Day Hiking: Mount Rainier National Park
by Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer (The Mountaineers Books)
© Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
This adventure was to introduce my 5 year old son to an overnight backpacking adventure. So a few of my trail mates and myself thought this would be a good time. We hit the trail head at about 11:00 am to the expected crowds and congestion that can occur at this trail head. We headed out, keep in mind that this trail is a big favorite of Washington locals in good weather. The trail makes a gradual ascent randomly coming along side the Carbon river. The vegatation right now is quite high and can narrow the trail and hide fist size rocks that are waiting to trip a hiker not paying attention. At 2.2 miles the trail intersects with the lower crossing of the Carbon river. We continue to follow the river up. The landscape does not appear as heavily vegated, but the rock outcroppings are still as prevalent. The traffic experienced did not become as evident until we reached the upper Carbon river crossing. This is a long fantastic suspension bridge. The snarl came that the Park Service requests that only one person at a time should cross on the bridge. This can make for an intesting situation. The time was now 12:45 and we elected to climb the rock above the enterance to the bridge and eat our lunch. For the next hour we sat and watch the festivities below. At times there were between 15-20 peoples waiting to cross the bridge. We made friends with a Raven who had joined us. We concluded our lunch and the lines had died off. We then took our turn. I went first with my son. Ten feet behind me another member of the team came...and so on. We each stayed in the center of the walk way. Though there was some bouncing it was minimal and we did not lose alot of time waiting. The climb becomes more agressive on the other side. We made out way up and stopped to take in the glacier. We then made our way up to Dick Creek. This was our destination and where we spent the night. Since we arrived by about 2:45 pm, we had some daylight to take in. We made out way down to Dick Creek, which we had crossed prior to arriving in camp. There we shucked out boots and soaked our feet and cooled ourselves in the cold waters. It was a relaxing time spent chatting with my son and trail mates in a beautiful location. We spent a quite night and the next morning, we packed up and headed back down to our car and headed home. He thought the experiece was "great" and wants to go again. Just what I was hoping for.
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