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Wonderland Trail, 7/28-8/6/16

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Wonderland Trail, 7/28-8/6/16

Postby hjldennis » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:26 pm

Our family of 4 with 2 kids completed the Wonderland Trail, 93 miles loops around Mt. Rainier with 22000 - 23000 elevation gain/loss. We visited Paradise in August before, and knew that the trail would be beautiful, but it was even better than expected, and little more challenging as well than expected. Some sections were very steep and some were rocky, as we have here in High Sierra. I somehow imagined that the trail would be mostly well graded highway with steep sections, which the majority were, but there were some loose and exposed sections, as well as bit of snowfiled crossings all of which were no real issues, except my wife could not afford a fall because she went with a cast due to a wrist fracture and open wound she received on 4th July weekend in Sequoia NF - she was fine.

Since we are a late planner, we did not have permit, we had to rely on walk up as usual. However this year's Wonderland Trail permit was all walk up only due to a pre season system glitch, which worked in favor for us. Wonderland Permit system requires everyone to be assigned on specific campsite each night for the entire duration of the trip, so with many possible entry points and overwelming popularity especially during this peak season, getting the permit, or getting a reasonable itinerary was a challenge. We met a few groups who hado 3-4 miles one day and 17 - 20 miles the next, due to permit availability. My wife flew to Seattle by herself on July 27, one day ahead of rest of us, to secure the permit, and went straight to the wilderness office after a redeye flight. She was first in line, and barely managed to grab a good itinerary for us. Actually our itinerary proved to be very ideal for us with two children, since we started off slowly with 6-7 miles days and then onto 10+ Mikes days. Almost everyday had 2000-4000+ elevation gain & loss. Our original plan was to go counter clockwise from Mowich Lake, but after running into a couple of already filled spot, she changed to our plan b from Longmire, clockwise. Avoiding a couple of more popular camps like Golden Lakes and Klapatche in the beginning of the itinerary, we were able to get a very satisfying itinerary. We started from Longmire and stayed at Devils Dream, S Puyallup, N Puyallup, S Mowich River, Cataract Valley, Granite Creek, White River, Indian Bar, amd Maple Creek.

Weather was almost perfect except one rainy day. The wild flowers were in full bloom, and lots of berries along the trail. Bugs were not bad, except for our first campsite, Devils Dream which the most tried to avoid because of it. We pretty much had no choice, but it wasn't all that bad, especially with our head nets.

I heard that there were hundreds of blown down trees just a month prior, but it was all cleared except for a few. All of the bridges were in place so many many crossings were no issue. I've heard of the rodents chewing on packs and tents, and we did have a couple of holes in my wife's backpack on the front pocket. The packs stayed inside since that night.

We tried trail runners for the first time except me, and it worked out good for everyone, although it was pretty punishing on the feet. A lot of trees for the most park, so it was very pleasing walk, and many section provided good cushion. I still got both of my big toes numb from downhill pounding.

Going around the same mountain, I thought it might get old after a few days... boy was I wrong. Each day was absolutely gorgeous. We especially liked Spray Park route, Panhandle Gap area, and Indian Bar area.

We were originally planning a 11 day trip, and finished in 10 days, according to our permit, which was just fine. We had an extra day, so we spent it in Seattle eating, eating and eating, and sleeping in beds.
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Indian Bar Toilet
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Indian Bar
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Re: Wonderland Trail, 7/28-8/6/16

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:03 pm

Thank you for taking the time to post this TR and the wonderful pictures, wildflowers photos look beautiful, anymore of them to share? :unibrow:
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Wonderland Trail, 7/28-8/6/16

Postby hjldennis » Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:28 pm

Here is the video link of our trip :)

https://youtu.be/uJrCjUwJ0vQ
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