Paradise Snowshoe, 02/06/10

Sheer and utter laziness has kept me from putting up this short and sweet trip report until now, but with other reports forthcoming, I decided it was now or never.  And never was not acceptable.

A most excellent coworker of mine had offered to lend me and Nicole snowshoes at any time, and once the weather forecast looked good, I called in the favor.  We’d never been snowshoeing before, but had wanted to forever.  Winter has traditionally been a time of near-hibernation for us.  And while we’ll definitely not be giving up all winter weekends of food and football, mixing in some outdoor activity is something we should do with more regularity.

So it was, a beautiful Saturday morning, snowshoes in hand, that we set off for Mt. Rainier.  Snow levels are low this year, so we went high, where we knew we’d find some: Paradise.  It seemed like the perfect place to try snowshoeing for the first time.  Plenty of snow, easy to get to, plenty of short easy-to-follow trails to choose from, and, of course, The Mountain.

We made our way from Seattle to the Paradise parking lot, put on our brand-new gaiters and other layers, walked off the asphalt parking lot, and stepped into our snowshoes.  For the next two hours, we meandered around Paradise, following short trails just above the parking lot, making loops, and heading down portions of closed roads that, during winter, make fine cross-country ski and snowshoe trails.  The weather was perfect.

Nicole on the snow slopes of Paradise.

A snow wheel.

Sun on snow wheel.

Jeremy in Paradise.

Jeremy in Paradise.

Afterward, we went in the visitor center, warmed up, and ate our lunches.

It was a great morning, and a great way to get out into the snow for the first time.  We intend to do it again, and may buy our own snowshoes for next year.

No stats—maybe two miles.

But, as always, a few more photos at Flickr.

Summerland & Panhandle Gap, 08/31/08

With late-August weather signaling the end of an already-abbreviated summer, and with the glaring omission of Mt. Rainier National Park (hereafter, MRNP) on our yearly itinerary thus far, we set our sights on Summerland.  Ever since we’d driven along the Sunrise side of Mt. Rainier en route to Mt. Aix earlier this year, we’ve been anxious to return to the area.  Since it was the weekend of Labor Day, we decided to forgo any backpacking plans, opting instead to wake up early in an attempt to beat out our fellow dayhikers.

We were out the door by 05:00 and driving in the dark down a road that I doubted.  Google Maps set me along a different road than I’d taken previously, but we ended up on WA-410 nevertheless.  Clouds hung heavy over the highway, and while I did my best to will them off, windshield wipers were necessary–briefly–on the east side of The Mountain.  I often forget just how close Mt. Rainier is to Seattle–we pulled into the Sunrise/White River entrance at 06:45.  Since it was, as previously stated, the first time this year inside MRNP, we added the $30 annual park pass to our credit card bill (7-day passes are $15, and we know we’ll be coming back more than once in the coming calendar year).   Unfortunately, our success in early arrival meant that no one was manning the entrance booths and instead of a flesh-and-blood annual pass, a machine spit out a receipt that could be exchanged for the real deal.  In the pocket it went, and up the road we drove.

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