Saturday, 4 August 2012

Mt. Rainier: take glacier, add baby and sprinkle of wildflowers

Anticipation builds on the plane ride to Seattle: great views of Mt. St. Helens, Adams, and Rainier.

Mt. St. Helens foreground, Rainier background
But first, a quick diversion to Snoqualmie Falls, which should remind you of plastic wrapped bodies and dancing midgets.


Em found us a great house on VRBO, and we quickly had some steaks grilling.




The next day we headed to the 'Sunrise' area of Mt. Rainier and the 8.4 mile (13.4 km), 2140 ft (650 m) hike to Summerland.

We started out with some tantalising views of peaks and snow through the forest, and some really nice waterfalls.


Then, bam.  Wildflowers galore.  Whole meadows of them.  The wildflowers were truly spectacular and really made this hike.  Em says it is her favourite hike in the US now.  I think I'm putting it at number 2 just behind North Dome.

Wildflowers and Little Tahoma and Rainier peeking through the trees


And some snowy bits, not too hard to navigate, even with a baby on your back.


More snow, and spectacular views at Summerland meadow 5,950 ft (1813 m).

Little Tahoma (pointy bit on the left), Rainier's summit and Fryingpan glacier (centre), and Ella, who likes ponies and glaciers.
Ella was a trooper once again, and spent most of the hike sleeping in the carrier.  We did this one in the Becco, which was a lot lighter and more comfortable than the external frame Vaude pack we used at North Dome.  I suspect our days of doing long hikes like this are numbered as walking gets more and more interesting for her.


On the way up someone told us that Ella was the second youngest kid on the trail today, which surprised us, but we met the 3-month-old at the top :)  Most hikers on the trail were either doing the very-cool-looking Wonderland trail loop, or mountaineering.  One group was putting on their helmets and crampons to step onto Fryingpan glacier right where we had lunch.  Their plan was to camp on the ridge and summit Little Tahoma the next day at 2am.

Before heading back to the house we stopped in at Sunrise point and took in the view, you get another great perspective on Rainier and Little T.


1 comment:

Garth said...

Nice one! Great to see you getting out there with baby on tow :).