A couple weekends ago we had an amazing trip to Mount Rainier National Park with the friends that will be joining us for a section of our JMT hike. Our goal was to hike up to Camp Muir, on the South-East shoulder of the mountain. The hike climbs nearly 5,000 feet in 4 miles, travelling over the Muir Snowfield.
This challenging hike would give Dan & I a bit of work on elevation training and would give our friends from San Diego a chance to practice snow travel techniques for the high passes we'll be going over on the JMT.
Cougar Rock is a really nice campground. The campsites are tucked back into the trees, offering great privacy and space. We were only there for a couple nights but I could easily see a group really enjoying a longer stay.
Dan and I tackled this trail a couple years back with snowshoes. This time we had trail crampons to put on over our hiking boots. While we didn't float as well over the softer snow, it made it much easier to follow the boot path that was carved by all the hikers ahead of us.
We spent nearly an hour at Camp Muir, soaking in the sunshine and the view. We had worked pretty hard to get there and it was well worth it!
Perhaps the best part was the view we were treated to, which we'd been forced to ignore on the slow plod up the mountain. We had the joy of seeing Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint Helens and even a brief glimpse of Mt. Hood in Oregon!
Sunday was another slow-moving morning. We were all a bit stiff but made it out onto Rampart Ridge, hiking the 4.5 mile loop from Longmire.
We grabbed a quick bite of lunch from the grill at Whittaker's, a local icon for any hiker or mountaineer around Rainier. We also scored some excellent first-of-the-season Wenatchee valley cherries on our drive out along the National Park Highway.
Dan and I were sad to drop our friends off at the airport for their trip home, but we'll be seeing them soon enough when they join us for the last week of the JMT!
miles to come!