Tag: Washington

Exploring Olympic National Park

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For our last backpacking trip of the summer, we head west to Washington’s enchanting Olympic peninsula to spend a few days exploring the rain forests, beaches and high alpine scenery of Olympic National Park. We’re probably crazy for wanting to do any more hiking after all the miles we’ve put in already this summer, but this time we really have no choice in the matter. (more…)

Day 6: Northside Figure 8, Mt. Rainier

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Mystic Lake to Sunrise Trailhead, ~10 miles

We are hiking out to our car today. It is a Saturday, and we have 10+ miles to go until we get back to Sunrise. Then we need to find a place to stay on a busy, summer weekend night. Given all that, we decide to get up at 5 and hit the trail as early as possible. We are very efficient in breaking camp, and,¬†as we are brushing our teeth, we even get the bonus of seeing a doe with her small fawn walk right across our front porch meadow (the exact spot where we saw Mama Bear with her two cubs in 2014!)‚ÄĒsometimes it really pays to get up early! (more…)

Day 5: Northside Figure 8, Mount Rainier

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Eagles Roost>Spray Park>Mystic Lake, ~11 miles

We have a longish day with the promise of non-stop beautiful scenery, and we want to make sure we have plenty of time to enjoy it all without feeling rushed, so it’s a super early start for us today. We wake up at 5 and are on the trail by 6:30. Even though we are eager to get to Spray Park, we make a quick detour to see Spray Falls, one of Rainier’s most impressive (and aptly-named) waterfalls. Just a quick photo and we are off! (more…)

Day 3: Northside Figure 8, Mount Rainier

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James Creek to Ipsut Creek Walk-in Campground, ~10 miles

It is chilly overnight, and we have a hard time convincing ourselves to leave the warmth of our sleeping bags in the morning. By the time we finally crawl out of the tent, it is nearly 7 am, and we enjoy a leisurely morning around camp, drinking our coffee and tea and eating our breakfast all from the comfort of our camp chairs. We are not sure if it rained more overnight or not, but the tent is still really wet. Nobody likes packing up a wet tent, especially Matt. He straps the fly to the outside of the pack just before we head off. On a brighter note, there are blue skies and the hope of much better weather to send us on our way. (more…)

Day 2: Northside Figure 8, Mount Rainier

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Berkeley Camp to James Camp, 9.0 miles

We both sleep heavy, and I totally forget where I am or why the alarm is going off when it rudely attempts to wake me up. Matt must be feeling the same way because he tags the snooze button on his phone several times before we finally decide it’s for the best to get moving. Our neighbors are up already and busy packing by the time we finally emerge from the tent. (more…)

Day 1: Northside Figure 8, Mount Rainier

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Sunrise Trailhead to Berkeley Park, 3.6 miles

We are starting the Northside Figure 8 from the Sunrise Visitor Center today in the northeastern corner of Mount Rainier, but we wake up far away in our front-country campsite at Cougar Rock just before dawn. We are in the southern portion of the park and are eager to photograph the views at Reflection Lakes during Golden Hour and then do a little bit of hiking at Paradise before heading north.¬† (more…)

Backpacking Mount Rainier’s Northside Figure 8

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If you have been following this blog for a while, you know it’s no big secret that we are huge fans of Mount Rainier National Park. This gem of the Pacific Northwest captured our hearts back in 2014 when we backpacked the 93-mile Wonderland Trail around the entire mountain. We loved our experience in Mount Rainier so much we even wrote a book about it! So, when we drove out to California to hike the John Muir Trail last summer, we couldn’t leave the West coast without making our way up to Washington state to get a little fix of “The Mountain.” (more…)

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¬†‚Äúever-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?

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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…)