Saturday, August 02, 2014

First Hike of the Summer!

2014-07-06, Hiking Skyline Loop at Mt Rainier:

[Written by Katrina]

The base of Nisqually Glacier, on the SW face of Mt Rainier.
     Several months into the clear, beautiful summer here in the Pacific NW of Washington State, Michael and I have finally managed to break ourselves away from our house construction efforts to go hiking for the first time this summer! It was a much needed stress relief for us, and a great chance to breath the clear mountain air!

    Being as how this was the first hike of the summer for us, we chose an easier hike: Skyline loop at the top of Mt Rainier. It's a very popular hike, starting at Paradise lodge, the highest point that travelers can drive to in Mt Rainier National Park – at 5,420 ft: essentially right at the base of the snow-capped peak of Mt Rainier. We knew it would be popular, as it's considered one of the star hikes of the whole park, but we didn't quite realize just how popular:

This is the first time I've encountered a true "traffic jam" on a hike surrounded by true pristine wilderness right next to the base of a glacier!

And no, your eyes do not deceive you: this hiking trail (again, remember pristine mountain wilderness starting at 5,420ft) was paved! For a surprisingly long length of distance, even in sections that became steeper than 40%+ grade!

     But despite the potentially overcrowded nature of the trail, it was still beautiful, and well worth hiking J

Sluiskin Falls

Michael enjoyed the creative fun that hikers came up with on one the lingering snowfields (yes, snowfields in July, for all those still stuck in the sweltering Kansas heat!):

Native Chipmunk
Myrtle Falls

Wildflowers beginning to bloom

And finally, to sum up our impressions of this trail (and just because I like French!), I say "Chapeau" to the Skyline Loop (and pretty much all of the trails) at Mt Rainier. "Chapeau" literally means "hat", as in "my hat goes off to you" (showing respect and admiration). And despite Michael not knowing French, he clearly agreed with me as he gave his own "Chapeau!" homage to this beautiful Mt Rainier trail J:


Helen Kline said...

Why didn't we get to see Katy go down the slides?? Wonderful pics -- let's go there the next time we come out there!

Erik said...

Those are some crowded hiking trails! I feel fortunate to live in Alaska where the population is relatively low and the trails are less crowded. Thanks for the report. Glissading is a great mountain pastime. Just make sure to check for snow-stability conditions!