Originally our plan had been to go dayhiking yesterday morning. It was socked in down below but with promise it would burn off (thanks to this very detailed forecast of the Mt. Rainier area I can usually peg good days easily!) By the time we got up to Chinook Pass the sky was blue and it was oohhh…..53°! We did leave early though!
Anyhow long story short I decided to trust the Seattle Times article on “5 snow free hikes!” that came out on Thursday. My gut kept saying “it isn’t melted out” but the author claimed it was – and I have met the author a couple of times and respect her. Well…it was like “mostly” melted out. The problem being is that at the trailhead still a solid wall of snow and to get up on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) you have to climb up the snow bank. Normally I don’t have qualms doing that – many times I have done this same hike and we climbed up. Well….not so easy when you have a baby on your back. It just isn’t worth it to take the risk. So I bagged the hike idea. I did find out later that the last ½ mile of the trail to the pretty subalpine lake was still under snow as well. So I felt a lot better for deciding against hiking it! I would have had to probably turn back. Sadly enough my risk taking goes into the basement when I have Walker on my back. I don’t like crossing snow, sketchy moss-covered logs, fording creeks, etc.
So sitting there at Chinook Pass, staring back at the western side of the state, covered in still heavy snow and thinking “It is July 29th!!!!” I headed back down the mountains a bit. We stopped a bit down above Tipsoo Lake and took some photos. It was pretty out and you can’t pass that up!
Looking across at Mt. Rainier:
Considering about 2 weeks had passed there had been “some” snow melt since I had been last up there, but not much. The lakes are still not broken up. The “stream” across the lake is a tiny bit wider and the snow not as deep. But not breaking up!
Rainier through a couple well bent trees:
Walker and I (Ford is getting so much better at taking photos now!)
Afterwards we drove down to the White River area of Mt. Rainier NP and had a picnic of sorts along the river. The river was running overall slow. In the summer of 2004 when I did a partial thru-hike of the Wonderland Trail my memory of the White River was it rushing wildly, chocolate-brown in color and that all you could hear was massive boulders grinding together. It was a very peaceful lunchtime though. The air smelled so good and the first wildflowers were open. It was so nice!
I took the day for what it was and we still had a nice day, me and the kids!