Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mt Rainier NP - Day 2


Early in the AM, I begin the 8-mile up, down, all-around drive to Paradise, the park’s main Visitors’ Center. 

Web Photo

The fabulous weather holds – nothing but blue skies and temps in the 60s.  I hike the Nisqually Glacier Trail for a good half-hour until  snow prevents further progress.  

Nisqually, one of Rainier's 25 glaciers, appears in the upper left corner and slopes toward the middle of this photo below.

Next I strike out on Skyline Trail until snow, once again, halts my progress. 

Back at the Visitors' Center, I watch the furious activity among the prospective summiteers.

After lunch, I drive the long route north up to White River Campground to secure a camping spot for the night before continuing to Sunrise – the park’s highest accessible point.  Arriving after a breathtaking 1.5 hour 14-mile drive, I search the entire campground twice over for vacant sites and find just two.  

One site is situated at an approximate120-degree angle and the other, on closer inspection, is littered with cigarette butts, orange peels, and egg shells.  I am in no mood to spend 30 minutes cleaning up the site.

Earlier in the day, a ranger had assured me that there would be plenty of vacant spots at White River.  After all, the postage-stamp size camping sites preclude all but the tent-campers and the micro-rigs like mine.  By the time I find otherwise, it is too late to backtrack and spend another night at Cougar Rock.  Bummer!

Leaving the park, I'm consoled that I can at least resume my connectivity and cell service after a 24-hour communication blackout.  I'm feeling pressed to check into the classroom.  My students have a major project due on Sunday and I know there would be lots of questions.  Incredibly …. there are none! 
The drive to Auburn, WA – destination Muckleshoot Casino – is only 30 miles but takes over 90 minutes due to construction on Highway 410.  All but a small section of the entire route is surfaced with freshly-placed gravel. 

Gravel is to the GDB what Fire is to The Scarecrow.  

With the GDB's 5-inch clearance, the sharp gravel pings unrelentingly throughout her fragile underbelly of plumbing, pipes, and propane.  It is a long, noisy, worrisome drive.  

But we make it without any obvious damage!

So I'm here for the night at the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, WA.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if you and Karen of The Back Porch View and her granddaughter Hailey may have crossed paths on this trip to Mt. Rainier. Karen had a vintage black and white trailer.
    I just can't get over all the snow. Love it.
    See what an excellent teacher you are, no questions asked.


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