August 27, 2012

Mount Rainer (East Side)

My recovery from Western States 100 has taken longer than I had imagined.  I originally wanted to race the White River 50 mile this weekend but my body wasn't ready.  Ultra-marathon races fill up so quickly that you have to sign up several months in advance.   The problem with that is you never know how you are going to feel when race time rolls around.  Anyways - Lisa, Chloe and I decided to make the best of this mistake by camping and hiking in Mt. Rainer National Park.


Less than two years ago, Dave and I were trudging our way through the snow up the Muir Ice Field.  This time Lisa, Chloe and I were on the other side of the park.  The White River is actually white - surprise!  
The contrast between Rainer in winter and summer is stunning. 

The first thing we did was drive up to Sunrise point.  We climbed up above the clouds and into the alpine meadows west of Rainer.  

Rainer is so massive.  It takes your breath away no matter how many times you've see it.  The blue skies, green forests and red soil provide rich contrast to that massive snow covered peak.  Lisa and I explored the grassy meadows and beautiful wildflowers while Chloe took a nap in the Jeep.  No pooches allowed anywhere in the National Parks.  Chloe would get her chance in the National Forest!

With the poochie restrictions, we opted for a 8 mile out and back on the Pacific Crest Trail.  The trail starts 100 feet outside the Mt Rainer National Park border.  Because this is the PCT dogs are allowed, even inside the Wilderness Area and National Park!!  With that Chloe sprinted down the mud trail and into the snow drifts at full speed.  After the first climb Chloe did her best mountain lion impression.

After 3 miles of nasty, icy side slopes we made it to an amazing overlook.  Once on solid single track descended a couple thousand feet to Dewey Lake. This would be a great place to camp for the night.   Chloe tried to jump over a stream and fell in.  That was the end of Dewey Lake.  We headed back to the Jeep and our campsite to get some dinner.  I picked up a nice small 40 oz Alaskan Amber!

Chloe loves to camp.  Sometimes she likes to sleep just outside the tent.  She also gets bored and wants to explore at 4 am.  She doesn't understand why we are in the tent when we could be outside running around.  At least this time she didn't bark and chase after wild horses or bison.

On Sunday morning we packed up and headed out of the park.  On the way out we stopped at the Court of the Patriarchs to see some big trees.  Lisa really like the 300 ft tall, 50 ft wide Red Cedar!

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Originally from Strongsville, OH, I spent 8 years in Raleigh, North Carolina and have since recently moved to Missoula, MT. I have been a runner all my life and have recently started pursuing ultra marathons. Any excuse to be outside and on the trails.