Day 0 - Getting to the Trail Head
The trip started off with us all meeting early afternoon on Friday September 9th, and making our way to the to Mowich Lake on the secluded North end of Mount Rainier. After several discussions over the phone with park officials, I had a very real concern about our ability to find a campsite at Mowich Lake which doesn’t take reservations. Because of this I kind of rushed the group to get to the campsite, passing up on the traditional pre-trip big meal for quick sandwiches to go at Subway. When we arrived at Mowich there were in fact quite a few people camping there, but it was by no means full. However, as we set up the tent, it didn’t take long to realize that mosquitos were going to be a real problem, so we ended up eating our sandwhiches in the truck and having pre-trip celebratory Rainier Beer tallboys.
Day 1 - Mowich Lake to White River Campground
|sunrise on Mt. Rainier from Spray Park|
For me breakfast was a hard boiled egg and a banana. I wasn’t hungry, but I knew I needed to get some starting calories in me. After we all choked down our breakfast we headed out at 5:25 AM (about 2 hours before the sun would come up).
The night before we had made the decision that rather than head over the quicker and easier route of Ipsut pass, we would go up and over Spray Park. About a mile longer, and much more vertical, but much more scenic, and besides, no one wanted to start off right away with over 5 miles of downhill running in the dark.
|crossing the snow at Spray Park|
A few miles of hiking uphill and we reached Spray Park as the first light of morning was making it so that headlamps were no longer needed. At that point we picked the pace up to a slow jog. Up around Spray Park we found quite a bit of snow, but the travel on it was quite easy as it was very consolidated and sun cupped. Crossing the snow that was side lit by the sunrise was pretty cool. Ben really picked up the pace the moment he hit the snow, he was in his element even if he wasn’t wearing skis.
|crossing the Carbon River|
We headed on up again, this time towards Mystic Lake, climbing along side the Carbon Glacier. An ominous sign told of the dangers of the glacier as we heard giant boulders previously frozen in the glacier breaking off of and falling over a hundred feet to the river below. Once past the the Carbon Glacier the trail weaved up amongst fields of very fragrant wild flowers filled with the constant sound of bees.
From Mystic Lake we headed down past the Winthrop Glacier, over the Winthrop River, then up to a high ridge near Skyscraper Mountain. I was a bit behind, and by the time I reached the high ridge the others were already relaxing a bit and taking a break. I was running low on water so I decided that rather than stopping, I would head on down the trail and take my break where ever I found water.
|enjoying a beer at White River at the end of day one|
Wonderland Trail in 3 Days?
Wonderland Trail in 3 days (day 2)
Wonderland Trail in 3 days (day 3)
All the pictures from the trip