Chris and I went up to Paradise at Mt. Rainier on his most recent trip to Seattle. Chris had wanted to do a day hike up to Camp Muir and back (a hike I did over two days over a year ago) but we decided this would be too much for a day hike. So, the goal was to get up on the Muir Snowfield for a bit.
The drive down was pretty non-eventful. We drove a bit out of the way (around the south of Orting) to avoid The Puyallup Fair which proved to be a wise choice. To boot we drove by a maize maze. Past Orting the traffic was very light as the forecast was for fog/rain at Paradise.
Paradise was mostly fogged in as we got to the visitor's center and it was also rather brisk. I had left my bladder at home so I wanted to get some water at the shop. We also only had one pair of gloves and hat so we each bought one of each to stay warm.
The hike starts at 5400 feet and takes the Skyline Trail up toward Panorama Point (there are weaving trails through this area â€“ you could take the Alta Vista Trail slightly to the east (much to my chagrin this was the Spanish pronunciation. Chris has been pronouncing Vista (as in Windows Vista) â€œveestaâ€ all week to irritate me and now he had a legitimate reason to pronounce it as such) but veers left and upward to Pebble Creek before reaching the snowfield. We saw a few hikers coming down who had not made it very far up the snowfield â€“ in fact it was snowing at that altitude.
Pebble Creek is about 7200 feet which we reached in a little over an hour. We ran into a group of three â€“ a couple and their friend â€“ and it was her first time on the snowfield. In fact we later learned that she had surgery earlier in the year and resultant complications that resulted in several blood transfusions so this was quite remarkable.
We didn't get very far up the snowfield â€“ 15 minutes or so â€“ as the conditions were very foggy and icy. The snowfield was very low and there was a lot of exposed dirt out on the snowfield. Very odd.
On the way down we were able to get a good look at the construction on the new Visitor Center and Paradise Inn.
Toward the end of the hike the fog started to clear and by the time we were in Eatonville the mountain was clear on the horizon. We treated ourselves to Arby's in Puyallup on the way home.
As always, regardless of the weather, hiking around Paradise is wonderful. It was a good day on the mountain.