I woke up at four in the morning, lying in bed listening to the sound of my surroundings. At first, it was total silence – then birds chirping, gentle waves brushing the shore, and…glacier rumbling in the distance…
First the whale, then the calving, next came a tsunami. Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any better…Paarnaq knocked on my door and informed me that I will have not one, but two lovely guides accompanying me on my hike to the moraine. I was psyched.
Simon and Paarnaq are young, intelligent and energetic. We got along just like old friends. We hiked, exchanged ideas, sang songs, and made jokes. In fact, we’ve had so much fun that when I come to think of it now, I don’t remember much of the actual hiking.
Crystal Lakes Trail, in the Mount Rainier area, is a beautiful day hike best enjoyed in late spring (June) or early fall (October). With 2600 feet elevation gain in merely 3 miles, it may seem challenging, but the trail is very well maintained with mostly dirt path, and shaded most of the way to the top.
Unless you are camping overnight, no pass or permit is required.
The only caveat is finding the trailhead. It is on the east side of Highway 410. While there are no signs visible from the road, parking is available on both sides of Highway 410. WTA website has a good description of how to get there.
Even if you drive past the trailhead, this view of Mt. Rainier, with rushing rapids of the White River snaking through verdant valley, is worth checking out.
For those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest, summer is finally upon us. Last weekend my friend and I hiked Goat Lake trail in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forrest.
Located at the end of the Mountain Loop Highway, two hours drive from Seattle downtown, this is one of my favorite hikes in late spring/early summer. Thanks to volunteers from the Washington Trail Association, the trail is very well maintained and practically flat, making it a great destination for families with kids.
The trail starts at the far end of the parking lot. In just a few minutes, come to a well signed junction for the Upper Elliot and Lower Elliot trails. They’ll rejoin in approximately three miles. Given that it was a 90°F day, under a cloudless blue sky, we picked the lower trail. It is mostly shaded and curves around a running creek that keeps the temperature down. Continue reading “Goat Lake”→