Hiking The Wonderland Trail (well, most of it)
93 miles and 40,000 feet of elevation change, we had a busy 8 days ahead of us.
We applied for a Wonderland trail hiking permit on March 31st, 2015. The small window for reservations allows for less than 2000 permits to be issued. By April 3rd, we had a reservation to hike September 8th to 15th. We’d start and finish at White River, hiking counter-clockwise.
In August, we mailed our first food cache to our second camp at Mowich Lake. We vacuum packed granola, trail mix and flour tortillas. All food remained fresh — no spoiling, mold or staleness after several weeks of sitting inside a 5 gallon bucket.
I vacuum sealed fresh ground peanut butter for my tortillas. I lost the taste for peanuts just days into the hike.
Dave and I drove up on Labor Day, September 7th. We picked up our trip permit and dropped off a second food cache at Longmire. We’d be hiking through there in 5 days. We camped at White River.
Day 1 White River to Mystic Lake
Day 2 Mystic Lake to Mowich Lake
Day 3 Mowich Lake to N. Puyallup River
Day 4 N. Puyallup River to Devils Dream
We saw a black bear coming up out of the North Puyallup River. He didn’t stick around long enough for us to take his picture.
Day 5 Devils Dream to Longmire to Paradise River
Day 6 Paradise River to Nickel Creek
Day 7 Nickel Creek to Longmire/White River
On Day 7, I decided to bail. My ankle had swollen where the tendon from the shin muscle meets the top of the foot. Any use of the muscle to stabilize my step had me halting in pain, not wanting to move. I ended my hike by hitching and limping back to Longmire. I stayed in the National Park Inn.
75 out of 93 miles.
Dave continued his hike, finishing the last 18 miles in 8 hours. That night, he camped at White River. 93 out of 93 miles.
What Dave saw
Mt Rainier National Park is one of the best maintained parks I’ve been in. The Wonderland trail in particular is well define and cared for. All of the streams, creeks and rivers have proper crossings.
In some camps, human waste is removed via black barrels and helicopters.