Saturday Kirk and I took our two youngest up to Mt. Rainier for an easy hike to Bench and Snow Lakes. I hadn’t done the trail since 2003 (our oldest was 6 then) and Kirk hadn’t hiked it before. Having two small ones has encouraged me to find shorter hikes once again….and in a way, explore old hikes with a new vision.
The hike is on Stevens Canyon Road, below Paradise at Mt. Rainier NP. Even the parking lot has great views:
Alistaire and I (he is 5 months now) with Rainier behind us:
The hike is short but has a couple of small ridges to go up and over, heading back towards the Tatoosh Ridge and Unicorn Peak:
There are great benches of flat meadows along the way:
Walker, who is now 2 1/3 years old walked about ¾ of the hike. We were very proud of him – it was a hike of stairs, he climbed right up and down, often on all fours.
I love Bear Grass in bloom:
Kirk and Walker crossing Unicorn Creek:
The Lilies were just opening, it had rained early in the morning:
We crested the last mini-ridge and looked back to Rainier:
We headed down to Snow Lake but saw the promised snow…and with the sun out, the flies were waking up so we turned around a .10th of a mile from the lake. Oh well! Walker was happy to get to play with rocks back at the creek and walk with Daddy:
The Eddie Bauer harness daypack I bought awhile back at Target (baby section, $15) has proven to be a great buy. It is an actual pack, he carries an 8 ounce water bottle, gloves, sun hat, jacket and snacks – and with a ‘biner it tethers to us. He loves the freedom and is proving to be a solid hiker! And that $15 pack is better than most “kid” packs – and the tether can be taken off. Perfect for 1-4 year olds.
We did visit Bench Lake, not for long though – the flies were chasing us!
It was a nice laid back hike. We wore both wee ones out and they slept much of the way home. And we got a peaceful mountain drive home….
On a food note I have started carrying St. Dalfour Gourmet On The Go in our van for quick lunches/snacks. I came across these awhile back and buy them in 6 packs off of Amazon. They have vegetarian and salmon/tuna options. Walker loves having part of one after a “hard” hike. They are shelf-stable (canned) that open easily and even come with a tiny spork. If you do a lot of car trips they are handy to have around.