Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mount Rainier - Burroughs Mountain Trail

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we're lucky to have some incredible mountains and resulting adventure nearby.  Mount Rainier is about two hours from Seattle and a completely different world from the city and surrounding suburbs.  Pretty damn cool to jump in the car and find yourself looking at this in a short time.

For those outside the area, Mount Rainier tops out at 14,410 feet and is a slumbering volcano.  Should be pretty spectacular and/or frightening whenever that slumber ends.  Plenty of folks do climb to the summit, a fairly serious task, and a training ground for serious climbers.  

Surrounding Mount Rainier is vast area of smaller mountains, meadows and incredible scenery, much of it buried under snow most of the year. July through September (or so) is the window of open trails and warm weather.  Add in a clear summer day and prepare for amazing views.

The Bourroughs Mountain Trail is a semi-easy way to experience those views via the 7 mile hiking loop.  Drive up to Sunrise - great scenic drive - then hit the trails.  You get a bit of a head start, since Sunrise sits at 6400 feet.  On a nice day, especially a weekend, expect to see a crowd - though it thins out greatly after a mile or two.

My son Ian and I have done this hike a few times.  Our plan is to arrive late, around 3:00 PM at Sunrise.  Then as the afternoon progresses, hardly anyone on the trail, plus cool lighting as the sun goes down.  We recently did just that, with posted photos as proof.

See?  I don't make this stuff up...

Objects are larger then they appear.  Trees at the bottom of that valley are huge, just to give you some scope.

The only cloud in the sky.  My favorite shot of the day.

Ian stares down the mountain, the mountain won.  We turned around at this point, since only clad with sneakers.  Best case would be wet feet, worst case a painful slide into rocks. Live to hike another day.

Natural spotlight on my favorite biking 'n' hiking partner.

The gift shop was fresh out of ice axes, so we just winged it...

After turning back early on the snow covered Burroughs trail, took a detour on the Mount Fremont Trail - to discover a herd of mountain goats about 50 yards away.  They weren't all that scared and continued to feed, though keeping an eye on us the whole time.  Gave me ample time to change lenses and grab some great pics.  Cool experience.

Did a little sneaker sliding on the way back.

Sunset in progress, our hike concludes.  A very special area to visit, grab the chance if you can.

Arrived home well after dark, late dinner, memory banks hopefully packed with another cool father/son day out.  Washington state rocks, we're lucky to live here.  Now go find your own outdoor adventure, wherever you call home.

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