Mount Rainier Day 3

By Leslie Parks - Friday, July 19, 2013

Our last hiking day in the park.  We had planned to hike to Owyhigh Lake, there were two different directions that we could approach the lake, from outside the park and from inside the park.  I thought about splitting up and meeting in the middle, handing off the van keys and doing kind of a shuttle hike.  We thought about it but in the end decided to go as a family.  There were too many things that could go wrong with that plan.  So then it was which trailhead to choose.  If we started inside the park then later we could drive up to the Sunrise Visitor Center and do a small hike/walk around there.  When we arrived at the park entrance we asked when was the best time to go the Visitor Center.  There are only 120 parking spaces there so it was a consideration.  Morning was the best time.  Well, now the plans changed quickly we would do the little hike right away and then drive back down to do the Owyhigh Lake hike.  Once we got to the visitor center and saw how beautiful it was there with the sun shining and Mount Rainier standing out, we decided to scrap our original plan all together.  There wasn't a ton of snow like at Paradise.  We looked around, went inside to talk to the rangers, and came up with a plan.  We'd hike to Mount Fremont, which was a fire lookout tower and then think about hiking to Dege's Peak.  We took off hiking following a trail of people to Frozen Lake.  At one point we were standing there admiring the view when we were asked what the mountain peak was far to the north.  Mount Baker I answered  Not that's not Mount Baker.  It's Mount Baker, No Mount Baker is flatter.  No, it's Mount Baker.  Mount Baker is farther away.  No, it's Mount Baker, we live there.  Isaac said he wanted to die of embarrassment.  If the guy wasn't going to believe me then why ask?  I was chastised by my kids for my graceless tack, and rightly so.  I didn't need to be so right.  We continued hiking.  That guy asked numerous people along the way what that mountain was.  He never did believe me.  We reached the lookout, which was perched atop of the ridge and could see for miles and miles all directions.  The view was incredible and the chipmunks were prolific.  Unfortunately for Job, it was his least favorite hike.  He HATES heights and this was too much for him.  I forced to climb the stairs of the tower but he wouldn't walk around it.  With tears in his eyes he begged to go down.  After having lunch under the tower we started our decent to Frozen Lake where two other trails start.  We came upon a group with a ranger and he was pointing out this movement in the valley on some snow.  It was a mountain goat.  I stopped, took a picture with my wrong lens but hey I made the decision to use my wide angle lens only today and that was that.  The boys were long gone and so Lona and I had to hustle to keep up.  At one point in the trail, we stepped off to let two people hiking up go by us.  I looked up and she looked up and we both said, "Hey, how are you?"  It was Lona's dance teacher!  Amazing that we met someone we knew on a trail that we almost didn't go on.  So fun when things like that happen.

Working towards their junior ranger badge

Sunrise trail head

Taken with my 17-50mm and then zoomed in.  Mountain Goat.

Meeting friends!

At Frozen Lake we decided to hike the Bourough's trail but after 1/2 mile straight up and promising Job a stuffed animal at the visitor center for not whining on this hike because it was another ridge trail we decided to turn around, the ice ax and crampons recommended helped us with that decision.  We returned to the trail head and chose the Berkeley Park trail.  The only one we hadn't tried.  This was absolutely beautiful.  The wildflowers were just starting to bloom.  The creek was bubbling with water, there was a little snow but nothing in the valley.  The trail descended to the camp which was empty and then it was uphill the whole way back to Frozen Lake where it descended again to the visitor center.  This was my absolutely favorite hike.  The hike to Fremont was almost like a pilgrimage, there were so many people all along the trail but the hike to Berkeley Park was mostly deserted.  It was a prettier hike too. Lona and I were able to talk about the verse in the bible about God clothing the fields with flowers and how beautiful they are but that he makes us special.  It was such a great teaching/talking moment.
It was starting to get late in the afternoon when we headed back to the visitor center and John had a hard time keeping up with Job.  The first day he was tired and didn't want to walk as far as the others, this day no one could keep up with him.  I practically ran the last mile just to make sure that the gift shop was still open and he could get his little stuffed animal.  When that boy has an idea in his mind, there is no stopping him or changing his direction.

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