Oct 13, 2006 at 5:38 pm #1219891
I was thinking about my trip on the Wonderland trail tonight, and thought I might get on to post some of the pictures that I took along the way. I completed the 92+ miles in 6 full days, starting out fairly slow and then testing my ability as time went on. Due to the difficulty of the trail (more than 20,000 feet of elevation gain over the course of the trail), my longest day consisted of 23 miles in 13 hours. Let me tell you….I hobbled into camp that night, but had hiked in such stunning terrain that my spirits were still high. The trail in its totality actually exceeded my expectations, which says something, considering how much its been hyped in the past. The weather was perfect, with crystal clear skies every single day, and I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better experience. This was my first long distance backpacking trip and the first time I’d ever carried my ultralight gear.
Anyway, my base weight was around 7.5-8 pounds, and I typically had around 7 additional pounds for food and water. With the exception of Wade Heninger and his friends (who I met along the trail on my 4th night), I was the only other ultralighter on the trail. Everyone seemed to think that I was a day-hiker, and needless to say….I took pride in that :) So, here are the pictures, and feel free to post any comments or questions that you might have. If you haven’t been on the Wonderland Trail, you’d be doing yourself a great injustice not to get out there and see it for yourself. Enjoy, and thanks for looking.
</center>Oct 13, 2006 at 6:35 pm #1364806
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
A wonderful report! Thank youOct 13, 2006 at 6:52 pm #1364809
What time of the year did you take your trip ?Oct 13, 2006 at 7:05 pm #1364810
Thanks so much for your comments. I can’t remember the exact dates of my trip, but I know it was somewhere between mid to late July. From what I understand, Mt. Rainier National Park is pretty dry during that time of the year. If you wanted to wait another week or two…pushing into early to mid August, the wildflowers would be in full bloom, but you may have more rain….Needless to say, I expected to be rained on everyday, having never been to the Pacific Northwest. I’m glad I was wrong.
Thanks again guys,
-Dave:)Oct 13, 2006 at 8:08 pm #1364814
Great pics. Can you share the major items in your gear list for us?Oct 13, 2006 at 8:11 pm #1364815
Wow! I’m impressed and envious! I climbed Rainier about 20 years ago, and my son and I climbed to Camp Muir about 3 years ago. I’ve never done any backpacking in Mt. Rainier NP, although I have had several trips in the Olympics, Hoh River and environs, and around Stehekin in the Cascades. The Wonderland terrain and views remind me quite a bit of the High Divide / 7 Lakes area near the SolDuc River in Olympic NP. Now that much of my gear is UL I am going to have to head back out to the Pacific Northwest! Thank you for a “Wonder”-ful report!!Oct 13, 2006 at 8:32 pm #1364816
Mark W HeningerMember
@heningerLocale: Pacific Northwest
Yeah, everyone was sporting the poundage on the wonderland this year. It was nice to run into David with alot of the same stuff as myself.
I think I carried a 8.x lb base pack on that trip. We went back and did about 20 miles of the best part (north eastern parts including Panhandle gap) a few weeks back and it was a completley different experience.
Love seeing the pictures.
Cheers!Oct 13, 2006 at 9:28 pm #1364821
Thanks for so much enthusiasm guys! And hey Wade – It’s good to hear you made it out. I actually thought you might beat me to the trip report, but I guess you’re just as busy as I am. I’m interested to hear about your 20 miler in the gap a couple of weeks ago, if you’ve got the time.
Tim – Here’s a short list of my ‘major’ items, most of which you can see in the first picture.
1) Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape
2) Six Moon Designs Essence backpack
3) Homemade Ray-way synthetic quilt
4) Gossamer gear Nightlight (torso length) combined with Gossamer gear Thinlight pad. I found this combination to be much more comfortable after a few days of ‘breaking it in’ on the trail.
5) Montrail Hardrock trail running shoes
6) Ion alcohol stove w/ Labatt’s Blue beer can pot
7) Homemade collapsible walking stick
8) Thermarest pillow (the ¾ pound luxury item I just can’t seem to do without)
Everything performed more or less flawlessly, although I did have pretty ideal backpacking conditions. The only thing I would change would be to take two trekking poles, rather than one. While on the trail, I felt no need for an extra pole. But, a couple of days after getting off the trail, I had pretty severe knee pain in my left leg (the side of my body which was not being supported by an additional trekking pole) that persisted for more than a week. The problem I had may or may not be due to the nature of the Wonderland trail itself – with its constant ups and downs throughout the day.
