Carbon River Road and Glacier, 06/12/10-06/13/10

After spending Friday evening celebrating an improbable new job for me, we woke up Saturday morning eager to take advantage of beautiful weather but somewhat unprepared to do so. I’d been thinking about heading to the Carbon River entrance of Mount Rainier National Park, and its nearby location and easy walking made it seem like a good candidate for our first backpack of the year.

The Carbon River washed out the road of the same name some years back, and it stranded what used to be a drive-in campground some five miles down a now-but-perhaps-only-temporarily-decommissioned road. I thought we’d walk the five miles to the campground, set up our tents, and head off and explore the area, perhaps continuing on to Carbon Glacier, the lowest-elevation glacier in the Lower 48.

Nicole on the Carbon River Road.

Even though we didn’t get a super early start, the northwest corner of Mount Rainier National Park is such a quick drive that we’d gotten to the park, stopped in at the ranger station for our permit, and started off down the road by 11:15.

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Goat Lake, 06/13/09

[Editor’s note: Nicole surprised me this morning by having written her first trip report the night before.  Very cool!  Any additions by myself will be noted.]

So, Jeremy has been nagging me to write a trip report or at least a part of one since he started this website. He is so good at it that I never have. And I am lazy. But this is the longest he has waited to do one, so I thought I better help. Here it goes…I have none of the details like the times or mileage so Jeremy can add that stuff in.

We left about 6:30am and picked up my cousin Bobby in Mill Creek (he is interning out here for the summer). I believe we got to the trailhead about 1 ½ hours later, so a total of 2 hours-ish from West Seattle. As we got on our boots, the sky was clear and it was looking like a beautiful day. We started out and just a little ways in came upon a junction, where we chose the lower trail. The two options are supposed to be the same distance, with the lower being a little more challenging.  [The lower trail also stays closer to Elliott Creek.  —Ed.]

The trail was very nice and well maintained. We were walking along the river for much of the hike. I am having a hard time continuing with this part of my report. If only Jeremy were awake, he could assist. It was pleasant and the scenery nice. There were some pretty big trees. I guess that is all I have to say. Maybe a nice little picture would be good here, hon.

The author and her cousin along the lower trail.

The author and her cousin along the lower trail.

Eventually (maybe 5 miles in) we started going up to the lake, so the pleasant walking was no more. There were even switchbacks, but it really wasn’t that bad. Bobby, who by the way is 21 and in very good shape, didn’t even break a sweat or lose his breath. But us older folk did just a little bit. Shortly before we reached the lake, the dudes went off to the right to see a waterfall.  I missed it because I was feeling like finishing up the uphill part.


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