Month: March 2015

Exploring the Natural Wonders of the Evergreen State

Iron Creek Falls, Mount St. Helens

For those of you needing a quick brush up on your state trivia, the nickname of Washington is the Evergreen State. While I am fairly confident that the moniker was intended to honor the abundant amounts of evergreen trees found in the state’s natural areas, sometimes I’m not so sure. Could it be that the forefathers of that great state had me in mind when the epithet was chosen?

You see, although I love spending time in Washington state, I have to admit that deep inside I am crazy jealous whenever I am there. Washington is a dream come true for any nature-loving, photograph-taking, outdoor-seeking person, and being there makes me “ever-green with envy.” Do Washingtonians realize how fortunate they are to live in such a beautiful place? Is it really fair for one state to have so much?


The Wonderland Diaries: Exploring the Enchanting East Side

The Enchanting East Side The east side of Mount Rainier was the final four-day segment of our Wonderland adventure, and, in many ways, it felt like we had saved the best for last. Beginning on the south side of the park, we admired many beautiful trail-side waterfalls in the forested lower elevations before climbing back into the higher elevations of the east where a veritable alpine paradise awaited us. Spending our last two nights on the trail at Indian Bar and Summerland, two of the most beautiful camps in the park (if not the entire country), was a fitting end to the amazing experience of completing the Wonderland Trail. By the time we were through exploring Rainier’s enchanting east side, we wished we could turn around and do it all over again! (more…)

The Wonderland Diaries: The West Side Wander

The West Side Wander

The Wonderland Trail on Mount Rainier’s west side has a lot to offer the intrepid backpackers who venture here. This section of the trail is not easily accessed by road,  so few day hikers reach this quiet corner of paradise. A couple of monster ascents through old growth forest will have you huffing and puffing, and the stunning views of the mountain from Klapatche Park and Emerald Ridge will take your breath away. St. Andrew’s Lake offers a picture-perfect chance to cool off in ice-cold waters while a couple of dramatic river crossings are sure to get your adrenaline flowing. If you’re lucky, you might catch a gorgeous sunset from above the tranquil Golden Lakes. Wildflowers abound as you stroll through Indian Henry’s old hunting grounds on your way to your next cache and a well-deserved hot meal at Longmire.
A wander down the west side is well worth your while! (more…)

The Wonderland Diaries: Navigating the North Side

Desolate Pass Tarn

We began our Wonderland adventure traveling counter-clockwise on the north side of Mount Rainier from White River Campground heading toward South Mowich River. Filled with sweeping vistas, enchanting alpine meadows, photogenic lakes and a few hair-raising bear encounters to boot, this alluring section of the trail was the perfect introduction to the Wonderland—a magnificent visual feast from beginning to end. It had us at hello… (more…)

A Guide to Backpacking the Wonderland Trail

Backpacking the Wonderland Trail_2

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
which face of Mount Rainier
is the most fabulous of all?

If you really want to know the answer to this question, of course, you’ll have to discover it for yourself. And there’s no better way to do that than by backpacking Washington’s iconic Wonderland Trail. This 93-mile loop circumnavigates the entire mountain, giving you a non-stop parade of jaw-dropping alpine scenery, all with the mighty 14,410 foot glaciated peak of Mount Rainier as the backdrop. What more could you ask for? (more…)