The opening of Stevens Canyon Road is an important marker in my world these days. It says spring is coming to an end and long days of exploring are on the horizon.
My best friend joined me this morning for a romp on the forest trails of Mount Rainier National Park. We left Auburn around 5 am to try to beat thunderstorms in the forecast for early afternoon.
We chose Rampart Ridge after reading about trail conditions. (Clean, stocked bathrooms at Longmire and ample parking) You can access the trail from either the Wonderland Trail and climb counter-clockwise to the ridge or start up from the Trail of the Shadows. We chose the Shadows trail hoping to reach the viewpoints before the clouds rolled in. It was warmer and clearer than we expected.
Trail is in great condition. As you may have read, the switchbacks seem endless and are Up, Up, Up. Copy that. It is a good workout for sure. There are a couple viewpoints heading up and the rocky spot along the ridge where we lunched was perfect.
The mountain showed herself briefly until the summit was swallowed by the clouds. It’s a lovely hike through the woods but not a lot in the way of drama. We saw a fawn on our drive up Paradise Road and a deer near the trail. Saw a couple bunnies and we were followed for 1/4 mile by a grouse that seemed to want to “move us along”.
We drove home to Auburn via Stevens Canyon Road. It’s beautiful up there as spring is starting to explode in green. We made a quick stop at Box Canyon and took the short little spur off of the Wonderland trail to the bridge. Gorgeous.
I’m sure Paradise was probably full of people, so our strategy of hiking early and driving home “the long way” panned out nicely.
All in all a wonderful day in the mountains. It was good to talk a bit and breathe in that fresh air. My head gets “socked in” like a valley of fog and this … this is my clearing. This is my mountain air medicine.