Nothing more pleasant than waking up with the promise of a sunny day! And nothing more disappointing than realizing that you cannot trust the weather forecast! The ranger at the Paradise Visitor Center was trumpeting a gloriously sunny Monday, which didn’t console much the Sunday visitors like us. However, he gave us a little hope when he said that hiking high enough may get us above the clouds line.
We started on what seemed to be the Skyline Trail, adventuring deeper and deeper inside the fog. It was somewhat encouraging that there were plenty of people showing up from different trails running parallel to ours and hiking up. A sudden change in decor left us without any trees, on a completely white background. Or almost completely white: here-and-there some big stones that got rid of their snow cover. There was one point where the trail shook off the snow and made it easier to hike. Sweet relief for a few steps on solid ground before the snow took over again and trail became steeper.
While hiking we could hear a creek rushing down, but we could not see it for a long time. It may have been the fog obstructing the view or, more likely, it was flowing under the snow. The trail finally intersected the noise-maker (Peeble Creek). While having lunch we were meditating at the absurdity of being at the Panorama point with no panorama to look at. But we were already high enough to see the Rainier summit clearing from time to time. It took just a little bit more effort to get above the clouds line and see the mountain in its full splendor.
We continued hiking on the Skyline Trail and found it harder and harder to find our way: there were no more markers and we completely lost the trail after crossing a few snowbanks. Getting lost didn’t make much sense, so we turned around and gave up hiking the loop. The fog was thinner and the valley cleared up (partially) a few times. Hiking down on snow – or I should say sliding down – proved to be extremely enjoyable.
The rest of the day was dedicated to waterfalls. We actually had enough energy to hike to the Myrtle Falls, but the rest of them (Christine Falls and Narada Falls) were close to the road. The picture we took at the Christine Falls reveals a bit of the disaster that haunted us the following days: we hiked on snow above the clouds with no sunscreen to protect us from the sun. It lasted only one hour, but we paid for it for a week: our faces turned red on Sunday, red and swollen on Monday, red, swollen and cracked on Tuesday, red, swollen and peeling on Wednesday and Thursday, peeling on Friday and Saturday. We learned something that week. The hard way.
Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
This is part of our trip to Mount Rainier National Park: Ohanapecosh | Sunrise | Paradise