Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mount Rainier birthday adventure

When one has a "big" birthday, one either wants to ignore it or do something big to commemorate the occasion. When I turned 40 last month, I wanted to do something special - something adventurous.

Over the past months, I came up with several ideas that didn't pan out. Then Brad suggested we spend the weekend before my birthday (June 3-5) exploring Mount Rainier National Park. Instead of our usual camping, we decided to stay in a cabin - you know, since it was a special occasion!

We chose Deep Forest Cabins, a place just outside the park boundary in Ashford. They offer several cabin options, and we picked Maplewild, which had rave reviews. While I failed to take any photos (you'll have to look at the site for pics), I was absolutely thrilled with this little cabin. It was exactly what I wanted for my special celebration. And I fully recommend this to anyone looking for a special getaway!

Our weekend agenda included relaxing, sampling from the restaurants in town, hot tubbing, hiking and trail running. First up Saturday was a run. The trail we chose was snowed in, so we went with Plan B: the Wonderland Trail. We parked at Box Canyon Picnic Area and took the Stevens Creek Trail to Wonderland.
Gorgeous scenery!
Because Stevens Canyon Road just opened the previous weekend, annual trail maintenance had just begun. As we started down the round-the-mountain trail, we spotted lots of fresh cuts and saw dust - sure signs of recent trail work. Then a short time later, our forward progress halted as we came to an end of the maintenance. We climbed over the few trees across the trail. Then a few yards later, another road block. Then a few yards later, more. And more. And more! We could not believe the destruction from winter storms!

We continued climbing over, under, around the downed trees until we reached a creek. The bridge had washed out, and there was no way to get across.

Before we turned around, we explored the Maple Creek Camp. The sign is propped against the bottom of a toppled fir tree:
And this is the trail to the campsites:
Climbing over and around this stuff was hard, tiring work! So much for our trail "running" experience :)

We returned to the cabin for showers and a nap before heading out to hike to Comet Falls:
It was short but steep - and HOT since it was the hottest weekend of the year!
After packing up and saying goodbye to our little cabin in the woods, Sunday's adventure was a hike on Rampart Ridge. We parked at Longmire and did a clockwise loop.

Not a bad view!
We chose this lovely spot for lunch:
Birthday bundt cake!
Cheese and salmon jerky:
After that super-sweaty hike, we drove up to Paradise for a glimpse at the Tattoosh Range, where we've done lots of climbing:
And the summit:
Because of the amazing weather, the place was packed! The parking lot was full, and we sat in line just to drive through. I jumped out to snap some photos while Brad slowly circled in the car.
It was such a great weekend! A wonderful way to celebrate my big birthday :)

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