with Jackie and Elston Hill - June 22, 2015
We did not want to miss the wildflowers. So despite being terribly out of shape, we got up early and arrived at the trail head at 8
a.m. The last half of our two hour drive was over a gravel road which had been opened only a few days ago.
The first three miles of the hike was through the woods. That was great as it was a sunny day and I much prefer shade for taking
pictures of the wildflowers.
There was so much bear grass. More than we have ever seen which is consistent with reports we got from Carolyn about the
Vanilla Leaf Bear Grass
As we were walking the trail, this young man passed us on his way to snow board on a glacier. Later on he passed us on his way
back. We asked if he was successful. Yes, but he had had to go much further than he expected. Much further than last fall. His
objective is to snow board for 120 months in a row, and he has five years under his belt. But he seemed a little despondent with
the receding glaciers.
Then, suddenly, after three miles of climbing, there it was. Mount Rainier. But now the clouds were coming in.
I was so out of shape and so tired. I was ready to quit. There were not that many other hikers on the trail. But those we saw
encouraged us to continue. And the clouds now made taking flowers pictures much easier.
There were glacier lilies by the thousands. We were surprised to see so many even if many were dying. We thought they only
bloomed a week after the snow melted. However, we met a ranger who told us that because the nights were still cold they were
still surviving even thouhgh all the snow had all melted several weeks ago at 5800 feet.
If you plan to do this trail, do it soon. The flowers have mostly peaked. In another couple weeks it will look like Southern California.
And in another month like Arizona.
The hike begins at Mowich Lake on the Wonderland Trail and is three miles and 2000 foot elevation gain. Walk downhill to a
junction with Spray Park Trail. Then the trail goes up and down for another mile. The final half mile of this three mile hike to Spray
Park is 600 feet up on nearly two dozen switchbacks. When you emerge, there is no "there". No real beginning or ending of this
magnificent wild flower area.