I had a lot more to say about Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon, but I did three major hikes at Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington, so I’m going to skip a bit and show you some of those days.
Usually my time at The Mountain is so limited, that I end up doing one hike, just going up from Paradise, to get as close as I can to a higher view. I also do this hike to test my strength and make sure I haven’t lost all my high altitude hiking ability from living in the flat lands. Then I usually do easy walks for a couple of days to recover from the one major hike. These trails start right by the visitor’s center and Paradise Inn parking lots, so it’s easy to just start on up and get some great views right away. Here’s a photo from in front of the visitor’s center.
The Tatoosh Range is south of Mt. Rainier. If you can get high enough to see over it, Mt. Adams is visible, and Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood. (Years ago, on a super clear day, I saw Mt. Jefferson!)
You can usually count on two major snow fields to cross on the way to Panorama Point, but this time I lost count of the snow fields I crossed.
Here you can see some of the thousand or so of the hikers, most of whom were going higher and farther than I was. I could tell because of their equipment. If you enlarge the photo, you’ll see what I mean about a crowded trail. I don’t recommend this hike on a clear Saturday in July, but on the other hand, if you’re there, you don’t want to miss it in clear weather! On the way down, I had to stand aside for quickly descending summit climbers, who were then stopped by family members who had gathered along the trail with their cameras to welcome them back. Major traffic jam.
“Only” .3 miles to Panorama Point. But I didn’t recognize that part of the trail to the right, and all the crowds were heading left. So instead of going the most direct route to the viewpoint, I ended up going out of my way on the Pebble Creek trail, and approaching the solar outhouse from above instead of below, and then finally ending up at the viewpoint. It added extra height, distance, and time to the hike.
This solar outhouse is really great. I remember when they used to bring in a porta-potty with a helicopter for the summer season. Although that was a huge improvement over nothing, this seems palatial in comparison.
A hat, good boots, and at least one walking stick are essential. Not that everyone knows that. Water, sunscreen, camera, jacket, map….I also carried a journal, my phone (just in case I had a signal, which I did not), and granola.
I thought these people were training for a summit climb, as one of the first lessons is to stop yourself when sliding. But now I see that some of them weren’t really dressed for it, so maybe they were just having more fun than I was.
I suppose taking so many pictures slowed me down, still, I’m not that fast on this hike. I was pleased that all my bike riding for the previous three months had helped, though. I didn’t have any trouble, and there was never any doubt that I could make it as far as I’d planned. I’m not fast, but I’m steady.
After finally making it back to Paradise, I met up with my cousins. Dinner was salmon and dessert was blackberry pie with huckleberry ice cream!
I felt like I’d earned every bite! And while we ate, we discussed the next day’s hike…