Do-overs: Sunrise Point & Naches Peak Loop
August 19, 2021
I’m up early to try again to watch the sunrise from Sunrise Point. It’s was a warmer night and easier to get up. (I’m sure looking forward to having a pillow again!) I don’t mess with coffee this time, my car door opens and the car starts like it should. It’s still dark. I’m on track. And no slow drivers. The sky is just beginning to lighten when I get to the parking area at the hairpin curve in the road, with just one spot left facing east.
I wait. I read. I eat a granola bar. I wish for a coffee kiosk. Long story short, it’s too cloudy.
I finally give up and drive to the top to use the bathroom. And then the mountain begins to clear.
I take a few photos and race back to the Point. I don’t think I missed anything, but there’s only a little color, not the spectacle I know it can be.
I put my boots on. My plan is to hike a ways from the Point on the trail I discovered a couple days ago, toward the Palisades (which is 3.5 miles, so that’s not happening today), via Clover Lake, which is 1.5. However, the first mile is where much of the 1200 feet of elevation change is. Down. Then up. I go a quarter of a mile and decide it is a hike to put on my list for next year, during wildflower month. Five lakes! I will definitely be back. But not today. And not on no breakfast.
Back at my campsite I make blueberry pancakes (forgot the syrup) and bacon and coffee, then pack up. I’m on the road heading back to Tipsoo Lake at 9:30. And the sun is shining!
Two years ago, I did the loop counter clockwise, because I didn’t know where the other end was. Yes, it’s a loop, but the trail head and the trail end are not in quite the same place. The beginning and the end—i.e. the trail—are across the road from the lake. The connecting section is either through the woods and around the lake, or up the road. This time I’ll reverse my route and take the shorter return up the road. I’m hopeful the mountain will stay out of the clouds for the morning.
Sadly, the flowers are gone, but it’s still a lovely (and easy) hike, and I see few people. I’ll just show you in photos. Enjoy!
After lunch by the lake, I’m back on the road, with one more stop: Grove of the Patriarchs, so I can say I hiked from four points into the National Park this summer. Nisqually/Paradise, White River/Sunrise, Stevens Canyon (the main entrances), and Mowich Lake. I might get to Grand Park yet, which would add the last one that I do. (Carbon River, which used to be the fourth main entrance, is no longer accessible by car due to frequent washouts. I walked the road turned trail once, but won’t return there, at least not without a bicycle.) This week, I have also walked parts of both the Pacific Crest Trail and the Wonderland Trail! I wish I had taken photos of the national lands signs: MRNP from two entrances, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Snoqualmie-Mt. Baker National Forest, William O. Douglas Wilderness, maybe others.
Grove of the Patriarchs is a short, very popular trail, with folks in all manner of footwear, and lots of them. I’m not sure it should count as a hike for me, but it will do for my purpose.
Thank you for coming along with me to the “other” side of Mount Rainier! And now, it’s good to be home, on my side of the mountain, on my hill. Next up, a few days in Seattle with the Littles before they start school! Yes, little Adrian is in kindergarten! Hopefully we won’t have to reopen Three of Earth School, but it’s here if it’s needed, and so am I. Wear your mask. Be cautious.