You remember my 50k buddy Sybil, right? We finally got around to running together again and planned out a weekend on Mt. Rainier. Well, it was less of a weekend and more of a Sunday-Monday adventure. But then I started a new job on August 1st and it turned into just a day trip. But still – it was a fantastic day!
I woke up insanely early, as running tends to require, and drove 3 hours to the mountain to meet up with Sybil & Belia for a day of exploring the Wonderland Trail.
I was in awe of Rainier the entire time. Mt. Hood is a great mountain right in our backyard but Rainier is Hood’s bigger sister and I fell in love instantly. Driving into the park had a very grand feel to it; the top of the mountain barely visible, expansive forests and valleys, and other daunting peaks cropping up along the way. I guess that’s why it’s a National Park!
Our route took us from Fryingpan Creek up to the Panhandle Gap and as you can see, it was not a beautiful sunny day! Our views were limited but the trail (and the company) were spectacular!
It was a decent hike up to Panhandle Gap; around 3,000 ft of climbing in 5.5 miles. We traversed some sketchy snow patches, fun bridges and water crossings, and enjoyed the marmots scurrying about. Although we were climbing, it cooled off quite quickly and hats, gloves, and jackets came out. It didn’t stop of from playing in the glacial pool, though!
We ran most of the 5.5 mile descent and it felt great to get in some mountain running with my badass lady friends.