Hiking In The Clouds
This morning was a chilly one and it only got colder as we drove higher into the mountains, though it only hit 41° for the low. The western side of the state was shrouded in clouds, crossing over into the eastern side brought a warming sun and blue skies. A nice combo overall.
We parked on the west side at Tipsoo Lake in Rainier NP. No parking passes needed so it is always a popular one. But if you arrive early on a cold morning it is often empty.
Being so cold we had Walker in a full body outfit, hat and blankie to keep him toasty warm against me. He was quite happy.
If one is doing the Naches Peak Loop Trail the secret is taking the trail on the hillside from the lake. It is poorly marked. Many people get up there and have no idea where it is. Which is too bad! Often people walk the highway up to the pass – when they could walk in quiet through a small hidden away meadow.
The flowers here were near the end but lets be frank: it was September 11th! That there were flowers still in showy form was shocking. We had a late melt out and a cold summer, but outside of a few random Huckleberry bushes later I saw no fall colors. Everything is green as in July. Including the berries 🙁
Where you come out the highway and normally cross it on a wooden bridge you now must cross the road. They have torn out the bridge marking Chinook Pass and Mt. Rainier NP, that the PCT runs over. It is slated to be replaced though. I realized that Walker was having his first stroll on the PCT. A smile indeed for that!
The clouds rapidly burnt away as we left the west side:
The green was soothing –
We took a short break at the lake and mostly drank in the views and let Walker stretch his little legs:
Possibly one of my all time favorite lakes to sit by. I have visited it at least once a year since 2003 and this morning I had thought about it, that if I didn’t go soon we would miss it.
As we crossed back over to the western side the clouds were below us:
As we walked I kept an eye out on the Huckle and wild alpine Blueberry plants. Very little was ripe, though I got a few. I did find a massive batch of low growing red Huckleberries but getting that low with Bowling Ball Buns isn’t easy 😉 So instead I snacked on the blues:
That lovely combo of clouds and sun all at one time. With Walker grabbing at my pole. He spent half the hike grabbing for them:
And me showing how to retrieve said pole after baby gets it and drops it, without bending over:
Rainier came out for the last couple minutes, with a pretty good Lenticular cloud on top. Which signifies a turn in weather within hours. So time to head down and for the toasty truck, no?
Though all that rasslin’ with trekking poles tuckered someone out.
Dropped out of the clouds and back into warm sun, flowers and sub-apline lakes once again.
Not a hard hike by any means. 3.67 according to the GPS and around 700+ ft gained and loss. It is though one of those incredible hikes that you don’t tire of or ever forget. You start high and stay high and get lakes, flowers, berries and mountain views. There is a reason whenever anyone wants a recommendation for an easy hike to impress I always tell them “Go do Naches Peak Loop”. They are always happy. And I saw it in a way I had never seen it before with Walker. It felt so similar to that first time with Ford when he was 6. Little ones see so much we easily go by!