Thanks again guys, and any other questions or comments are welcome. Good to hear from ya Wade!
Oh, and something I forgot to add to my first post .The campsites were excellent throughout, the rangers were more than helpful, but…..watch out for the skeeters! Wildlife was suprisingly absent….Oct 14, 2006 at 10:57 am #1364835
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
As the snow is starting to fall here in Duluth, these photos of wildflowers, sun and the beautiful alpenglow help with some much needed closure to the summer season.
The Wonderland trail is on my list of places to hike and these photos and descriptions may have moved it up one or two places in the rankings. Thanks!Oct 14, 2006 at 9:48 pm #1364864
@cmcrookerLocale: Desert Southwest, USA
Gorgeous!!!Oct 15, 2006 at 8:08 am #1364870
Sam, and for all others who are considering hiking the trail and are unfamiliar with the Mt. Rainier National Park reservation system –
Just FYI, make sure you secure your permit well in advance. For the summer and fall seasons, reservations are accepted beginning sometime in early March, and its not uncommon for those who wait to have to reserve the only campsites that are left, forcing them to hike odd distances much of the time from day to day. It is possible to change your schedule once on the trail, since many of the campsites are set aside for ‘walk-in’ reservations. But, its just better to be safe than sorry. The system is a hassle, and is most definitely the result of the trails popularity, but the hassle is well worth the reward of being on the trail. Thanks again everyone for your positive feedback!
-Dave:)Oct 18, 2006 at 8:00 am #1365076
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Hey David, if memory holds, it is April 1st often when they start reservations. While Rainier is free for pernits, they do charge $20 for the reservation-but it does allow a change of plans if needed, and they will allow you to change once you get there, if they can.
We did the WT in 2004 in 6 nights, 7 days.
Now weather…it actually rarely rains from July thru August. Usually it rains a bit in early Sept, then clears up till mid-October. Not bad ;-)Oct 18, 2006 at 8:02 pm #1365129
@romandialLocale: packrafting NZ
That Wonderland loop is ideal for UL — particularly if you just drop in and have no reservation. Then you have more flexibility with camps because you can go farther/faster if needed. Also that trail has its share of monster ups and monster downs and the lightweight pack makes it great. Finally, if the weather turns sour and you feel no need to prove to yourself what studly hiking abilities you have you can exit and hitchike out with a little load that makse catching a ride that much eaasier.Oct 19, 2006 at 1:15 am #1365138
I’ll have to make plans to walk the Wonderland Trail someday.
Thanks for sharingOct 19, 2006 at 6:37 am #1365143
@brobinLocale: Mid-Atlantic with a dash of Idaho
So beautiful! Great pictures. Thank you.Oct 19, 2006 at 8:58 am #1365148
Thanks everyone. And you’re welcome! Good photgraphs come easy in beautful scenery.
-Dave:)Feb 11, 2007 at 4:51 pm #1378023
Good flashback images!!!! i hiked the trail in August 2005. Amazing views all around the trail. our night at klapatche park is one that comes to mind often. as does watching a couple of bears at indian bar for the afternoon. it makes me sad to see all the damage from this summer's rains. though it will be really interesting to go back and hike the trail again in a few years to see how things have changed!Feb 11, 2007 at 5:23 pm #1378028
@pa_jayLocale: on the move....
David, would you mind sharing what your camera setup was for this trip? Those are some truly stunning pics!Feb 13, 2007 at 9:12 am #1378300
The great thing about the Wonderland trail is that you don't need to be a great photographer or carry expensive camera equipment to take great photos. I didn't have enough money at the time to purchase a nice camera myself, so I borrowed my girlfriends: a Kodak EasyShare CX6445 – 4.0 megapixels with a 4x optical zoom. I hiked in July, and as you can see….I enjoyed crystal clear weather for the entire length of the trail. From what I understand, this is pretty typical of July and early August on any given year. And although this is one of the most popular times to hike the trail, strict regulations keep the numbers down….and I highly reccommend you plan your travels around the Mt. Rainier weather patterns. Thanks so much!
-Dave:)Feb 14, 2007 at 7:02 am #1378429
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Just so everyone knows, if you haven't been reading about Rainier this year, it appears they are NOT going to be doing the early reservations, due to the massive trail damage that occurred in November/December. It looks like the trail will get open, but parts of it may not be doable this summer.
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