Saturday, August 22, 2015

Wonderland Trail

The Wonderland Trail is a 92-93 mile trail circumnavigating Mount Rainier in Washington. It was originally built to provide park rangers easy access to the park. 2015 marks the centennial of the completion of the Wonderland Trail!  

A ranger helped us plan an itinerary and granted us a first-come, first-served permit
to hike the Wonderland Trail clockwise starting and ending at Longmire Trailhead.

For those interested, here’s a map and profile of the trail.  

On Day 1, after driving around the entire park dropping two caches of food, Claire and I started off from Longmire trailhead about 3pm and hiked 5.5 miles to Devil’s Dream.

Our first view of Mount Rainier:

The trail passes through forests... 

... across river beds, both dry and running.

Our first campsite:

Devil's Dream notable feature was a near constant buzz of insects before dark. At night we heard an owl.

Wonderland Trail Day 2

From Devil's Dream we hiked 11.2 miles to Klapatche Park campsite. This was an eventful day: a debris flow and bear encounter!

About a mile from camp, we stopped to filter water.

We saw a grouse.

We passed the patrol cabin at Indian Henry’s.

Had a great fruit break!

There are two suspension bridges on the Wonderland Trail. As we approached the Tahoma Creek Suspension Bridge, we heard a loud rumble and the ground started shaking. Claire ran up the hill, so I thought we were running for our lives. But she was seeking a better view of the debris flow in the Tahoma River.

This debris flow made both local and national news. In these pictures you can see the vertigo-inducing suspension bridge, boulders and trees moving down the river and dust from the cement-like debris flow.

We hiked up to Emerald Ridge, one of Claire’s favorite places in the park. We hiked up moraines and had spectacular views of Mount Rainier. I strongly recommend hiking the Wonderland Trail with a geologist!!

A filtering stop.

Salmon berries!

On the trail up to Klapatche Park, we came across a bear eating blueberries by the trail!

We watched the sunset from our campsite.