In September, 2017 I hiked the 93 mile long Wonderland Trail with my business partner and hiking buddy Tim Harsch (trail name Bites). The Wonderland is a challenging trail in Washington State which circumnavigates Mount Ranier. Bites and I had hiked Section K of the Pacific Crest Trail together the previous summer so we felt prepared physically. Our worry was the weather. We started September 25th which is very late in the season. Getting a permit to hike the Wonderland is hard and this window was our only option.
We were prepared for snow and got it on Day 1:
There are many glaciers on the Wonderland (most receding). Here was the first we saw:
Beautiful trails bring big smiles:
On Day 2 the sun came out and we had fantastic weather until the last day of the hike (Day 5). The Wonderland is basically an exercise in taking pics of Mt. Ranier from every conceivable angle. Ranier never disappoints (when you can see it).
Having lunch and drying clothes and gear from the previous wet and cold day. Sorry ladies, Bites has a girlfriend.
I love seeing bears on the trail (except mommas with their cubs). Bites wasn’t as enthusiastic.
Lots of suspension bridges like this on the Wonderland:
Injun Joe’s cabin in front of Mt. Ranier. An iconic spot on the Wonderland.
I am a crap photographer. Even I couldn’t screw this photo up:
Mt. Adams in the distance.
We stayed in a cabin with these fellow hikers our last night on the Wonderland. The woman on the left screamed in the middle of the night when a mouse ran over her.
Early morning amazingness:
Mountain Goats up high:
We hoofed it up a long climb to get to the the van before the rain. The second we got into the van it started pouring.
We did the Wonderland in five days. Most hike it in seven. It was a tough mother of a hike with 22K feet of elevation gain. That said, it was incredibly beautiful and a bucket list hike for any relatively fit backpacker.
I brought my Mountain Laurel Designs Patrol Tarp Shelter for this hike. If I were to do it again I would bring my Zpack Duplex tent. On the Wonderland you have to camp in designated campsites. Almost every one of our campsites had lots of pesky mice. The first night one ran over my face (little bastard!). Having an enclosed tent would have been a better option.
Note: Don’t ever camp with food in your tent. Not so much for bears, but for mice. Mice chew holes in tents to get at your grub.
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