Mt. Rainier

On Saturday, June 24th, Duncan, Darren, Beth, Matthew and I went to explore Mt. Rainier. It turned out that the parking at Paradise Point was above the snow line.

At Paradise Visitor Center we learned that the latter half of the trail we wanted to go on, Skyline Loop, was unmarked and covered with lots of snow. Our plan was therefore to travel half of the path and backtrack to return. We discovered, however, that the snow was deep right from the start of the trail. I (re)discovered that walking in snow is hard work: one step forward, half step back.

Here is Duncan (yellow) and Darren (orange).

Expecting a dry trail, we wore sneakers, shorts, and t-shirts. Other "hikers" brought skis. Several times we encounterd a beeline of hikers with ice picks and rope, either passing us up the hill, or returning victorious.

The walk up was arduous. We made one stop along the way to catch our breahts, but continued upward.

In the distance, those who reached a respectable elevation rewarded themselves by sliding down!

Eventually we made it to what we called the top. In fact, it was a small landing that afforded us some dry ground and rocks upon which to sit. We ate lunch and admired the view.

We could have travelled higher, but it was decided at the time that such an attempt would be accompanied by regret on grouds of muscle pain. Must practice more!

Dispite all the snow, it was actually quite warm and sunny.Beth and Matthew:

Group picture, Darren, Duncan, Beth in the back and Michal, Matthew in the front. The poor composition is on account of the fact that I didn't have a tripod and had to rely on the courtesy of rocks for camera placement. I should've at least brought a small tripod - lesson learned.

Views were spectacular.

The way down was fun. At first, we tried running.

After trying to walk, it was discovered that sliding was much more effective. Most of the remaining photos are "action shots" of such sliding activity.

Look, another hill we can slide down!

Who's going next?

Lookout below!

Oh it's cold cold cold!

More running.

Yep, I conquered this little rock in one afternoon.

Some trees were growing sideways.

There was a waterfall below the snow line surrounded by tall trees.

And of course I just had to try my hand at tripod-less long exposure shots...

Good to know:

Duncan contemplates the day's events.

The sun set, and the day was over.

Lessons learned: check the local weather conditions, bring a sled or mat for sliding down on snow, bring a tripod, don't get tired.

(See more photos from this trip on Flickr)

On July 26th, one month after these pictures were taken, I returned to the same hike with other friends. The difference was astonishing.

This is, updated 2006-08-16 02:27 EDT

Contact: michalg at domain where domain is (more)