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Short Hikes In The Rain at Rainier

Hopefully the 4th of July weekend was good for everyone – though that means most of us are back to work today!

With Western Washington still in the throes of freaking winter our options for hiking have been well noted as being minimal. On Saturday Kirk and I took the boys out for an easy local hike on the Green to Cedar River Trail. Perfect weather for walking – cold and overcast. On Sunday I wanted to try out the new front carrier that we had picked up for Walker, Kelty Kangaroo Infant Carrier which is a discontinued model, but still sold new on Amazon.

I have talked recently about my frustrations with getting a carrier that Walker would like. He howls almost instantly when put in carriers. And more so, I needed a carrier designed for hiking, not for “baby wearing” which most slings, packs and wraps are. I happened upon a mention of the Kangaroo online when I remembered about the Kelty Wallaby Infant Carrier. The Wallaby is a good pack as well but for hiking the Kangaroo is hands down a fantastic design. It is too bad that Kelty discontinued  them and is now only making carriers for older babies (back carriers). The new pack came about 2 weeks ago and after a couple local test runs I felt secure enough in using it on a real trail so off to the mountains we went. We crossed one mountain pass to get to the trailhead and it was a balmy 44° outside. As we headed to the pass we drove into the clouds. At the first trailhead it was 45° and misting. Perfect summer weather, no? We didn’t do any big trails nor anything remote but we did get out and have a great hike – and the new pack passed with flying colors. The back support was comfy for me, Walker was happy in his well padded cockpit style seat. He was fascinated by the trees and spent much of the hike wide awake looking around.

We visited the Box Canyon area, which yes, is a tourist spot but a worthy break on a rainy day. The Wonderland Trail is most of the short loop trail. It is an are full of glacial scoured rock. Just seeing the rocks is worth pulling off the road.

The Muddy Fork of the Cowlitz River cuts through a very deep canyon. Half way you cross the river on a bridge. The river is 115 feet below you.

A web in the rain:

Photo © Kirk Kirkconnell.

The loop takes you back to the road where you cross the river on the car bridge, well over 130 feet above the water. There is also a tunnel a few feet away on the road that is neat to walk through. It brought back memories of doing the Wonderland in 2004. We camped our first night at Nickel Creek, short .8 of a mile past Box Canyon (also a nice way to extend a very short hike). There was a large raven loitering around the parking lot. I have a love for them and really enjoyed watching it.

We headed back downhill to Ohanapecosh and found parking for the Eastside Trail and Grove of the Patriarchs trail (check out the dayhiking page on the Rainier website as well).

Walker and I heading up the Eastside Trail:

I hadn’t been on the Eastside Trail in a few years. The last time I was there we had done a one way downhill walk from Chinook Pass to Ohana – in the rain, in fall. A gorgeous hike though if one gets the chance. I had been out to the Grove but neither had Kirk or Ford. In the flood of 2006 the wide fixed suspension bridge had been wasted and twisted. It had been a great bridge – it didn’t bounce at all. The new bridge is well built but is a bouncer. Walking across it isn’t bad as you are pretty low to the water and the Ohanapecosh River is a pretty clear one to look down at (it doesn’t have a lot of glacial till in it, so it isn’t cloudy).

Photo © Kirk Kirkconnell.

The island you walk out to has recovered nicely as well from the flood. The Grove is a very popular hike but is worth waiting for your turn to walk the bridge. The highlight being the two trees that are over a 1,000 years old:

Ford in front of them:

Photo © Kirk Kirkconnell.

Checking out the big trees:

Photo © Kirk Kirkconnell.

Walker was very much enjoying the ride and drifted off about here:

Photo © Kirk Kirkconnell.

It was a nice hike and it helped us feel comfortable using the new pack.


2 thoughts on “Short Hikes In The Rain at Rainier

  1. I too was at Mt. Rainier on July 4th. As I have a toddler who doesn’t like holding hands and a need to cross the border back home into Canada by the end of the day, we were more limited in our trail choices. We “hiked” a couple of roadside waterfall trails, stopped at Paradise in dense fog, and then headed around and up the east side of the park. Near Sunrise, the fog cleared, and we got some decent views of Rainier, so we made the side trip into Sunrise for more photo opportunities. I’m definitely going to try and get back to hike more later…. maybe without the whole family.

  2. Brian… should look into a Shockle for your toddler – it has ‘biners on each end – one for you, one for them. Clip on their pants or pack. Then they get freedom and are happy (Kind of cool that I found a classier looking “tether” for when Walker is older – Ford had a handmade job.) Just ignore that it is a dog leash 😀
    Sunrise is my favorite spot in the park 🙂

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