Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Emmons Glacier Overlook

 In the evening, we hiked out to the Emmons Glacier Overlook from the Sunrise parking lot hoping Mt Rainier would emerge from behind the clouds.
This is a 3 mile round trip hike with about 400 ft of overall elevation gain.

We saw some wildflowers in bloom, including these paintbrush.

When we reached the overlook, we could see the turquoise lake down in Glacier Basin and the lower parts of the glaciers on Mt Rainier.
 We stayed at the overlook for about 35 minutes, when the clouds began to move.
 We were happy to see the top of Mt Rainier
 The clouds parted enough for this fabulous view.
 On our way back, we took the side trail to Shadow Lake. We were going to take the trail to the left and go around the lake, when we spotted a fox down on the trail.

As we took the trail around to the right, we watched the fox hunting.

My friend got this photo from the zoom of his camera (I took a phone photo off the screen on the back of this camera)

On the far side of the lake, we saw several deer.
 Beautiful view of Mt Rainier as the trail neared the parking area at Sunrise.

Silver Falls

 We hiked to Silver Falls from the trailhead off of Hwy 123. This is about 1 mile round trip.

View of Silver Falls from along the trail.
 View of Silver Falls from near the bridge

 Looking downstream from the bridge

Silver Falls from the overlook on the other side of the creek.
Wide angle view of Silver Falls from the overlook

Myrtle Falls

 We did the short hike to Myrtle Falls at Paradise in Mt Rainier National Park. We started from the lower parking lot and made a loop by starting along one trail and returning along another.
Even though Mt Rainier was covered by clouds, Myrtle Falls was beautiful.

 In the distance, we saw that marmots were over by the bridge, so we continued up to check it out.
 We saw about 6 or 7 marmots in this area.

 We watched this marmot perched on the hillside that was covered in avalanche and glacier lilies, until another marmot came and pushed him off.

Ground squirrel
Also saw some Pasque flowers beginning to bloom.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Tahoma Creek to Longmire on the Wonderland Trail

I've been wanting to do some sections of the Wonderland Trail at Mt Rainier National Park that I have not yet done. We drove up the Westside Road to it's end to take the unmaintained Tahoma Creek Trail up to the Wonderland Trail. From there we hiked along the Wonderland Trail east (or counter clockwise) to Indidan Henr's Hunting Ground (with a side trip to Mirror Lakes) and over to Longmire.  This was about 14 miles with 3,000 ft of overall elevation gain.
View of Mt Rainier from the closed to car section of the Westside Road.

 About 1.8 miles up the closed section of Westside Road we turned off to the right on a trail that is seen where the road turns sharply to the left.

A short ways in on the trail, is a sign letting you know that the next 2.2 miles along the Tahoma Creek is not maintained (this is due to repeat floodings that have taken our sections of the trail).
Be aware that flash floods can occur on hot days from large glacier melts.

 Some side streams of Tahoma Creek need to be crossed. We were fortunate to find this large log going across one of the fast, deep side streams.
View of Mt Rainier looking up Tahoma Creek
We found some cairns that marked where the trail could be found

signs of an unmaintained trail

The trail is washed away in several places, where we would climb up steeply to regain the trail and climb down to hike for a short distance along the river bed.

We did see some woodland wildflowers in bloom along the way, such as these coral roots

 Near the end of the trail, we came across a couple of small waterfalls.

Sign marking the junction of the Wonderland Trail with the Tahoma Creek Trail.
 Suspension bridge over Tahoma Creek.
 I was glad to see the missing slats had been replaced since I had last crossed this bridge two years ago.
 View from the bridge looking upstream
 View from the bridge looking downstream
Mt Wow in the distance

 The Wonderland Trail up to Indian Henry's Hunting Ground is mostly in the forest. There were a couple of places where we caught a glimpse of Mt Rainier
 We passed some fields filled with avalanche lilies
 a beautiful stream crossing
another view of Mt Rainier
 As we were getting closer to Indian Henry's, the forest opened up a bit and we would get more glimpses of the mountain
There were some snow patches off the trail, and here the trail was lined with avalanche lilies
 At the western end of Indian Henry's Hunting Ground is a side trail to Mirror Lakes

 On the Mirror Lakes Trail, we would have some nice views of Mt Rainier and pass fields and fields of avalanche lilies
 Some parts of this trail were quite muddy and wet, and about 5% of the trail was covered in snow.

some of the bridges here have been damaged by the weather

Besides avalanche lilies, we saw paintbrush and buttercups in bloom.

 This short side trail is beautiful to walk in

alternating fields of avalanche and glacier lilies
 I love how this short trail winds around, hiding and revealing Mt Rainier

 Reflection of Mt Rainier in the first Mirror Lake
We found this a lovely place to stop and take a lunch break
the second Mirror Lake is quite small and was covered in snow

fields and fields of wildflowers in Indian Henry's Hunting Grounds
mostly early blooms of avalanche and glacier lilies, buttercups, and pasque flowers

 some paintbrush in bloom as we approached the Ranger's Cabin at  Indian Henry's

lovely view of Mt Rainier

 Mt Rainier reflected in a tarn near the Ranger Cabin at  Indian Henry's
 another view of the Ranger Cabin at Indian Henry's
 only 7 more miles to Longmire, most of them downhill
 the majority of the Wonderland Trail between Indian Henry's and Longmire is in the forest
We would cross several streams and go past a couple of wilderness camps

 Squaw Lake
 view of Mt Rainier peeking out from behind Iron Mountain at Squaw Lake
beautiful forest

 lovely stream

 The bridge was in at Kautz Creek
 This section of the Wonderland Trail has been washed out by seasonal flooding of Kautz Creek. Some of the cairns were easier to spot than others.
 gorgeous view of Mt Rainier along Kautz Creek
 You can see where the hillside and trail were washed out
 View looking across the west side of Kautz Creek as we began hiking up Rampart Ridge
 only 300-400 ft of gain on this section going up Rampart Ridge, I was happy to be hiking in the shade
sign marking the junction of the Rampart Ridge and Wonderland Trails.
 admiring the fallen huge trees

 nice boardwalk section as we near the road
 after crossing the road, we would leave the Wonderland Trail to hike 0.3 mile to Longmire

some of the wildflowers we saw along the trail today: