Mount Rainier Camping Trip - August 29th - September 1st, 2016
Coordinator Diane Rannow, narration by Lois Soulia and pictures by Diane Rannow

All big mountains cast a spell but Mt. Rainier, looms with an aura that beckons to all with its beautiful massiveness encompassing the glaciers, the sound of melting trickling water and the immense mysterious crevasses. Some days, the mountain displayed its lenticular cloud.

It must have been the largest camping/hiking group the club has ever had, 24 people. Most stayed in the Cougar Rock Campground and five stayed at the Paradise Inn. The Cougar Rock people were envied as they communed with nature, until the rains came on Wednesday afternoon. Of course the people at the Inn got some hardship with the electricity going off for an hour or so.

The whole group, except for one, did the Skyline Trail going clockwise the first day. The literature said it was a 5.5 mile hike but some hikers had GPS trackers which racked up 6 1/2 miles. (Who, who to believe?) Some hikers who took all the little side trails probably did more than that. The views were awesome and the loop trail challenging. The altitude at Panarama Point was 7,100, with a 1,700 foot altitude gain according to Diane.

The second day, some of the faster hikers went over to the Sunrise side of Rainier for more challenging trails and according to Edwin, the beauty of the hikes on that side surpassed even the Skyline hike. Others took a hike on the 3 ½ mile, 600 foot altitude gain, Reflection Lakes trail with two members, Rheo and Gary being rewarded by a close encounter with a bear, a BIG upright bear. Another group took the Pinnacle Peak Saddle Trail a 2.6 mile, 1,055 foot altitude gain out and back hike and then finished with the Reflection Lakes trail.

The last hike was Comet Falls and Van Trump Park. The basic hike to the falls is 4 miles, out and back, with a high point at 5,920 feet. All but one hiker made it to the falls. Some hikers went on up to Van Trump park, one more mile and then some continued through the park to Longmire to make it into a shuttle hike. Two members also went to Snow Lake which on a bright sunny day is a lovely hike, with blue green water shining at the base of the alpine tarn -- on a very rainy day, not so much lovely. Rheo saw a mountain goat and an osprey through the rain. Lois saw a blue gentian (Trappers or bog gentian.)

The wildlife was varied and interesting. Marmots seemed to like posing for pictures. The Pikas were fun to watch peering out from their homes in the rocks. The group who went to the Sunrise side of the mountain saw a large herd of mountain goats. And then, there was the fore-mentioned bear. The people along the trails were fun to talk to and the Rainier Summiteers were aglow with sweat and triumph.

Kudos to Diane for her logistical abilities and good planning for our successful trip.



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