Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mt. Rainier National Park

After seeing the beautiful pictures that my friend Nicole took a year ago in Mt. Rainier NP, I was truly looking forward to hiking there. However, this year winter decided to linger for much longer than usual on the West Coast, and, as a result, even in July many mountain ranges were still quietly sleeping under a blanket of snow, and patiently waiting for the summer sun to wake them up.

After we arrived at the Paradise Visitor Center (located at 5400 feet/1647 meters) and saw how much snow was still there, we decided to abandon our initial plan of hiking the 7-mile long Skyline Paradise Loop and instead geared up for a short and easy (1.2-mile round trip) hike to the Myrtle Falls. This hike was described in the park's brochure as "wheelchair accessible with assistance." Hence, we assumed that we would be able to do it, despite the snow.

We put on several extra layers of clothes (including gloves and caps), packed water and some snacks into our backpacks, and off we went to the trailhead, where we took this picture:

As you can see, just after seven stairsteps the trail became impassable. As soon as we stopped laughing at our own naivety, we turned around and went back to the car with a strong resolution to come back to Mt. Rainier later in the year, after some of the snow melts away. Let's hope we will manage to revisit it before this year's winter arrives.