170814 – Mt Rainier

Day:  113
Date:  Monday, 14 August 2017
Start:  Camped by the trail at Mile 2312.1, 5603 ft
Finish:  Camped by the trail at Mile 2335.7, 6148 ft
Daily Miles:  23.6 PCT 
Total PCT Miles:  1795.4
Weather:  Cool to mild and sunny
Accommodation:  Tent
     Breakfast:  Muesli
     Lunch:  Gorp
     Dinner:  Pasta & rice, cheese and salmon
Aches:  Left heel sore to the point where I am limping, especially uphill.
Highlight:  Getting some good views of Mt Rainier and its glaciers as I passed by.
Lowlight:  None really
Pictures:  Click here

Position:  Click here.
Map:  Click here for Google Map

I was on the trail soon after 6:00am on a very cool morning, wearing my coat and gloves for the first few hours which were mostly in the shadow of the surrounding mountains.  The trail followed the border of Mt Rainier National Park, though it was some time before I got my first view of the snow and glacier-covered peak.  There was a little bit of excitement for both me and a large elk, when we surprised each other on a trail corner, but no harm done.

My first break, after nearly three hours, was near the beautiful Dewey Lake, which had a number of campers around its shore.  It’s only a few miles from one of the access roads to the National Park, and for the next few hours walking I saw a lot of day hikers out enjoying the excellent scenery, including other lakes, on a beautiful day.  The trail crossed the road near the trailhead parking lot which held a lot of cars, but sadly no cafes or shops.

Although there was some forest walking, for much of the day the trail was traversing steep slopes with few trees, and was often technical and hard work, especially with a blistered heel that doesn’t like uneven ground or going uphill.  Nevertheless, the scenery was fabulous and I felt privileged to be out here for weeks when most of the day hikers were just getting a glimpse of what is near the road.

Later in the day, some small wildfires were visible on a slope in the middle distance, and the only northbound PCT hiker I saw all day called 911 to report them, since there didn’t seem to be any official activity.  Fortunately, the wind was blowing the fires away from the PCT,  but it passed quite closely.

I filled my water bottles around 4:30pm from a spring that was supposed to be the last water for a while and walked until 6:30pm when I found a campsite on a treed ridge.  It was cold, with an icy breeze, and got me wondering how cold it may be at greater altitudes in the High Sierras in a month’s time when I am back there.  I will carry another layer, I think.

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