Mount Rainier Camping Trip- August 2015

Riffe Lake outside of the SW quadrant of Rainier. Very, very low water levels. Unbelievable to see, but given the low snow levels last winter, understandable.

Dust blowing across the lake. Crazy!
First stop inside the park: we were looking for animals with the telephoto lens.

Love the telephoto lens; could see all the way up to Camp Muir (about 10,000 feet up).

We drove to Ohanapecosh and went on a short hike to the Grove of the Patriarchs, which is on an island in the middle of the Ohanapecosh River. The grove contains trees that are over 1,000 years old. If you're lucky enough to spend time there without other people, I imagine it could be an amazing place to meditate. Standing next to an old tree that is still standing is humbling. Those trees have withstood a lot.

We stopped to read all of the signs along the trail and worked on our tree identification as we hiked: alders, western red cedars, Douglas firs, and western hemlocks. The Douglas Fir is named after a Scottish explorer named David Douglas. He traveled 6,000 miles in one year throughout the PNW sometime in the late 1800's!

A suspension bridge. Only one person could walk across at a time. 

This Western Red Cedar is over 1,000 years old. Look at how magnificent it is! 

Ash from the Mount St. Helen's eruption mixed with dirt. 

Pearly Everlasting blooming all over the park. Such a pretty wildflower.

Our trusty stove.

This spider was probably an inch and a half long! 

I actually really like dehydrated/freeze-dried foods. This is one of my favorites.

Sometimes you just gotta laugh things off, like forgetting the poles to your backpacking tent. We made it work though.

Micah enjoying dinner.

A ranger's cabin, built sometime in the 1920's (I think)

The river was SO strong that it was hitting that fallen tree causing water to splash up. 

We found several cairns by the river (above and below). 

....and a Zen Garden. 

I love this photo because of the break in the clouds where you can see the very top of the volcano.

Cool bridge.
We joined the campfire and listened to a Ranger talk about the Geological history of Rainier. She had us separate into groups and talk about photos and why they meant something to us. We joined the group with the mountain goat photo and had a fun discussion about mountain goats. At this point, I had never seen a mountain goat out in the wild, so my memory was one to be made. Micah shared his experience hiking in Israel and how he was called a mountain goat by his friends because he jumped from rock to rock as they hiked.

She ended her presentation with a John Muir quote:

"As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can."

Sunset at the White River campground.

We went to bed right after the sun went down. I awoke several times throughout the night because I was ready to get up and start the day. The first time I woke up was at 2 am... I had no idea it was 2 am, and didn't have a watch. I just saw that it was dark. I turned my phone on, saw the time, and made myself go back to sleep. The next time I woke up was at 5:30...6... 7... lol. 

This was where we pitched our tent.

Sun coming up, light streaming through the trees.

Getting ready to make breakfast.

Packed up the campsite and headed on our way to Sunrise, about 2,000 feet above us.

Hiked to Fremont Lookout. The chipmunks pretty much stole the show with their cuteness.

A very important meeting being held on the dandelion.

Shadow Lake. We camped here last year (click here to read about it)

A marmot on a rock.

We hiked Sourdough to Frozen Lake and then took the trail up to Mount Fremont to get to the Fremont Lookout.  There's the lookout in the distance, 7100 feet up.

Chuck the Chipmunk joined us for lunch. There was another chipmunk who joined us and ate food out of Micah's hand. We named him Thoreau.

We saw over 30 Mountain Goats beneath the lookout.

Ate lunch by the lookout. 

"Sublime grandeur." 

Hikers on the first Burroughs.

More mountain goats, off the Wonderland Trail.

This helicopter scared all of the mountain goats. 

A marmot with a beautiful coat.

He ran under a rock after several minutes of us watching him. I personally think he got super annoyed with us photographing him... he could barely fit under the rock...he basically army crawled his way into it. lol.

One more adorable chipmunk to end the hike :)

Wildlife count this trip: Several chipmunks, 3 marmots, about 40 mountain goats, 2 Elk (didn't photograph them because I've seen more than enough Elk for one lifetime and they aren't my favorite), and lots of insects. No bears or mountain lions.

Lots of happy hikers on the trails. I love all of the greetings and small talk we encountered along the way. People are so friendly out on the trails. It's nice to see people with smiles on their faces.

Year-to-date hiking stats: 176.7 miles, 44,215 feet in elevation gain. I am hoping to hit 200 miles and 50,000 feet by the end of August. I've got this!

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