July 26 to July 31, 2012
The Wonderland Trail always seems to find itself on the list of top 10 trails to hike in the US. This 97 mile trail circumnavigates Mt Rainer in Mt Rainer National Park. The trail is known for sweeping mountain views, wild flowers galore, deep forest and numerous glacial river crossings, luckily the park has a bridge over every river and creek so your feet can stay dry. In 2012 here in the Pacific Northwest we were slowly thawing from two record snow years, when we arrived at the park we were informed the trail was still 70% covered in snow. Besides the avalanche lilies, the flowers were not really around, but the snow created a different and challenging experience for us. My hiking partner “Sasquatch” and I had to navigate crumbling snow bridges, and deal with swarms of bugs when we were in camp. Some highlights for me were crossing the snow around Pan Handle Gap, and pushing through 8’ tall brush along the Maple River. We had a few days of drinking cold beer at Longmire and again at Sunrise Lodge. If you want to learn more about the Wonderland Trail and plan your own trip I recommend using the Wonderlandguides.com interactive planner.