Monday, October 8, 2012

Tolmie Peak, 5.6 mi.

Occasionally, Facebook leads to something good, and being a fan of the Washington Trails Association's page led to this featured "Hike of the Week." A special bonus was that it was a hike we hadn't done before -- always high on my criteria list when choosing an outing. Because it is within Mount Rainier Nat'l Park, we couldn't take the little forest pig along this time. We even went so far as to put on our hiking pants in the garage, out of sight of the little one, since both pups go crazy when they see the hiking pants come out. 

After leaving the smoothness of paved roads, it is approximately 17 miles along the bumpy gravel road to this particular park entrance (yay Subaru!)Thank goodness we are early birds, because the dust was incredible, and it would've been awful to be behind another vehicle for that long. We were the 2nd car to park along the roadway, but the first hikers to hit the trail.

We'll go this way!

 Mowich Lake, at the trail head, was a sheet of glass.

As I was uploading these photos, I had a very difficult time determining which way was "up," the reflections were so perfect. Can you see the shoreline?

Pretty trail along the edge of Mowich Lake. Despite the sun, the morning was quite chilly to start.

So many choices!

 Big scenery dwarfing The Big Guy.

Looking up while crossing a scree can make you dizzy!

If you look in the gap between the two trees, to the left of the tip of that middle tree, you can see Tolmie Lookout way up there. Standing here, it was very hard to believe that was only .9 miles away. Not to mention, it was quite clear that .9 miles was going to be a grinder.

Going to check out Eunice Lake, down below the lookout.

The Big Guy playing with the panoramic camera feature. *Click on these pics to see the whole shot.

We made it! At times, we could hear people behind us on the trail, and we were determined to be the first to summit. We had about 15 minutes alone at the lookout. We won!

It was pretty cool, too. I am terribly afraid of heights, but this lookout has a lot of ground around it, so even though you're, obviously, up quite high, you only feel as high as the deck. If that makes any sense. Other acrophobics will know what I mean.

The Big Guy's panoramic* shot from one side of the deck to the other.

The lookout wasn't open, but the view into it was neat. Here is proof that I walked the deck!

The Mountain*. On the east side of peak shown center-left here, we saw a mountain goat. The sun hit its coat for a split-second and lit it up like a beacon. Before I could get my camera trained on it, it dipped back over the ridge. Darn it!

Hey, come down from there, I'm hungry for lunch!

The Winners.

Our lunchtime view.

On the trek back down. We were down by noon -- a title I also considered when I named this blog -- and, not surprisingly, the road was positively packed with cars by that time. We zipped away from the crowds and back home to the pups and our own little piece of heaven right here.