Dismal weather but still great hike

Ok so nothing here since 24 July when the blogging101 course was finishing. I can already feel my blogging muscles getting a bit flaccid. Went to Crystal mountain (in the vicinity of Mt. Rainier for those not from Washington or familiar with the area). Here’s an image of the map which shows not only the trail covered but also the after effects of having gotten wet being folded in my pocket.

image

Yes, it’s a great ski resort but also is open in summer for a wide variety of activities including hiking and horseback riding which was seen in the beginning part of the trail. image Apologies for the murky pictures but it gives you an idea of what our meetup hiking group faced. A light mist at best but at times escalating into a real rain. It had been unusually dry all summer but yep my first trip to Rainier was going to feature none of the awesome views for which the mountain is famous. As we went up the Silver Creek trail, the grade flattened out and we passed our first foot bridge just after the mine. image image The anazing part is that the mine entrance is not blocked off but the continued rain made us press on without doing much investigation. I did have a headlamp so was tempted! I believe it must be near where it says Jim town on the map right near where Henskin Lake trail starts. This part of the trail is a good workout and was a little muddy. Why do rivulets seem to run right on the trail? After some time we got to Henskin Lake which was still beautiful in the mist. image One person in our group challenged another to dive in but the other person said there was “only a one in a million” chance they would do it. We moved on without delay onto the final leg of the hike as the mist became rain once again. For this last part, we were on the Crystal Mountain trail and this is where you pass under the lifts before the fairly gruelling ascent starts. image image That last section you see above looks easier than it is. Don’t be fooled – by then I was a sweaty damp huffing and puffing entity making for the top knowing the summit was near. image And there it is…up by the gondola area and the restaurant. I noticed the clock above  was off by about 6 hours.. Oh…the restaurant was forgettable but I’m sure the views are outstanding in fine weather. Hence the lack of any more photos! After eating, we took the gondola down and reflected on the 3000 plus foot elevation loss to match what we had hiked up. As the gondola wrapped its own silence around us, I reflected on the day being well spent despite the disappointments in the weather. It truly is a good day when it can be spent in the outdoors hiking.

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