9.9.18. 25.5 miles.
Today was such a gorgeous and great day, despite the over 1 mile of vertical climbing I had to endure. My day started off with the longest climb of the day, and it was pretty cold and on and off cloudy. Once I broke out of the forest, the ridges and rocks were so cool. I definitely felt like I was in the Washington I recognized.
The trail undulated up & down and I entered into Mt. Rainier National Park, and even got some peeks of the mountain, though it was hiding in the clouds for a lot of the day. After some more up & down with lots of opportunities for blueberry picking, I decided to eat lunch at Dewey Lake when I saw Sprinkles & Burps there. Usually I’m on the lookout for shade at lunch, but since it didn’t really warm up today, I was very eager to join them in their patch of sun by the lake. The lake was so pretty and had a white sandy beach. This would definitely be a good swim spot if it wasn’t so cold out!
After lunch, I had a decently steep, but short, climb to a ridge, and then descended by a pond and then to a major road that leads to the entrance of the park. Since it was a Sunday, there were SO many day hikers out, and weekenders finishing backpacking trips. I hadn’t seen this many day hikers since Carson Pass the weekend before 4th of July. I can see why it’s a popular destination. The mountains are so pretty and the lakes are so teal colored, and the trail is wide and has a nice, easy grade. I stopped at the trailhead parking lot to use the pit toilet and throw away my trash. The sky was getting a little ominous too, so I rearranged some things in my pack: putting all clothes in my waterproof pack liner and moving a couple things from the outside pocket.
Sure enough, on the next climb to Sheep Lake, it started to rain. I pulled my rain jacket on, and as I got to the lake to grab some water to filter, it started raining harder. It didn’t rain hard for long. The rain would fall fast, then lighten up, then stop, then sprinkle again, etc. typical Washington. It was cold though, so I was pretty thankful to be hiking uphill to keep my body moving and warm. I didn’t bother putting my rain pants on because it wasn’t pouring & windy.
The ridge walk for the rest of the day was very pretty and I had great views of the mountains! Once the rain really stopped, I even got to see a beautiful rainbow! It was marvelous. I also had a bit of cell service and checked on my shoe package. It still has the same info, so when I get service tomorrow, I’ll need to call again to see where that package is. With any luck, it will be at the hotel’s PO box. Fingers crossed, because I do need new shoes. The insoles and heels are getting holes in them, and while that’s not an issue itself, it means the shoe is wearing out, and I’ve been able to feel the trail more, in a bad way. By the time I get to Snoqualmie Pass, I’ll have worn them for almost 700 miles, so I definitely need a new pair.
I was happy to make it to my tentsite at a reasonable time and be near water. I take a bit longer at night now because I’m cooking, and getting to camp by 7 is ideal for me now, bc I have enough time to cook and eat before it gets dark, which is around 8, and it’s very very dark by 8:30. Tomorrow I’m going to have so much less climbing, so that will be a treat!