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Mt. Rainier Weekend 07/16/2010

21 Jul

One the road to Paradise

On the road to Paradise

On the road to Paradise

So Jen had last Friday off, so we took advantage of the long weekend and headed down to Mt. Rainier Thursday night.  We had plans to go to the coast, but the weather forecast wasn’t too pretty, so we opted for Mt. Rainier at the last minute.  Well, I didn’t know you could reserve camp sites at Cougar Rock campground, but I’d recommend it, cause we got the last “first come, first served” camping sites in the place.  We drove through the entire campground and not one was available, even though the next morning almost 50% were still unoccupied.  I’m not a big fan of this system, since to most people the fee is so nominal it doesn’t really matter if they go or not.  Also, the first come, first served sites are not even 5% of the 171 sites available.

Enough about my bitch for now and more about the fun.

View from the road to Paradise

View from the road to Paradise

Nothing to report on our way down, except that the signs for Mt. Rainier are not that easy to spot, so I’d recommend mapping it out before you leave or use your GPS.

Our road ride up to Paradise
Our road ride up to Paradise

Friday morning we had a nice breakfast and then quickly changed into our riding gear and headed up to Paradise on our road bikes.  Mt. Rainier was our first stop on epic road trip last summer, so we’ve done this ride to Paradise twice before and it’s one of my favorite road rides.  The scenery is just unbelievable and the down hill goes on and on for some 12+ miles.  I’d recommend taking the long route down.  Just go past the main Paradise parking lot to the back side over flow parking, which adds another 4 miles of downhill on a glorious twisty turny road with little traffic and glorious views.  I remember letting out several unintentional hoots as I carved a perfect hairpin turn at 40 mph, but what out for pea gravel.

Oh, I should also mention that you should do this ride on a weekday only, cause weekend drivers are idiots.

It’s usually the idiots who pass me within inches driving like the volcano is going to explode only to get passed by me again 10 minutes later as they park their SUV halfway into the road to take a picture of a chipmunk without even making the effort to get out of their vehicle.  You people suck.

If you’re one of these people who honk at bicyclist only to get passed again 10 minutes later, please punch yourself as hard as you can in the face for me…

Paradise Lodge - Mt. Rainier Washington
Paradise Lodge – Mt. Rainier Washington
Mt. Rainier's 14,410' summit

Mt. Rainier's 14,410' summit

As usual when you’re having fun the day passed quickly and we had a nice night by the camp fire.
The next morning we were floundering on what to do that day, because the snow level was still at 5,550′ and all the high country would be under several feet of snow.  After talking with a couple rangers we picked Eagle Peak, which we could ride our bikes to the trail head.  And we could see it from our camp site looking pretty much straight up 3,750′ in 3.6 miles.  A hard hike for sure, but I like it when it’s short and sweet.  Plus the views was spectacular.

View from Eagle Peak

View from Eagle Peak - can of Rainier photoshopped in as a joke.

The views would have been actually better if we climbed to the actual top of Eagle’s Peak, but it was too exposed for my comfort, but next time I think I’ll try to find a safe route to the top.  This shot above is actually just a beer can shaped snowball that I added the can of Rainier beer in later as a way to illustrate an inside joke to a friend who’s traveling abroad.

Beer Joke

Beer Joke

He has been sending photos of himself drinking beer in exotic places, so this is my retort.
I know, I know, but it was funny to me at the time.  And when I’m on a long hard hike I find myself dreaming up silly things like this.  Well, maybe that’s why I like to hike so much.  Anyway, as you can see the West side of Mt. Rainier is cut off by the summit of Eagle Peak, so I was pretty PO’ed that we wimped out, but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry.  I think the next time we’ll have to drop our packs and poles, so we have a good firm grip on the rock face, cause falling a few hundred feet onto the jagged rocks below doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time.  Not to mention my phobia of heights.

More on this trip soon, but I want to post this before I forget what happened or I’ll just start making shit up. =^ )

Cheers,
Jim

Westward view from Eagle Peak

Westward view from Eagle Peak

View of Mt. Adams from Eagle Peak - Mt. Rainier

View of Mt. Adams from Eagle Peak - Mt. Rainier

View of Mt. St. Helens from Eagle Peak - Mt. Rainier

View of Mt. St. Helens from Eagle Peak - Mt. Rainier

 
 

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