WA – Mount Rainier National Park, Mowich Lake Trailhead (Spray Park) (July 2021)

I remember when I hiked the Wonderland Trail (link) regretting that I didn’t have time to visit much acclaimed Spray Park. With Joan’s help, this was going to be my opportunity for a do over. But first, since I’d had a rest day after hiking, we decided to make it a twofer day.

Eunice Lake/Tolmie Peak

While Joan hiked to the lookout at Tolmie Peak, I enjoyed a swim at Eunice Lake and wished I too could be up on that rim.

Ascending 1,000 feet in 2.5 miles is still quite challenging for me as I regain fitness following my lengthy knee surgery rehab.

Eagles Roost/Spray Park

This was to be my first backpack trip in 10 months. Joan offered to carry part of my weight to ensure success. We were able to secure walk-up permits to this campsite only a couple miles from the trailhead.

We were offered this view of Mt Rainier on the way to our campsite. We were both still pinching ourselves at our luck with perfect weather, amazing views and backcountry permits.

I was incredibly happy to have Joan as my enabler.

Spray Falls

We’d read that we should visit Spray Falls for sunset, and so we did. Well we might have needed to go a bit later but we couldn’t find an easy way to cross the creek for optimal views and were certainly not going to attempt in the dark so we accepted the visit as good enough.

Spray Park

We wondered if there would be a sign welcoming us to The Park, but alas without such a sign we decided this bridge marked the boundary. I’d never heard the word park used to mean meadows until I hiked the Wonderland Trail.

We’d been warned about the skeeters in Spray Park so we came prepared.

In the background is Hessong Rock a very popular day hike.

Mountain Bog Gentian

The Avalanche Lilies were HUGE!

We were headed to a lake below the pointed rock, Observation Rock.

Everywhere we looked were floral delights.

We’d brought our microspikes in anticipation of this. It was so much fun to walk on snow. We met a snowboarder who’d been up to the top and enjoyed his ride down.

We had a few uphill climbs but our microspikes handled it like champs.

When we were hot or needed a break we found a perfect canvas for making snow angels.

Yay we found J&J Lake, an unnamed lake below Observation Peak.

There were 360 degree views.

And of course we swam. YES it was cold and our swims were short.

Looking back at where we’d been.

We found the energy to hike back up to the viewpoint to watch sunset. 

Pacific Coralroot was a highlight of our campsite.

While the miles might not have been impressive, I was thrilled to complete my first backpack trip in 10 months.

Thanks Joan for making this trip possible. What a wonderful week we shared in Mt Rainier National Park, making memories and living without regrets. As my niece would say, living our best lives!

I wonder if my surgeon and physical therapist would have approved this activity? I stayed away from the snow all winter and spring, but by the end of July I could no longer resist.

DATE(S) HIKED: July 29-31, 2021

RESOURCES:

Other Jaunts in Washington (link) including the Wonderland Trail (link)

WA – Mount Rainier National Park, Stevens Canyon (July 2021)

When you find yourself less than 30 miles from a National Park, how can you resist a visit especially after staring at this beautiful mountain for the past week or two?

Team J&J were still together after completing Section H of the PCT (link). With a perfect weather window, and attitudes set to deal with expected peak season summer crowds, we arrived at the park early and completed a couple of the popular hikes from Stevens Canyon entrance.

Grove of the Patriarchs and Silver Falls Loop

We loved this swinging bridge that crossed the Ohanapecosh River. We skipped, danced and laughed our way across it.

These mega trees earned their right to be in the Grove of the Patriarchs.

Silver Falls

We enjoyed our time so much on Friday, we decided to roll the dice on Saturday and try for nearby Eastside Trail which parallels Chinook Creek. A ranger recommended that we hike south from the Deer Creek junction.

Safford Falls was our favorite.

Joan was entertained by the Pacific Banana slugs.

While I was thrilled to find Pacific Coralroot.

How’s this for lunch with a view?

And then we found our favorite swimming hole.

What a great way to spend some time in a National Park. We only saw a handful of people and loved experiencing the park from a different perspective, as in no views of the mountain.

On a hot summer day who can complain about plentiful water?

DATE(S) HIKED: July 23-24, 2021

RESOURCES:

Other Jaunts in Washington (link) including the Wonderland Trail (link)