Last weeks hike is what I like to refer to as a doozey. Started out great. In the parking lot at Sunrise on Mount Rainier. We didn’t have a specific hike we were after so we kind of just walked.
Past the picnic area we went, up towards Sourdough Ridge. The quick incline was fine. Plenty of space, people on the trail, views were plentiful with clear skies. Got to the top of the ridge, looking north you can see Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan. They looked so far away. Hard to believe we just visited them. Turning around to look south you can see Mt. Adam’s and just to the right Mount Rainier huge as life.
Patches of snow remain scattered about some in shaded meadows and hills. Some on the trail. Made for a nice way to cool down. While it was windy and our elevation at this point would’ve been about 7000 feet above sea level. The sun was still hot.
Reading the trail markers and signs we continue on towards a ridge line that was obstructing our view of the mountain. Which became our destination. We would finally find out was named Burroughs One. On the way we passed by Frozen Lake, which it was just that. Frozen. Complete with blue waters and icebergs. Made for a fun spot to stop, take in the breeze off the lake and get a snack in.
Continuing on we seen two mountain goats in the distance frolicking through the valley meadows. Made for a fun sight. Kids loved it. Made the steep climb we were at something to be enjoyed. As we could look over ever so often to take in the sights of them. Took several breaks on this portion of the trail. As we did we watched the goats and we could look back and see Frozen Lake. Being that high made for great views of the turquoise water.
Finally crested the ridge. Was a huge vast flat area. Mount Rainier didn’t disappoint. Was huge. This was the first time I was this high and close on this side of the mountain. The views were breathtaking. Could see forever while up there. When we were headed to Burroughs Two another hiker pointed out the huge herd of mountain goats that were on the ridge far in the distance. Maybe 16-20 of them. Now that was awesome to see.
Instead of continuing on we decided it would be best to turn back and start our hike back to the car. Was getting late. So walking back we hit a connecting trail the Sunrise Rim trail that would’ve looped us around and got us back to the parking lot. We hadn’t been on this trail and it was amazing. To start. Saw more goats down in the valley relaxing on a patch of snow with the Emmons Glacier as their view and Rainier just behind them.
We have started our desent down the ridge. Where the worst happened. Let me set the scene. Here we are 2000 feet above the White River below. We’re walking a trail (goat path) maybe two feet wide. We’re now met with a snow pass. Its maybe 75* outside has been hot the past few days. Was clear others had crossed no problem, we watched others cross. So we go for it. Not prepared for the snow, thankfully we had at the least trekking poles to help.
Fortunately the group that past ahead of us was three rangers. They stuck around to make sure we made it. As we were struggling. Mostly myself and the girls. He walked back up and helped the girls down while Andy helped me. It was treacherous. I honestly didn’t look… I know what the ridge looked like, but while crossing it I didn’t look. For fear I would’ve locked up and slipped and fell. It was most definitely the scariest portion ever on a hiking trail that I have been on.
We managed to finish that crossing to hear the ranger say there was another one. My heart sank. Thinking maybe it would be best to turn around. But thinking about going over that snow ledge again. I couldn’t do it. So with hope the next one not be as bad or long we kept moving forward. The ranger stayed close as he seen in my face and the girls the fear we had crossing that snow ledge. Not to mention I now had the worst jello legs and anxiety.
Maybe a half mile and we were to the next snow passing. Thankfully it wasn’t as long. Still the same scenario, up high, on a ledge and its slippery as all hell. We let another couple pass in front of us sometime before and the man in the group said he would stomp some footprints in for us. As he did. Which helped. But I still managed to slip. And when I did my shoe broke. So it was super loose crossing the snow. Got across, the ranger asked if we were OK, gave the girls badges and went on his way. I ended up sitting down to fix my shoe and try and get my bearings back from the bullshit we just did. Haha.
The rest of the hike along the Sunrise Rim was fine. No more snow encounters. We eventually ended up at the Sunrise Campground. We have hiked around here before a few times in the past. We went by Shadow Lake and dipped our hats in the lake to cool off, was nice until the mosquitoes went on the attack. Now about a mile from the car it was a sigh of relief to see the distance numbers get smaller on the trail markers.
Almost back to the parking area there were many areas to view the Emmons Glacier and Emmons Moraine Lake, which was the most amazing turquoise. Such a beautiful lake. That will be the next hike. Haha. Least we won’t be up on a cliff. I’ll be sure to photograph our infamous cliff when we do indulge in the lake hike.
My feet finally hit concrete. Was the most amazing feeling to be back to the parking lot. Was able to get to the car for cold water and some substance. I feel like I burnt through every calorie consumed the last week with the anxiety I felt when we were crossing the snow. The snow portion of the hike was the pits. Would NOT recommend for kids. Mine are very well seasoned hikers and listen and do well with directions and I’m proud of them. They did wonderful up there. I honestly will never find my behind on the Sunrise Rim hike ever again in my life. Just for the meer fact that it almost did scare the s*** out of me. Definitely tested some willpower and strength on this hike. I feel accomplished for having done it… I will not do it again.