Rainier’s Northern Loop Trail

I arrived in Seattle. The first part of the trip will be a backpacking excursion along the Northern Loop Trail of Mount Rainier National Park before joining the Western Orthopaedic Association.

Sunday morning, Brad and I drove to White River Ranger Station to pick up our permits after having breakfast at IHOP. We then parked in the backpackers’ lot in Sunrise. The hike up to Frozen Lake seemed more strenuous than usual, but the views of the surrounding valleys were spectacular. As part of the plan, we took a spur trail to the Fremont Lookout to visualize the terrain. Having hiked through fields of wildflowers, we camped at Berkeley Park Camp the first night.

The next day, we hiked through the expanse of Grand Park before descending to the West Fork. The crossing was easier than expected. Mosquitoes greeted us as we climbed the next section to James Camp. There, we decided that we had to move on to Yellowstone Cliffs Camp, which was a good decision. Yellowstone Cliffs Camp was situated at the foot of sheer rock faces, next to a stream, and covered with some snow patches. We were the only campers there that night. Brad brought dark chocolate cheesecake to mark this middle night of the trip.

On Tuesday, we hiked down to the Carbon River, then up along an exposed trail along the Carbon Glacier. After a scenic meadow, we climbed a small ridge and descended to Mystic Lake and the camp just beyond.

The hike out on the following day gave us the opportunity to climb up to the saddle next to Skyscraper Mountain. From there, we had an amazing vantage point, seeing the Fremont Lookout, Yellowstone Cliffs, and Mystic Lake. We hiked out under refreshing light and, at times, heavy rain, which helped wash away sweat and trail dirt. Soon, we reached the car and drove into a Seattle drowned in record heat.

I unwound at Kerry Park, taking in the panorama of the city getting ready for another evening.

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