someday her and I would have an intimate, quality time together.

     

     

    A pose when I realized that my dream of "intimate time" with the Mt. had finally come true.

     

    As I said earlier this trek has been long time waiting on my list of treks. Time and logistics were inhibiting factors for us to attempt the trek until 5 years ago, but getting a permit to do the whole trek is rather hard and one can plan to hike the trail, but until you get your permit all is a plan and a dream. One must send a request early in the year and you do not even hear back if you got the permit or now for months. You can imagine how excited we were this year when we got news that we did secure a permit to travel the Wonderland Trail in August.

     

    You may remember us attempting this trek a few years back, but we had to cut our hike short due to bad weather. The other times we tried, we either did not get the back-country permit or the snow never melted from the mountain. A word about snow: the Wonderland trail, in best weather condition is snow free only for about a month to six weeks.

     

    Hiking on this loose rock was hard enough without snow...or raging glacial rivers as it was two weeks prior to our pose here.

     

     

    People who traveled the trails only 10 days before us had to do it by using ice picks and had to trek under bad snow conditions. So, I guess you can say that we really lucked out to get our permit in August and that we had great weather.

     

    I must admit we had excellent weather most of the trek. It rained only twice towards the end of the trip, which was fine since one can never visit the Grande Dame without getting wet at least once.  This was not the longest trek we have ever done, but by far the hardest.

     

    The Easy Pacer, our son David and I had a marvelous time pushing our limits and each one of us are still feeling the aches and pains from the trek to remind us of our great endeavor. But every single day we were greeting with such beauty and splendor that we always thought the effort was worth it.

     

    Unless you are willing to hike over 50 miles and leave your comfort behind, you will never see this ridge.

     

    Spray Falls was an added gift we did not anticipate to see.

     

    Day 7 and we finally got to our food cache. Time to see what we have and discard the food we would not need to finish out the last five days.

     

    This is what she looks like on her wild side Smile

     

     

     

    Ohhh, crossing the suspension bridge was almost as scary as crossing the permanet ice fields!

     

    Posie Mama, cooking dinner for the hungry travelers. We sure did eat well Smile

     

    As you could guess, I can go on and on about the details of each day, but who really has the time to read all day? If you are interested, let me know. I can share my online personal journal with you.

     

    We saw the Grande Dame on her north, south, east and west side and lived to tell the story.

     

    Here is the team reaching our final destination, our starting point, a little scruffier but not too much worse for wear.  It's a good thing that they haven't invented the camera that records smell yet because you just might be offended at this point.!

     

    The Mountain called our names...

     

    and we answered!!!

     

    and now it is to the next generation to summit the Grande Dame! Which child will do it first?

     

    The saga continues!!!

     

    \

     

    FYI, not exactly recommended for XT purposes

    Smile

    "Champions are everywhereall you need is to train them properly..." ~Arthur Lydiard

    coastwalker


      Hi Mariposai,

       

      Beautiful, and beautifully-written report! It comes across loud and clear that, despite the challenges, you three had a blast! How great that you, Easy Pacer and David could and did take on this adventure together. You were all smiling in the photo at the start of your adventure, and still smiling at the end of the trek. Congrats on realizing your dream, and having it live up to your expectations.

       

      Jay


      MM #5616

        Wonderful Wonderland report!  I love family backpacking trips - what a great way to spend time with your DS before he goes away for two years!   Sorry your other DS couldn't join you, too.   What a beautiful trail, and great photos.  Thanks  for sharing!

        I hammered down the trail, passing rocks and trees like they were standing still.

          I'm so glad you got to do this trip.  Sounds like everything fell into place perfectly.  The pictures are wonderful, though I'm sure they can't do justice to the experience.

           

          ETA: I mentioned I'd been working my way through the Ken Burns documentary series on National Parks.  In it, they mention a photographer, Tuan Luong, who has photographed all the parks.  You might be interested in his images of Rainier.


          B & B Wine Cooler

            Congrats to the Posie Trekers.  All I can say is WOW.  You have to tell us more about it when we get together next.

            Marathon Maniac #530 Mike (My Indian name is "Runs for Beer")

             


            MM#209 / JapanJoyful#803

              Mt. Rainier produces a magnetic pull that attaches itself to your heart and draws you closer to her. I thought that I was the only one who felt this way about this mountain, but the more I talk about it to people, the more I realize that the magnetic pull is real Smile. ... in reality,my love affair with the mountain began 28 years ago when I first spotted her at a distance. It was love at first sight,

               

               

              . your writing is as majestic as is Mt. Rainier.. Ever since college days, I’ve felt the same about the p-mile round trip day hike from Paradise at 5,500 feet to Camp Muir at 10,188', especially since she let me miraculously survive getting lost when I inadvertently took her for granted back in those days. To spend 10 days on her lovely slopes, traversing gaping glaciers and steep snowfields would be the treat of a lifetime. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Good luck to anyone’s summiting plans. Because of the weather, it may take three or four tries. Though you avoided it this time, it's not called "Rain"ier for nothing ..................... .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... . Incidentally, even though he reached the summit in 1888, it's been noted that, "while (naturalist John) Muir was impressed with being upon the mountain, he felt that it was better appreciated from below."  .................................

               

              ......................................

              Here I am hiking up a permanent ice field. Yeap... I was very scared!

              Expand

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                A few additional pictures for you to enjoy.

                Carbon Glacier

                 

                Panhandle Gap

                 

                 

                Another little known face of the Mt.

                 

                A tinny glympse of the Mt.

                 

                Two very, very tired hikers.

                 

                Every successful permanent ice-field crossing is a good reason to celebrate.

                 

                 

                "Champions are everywhereall you need is to train them properly..." ~Arthur Lydiard


                Maniac 505

                  thanks for the pictures and the report.  sounds like a wonderful trip.

                   

                  Dave

                  mrrun


                    thx for the awesome report and pics - what was the range in temperature?

                     

                    marj


                    Marathon Maniac #957

                      Wow!  I can only dream of such a trip, what an adventure!  And the wonderful memories you created.  Thank you so much for sharing this, the pictures are stunning!

                      Life is a headlong rush into the unknown. We can hunker down and hope nothing hits us or we can stand tall, lean into the wind and say, "Bring it on, darlin', and don't be stingy with the jalapenos."


                      MM #5615

                        Yeah...this is pretty cool.

                          Wonderful

                          SteveP

                            An incredible trip.  I am very glad that you all had great weather and a wonderful time!

                            Live like you are dying not like you are afraid to die.

                            Drunken Irish Soda Bread and Irish Brown Bread this way -->  http://allrecipes.com/Cook/Twocat

                              Awesome! Thanks for sharing it with us...

                              Courage ! Do one brave thing today...then run like hell.

                                What an amazing adventure!

                                1. Open fridge. Nothing to eat.

                                2. Open pantry. Nothing to eat.

                                3. Lower standards & repeat.

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