A Hiking Adventure: Spray Park Trail

Another successful trip with The City Church Outdoors Group under my belt. This trip was a photography based adventure located at along the moderately difficult Spray Park Trail within Mount Rainier National Park. Spray Park is located on the northwest corner of Mount Rainier and is one of the three main stops for the Wonderland Trail.

Spray Park Trail is a7.5 mile, 1,600 feet elevation gain trail that ends at 6,400 ft above sea level and has perfect views of Rainier on every turn and the reason for this photography based adventure. The trail itself starts at Mowick Lake and connects to part of the Wonderland Trail. At this point you walk steadily upwards through sun-filled old growth forest before opening up to a beautiful view of Spray Falls. At this point, you are required to perform a little bit of back country style hiking before reaching the base of the fall. On a hot, sunny day like this day, the base had a bit of a splash zone and cooled us off just a little.

After Spray Falls, we continued hiking upwards through switchbacks until ending at large open meadows with boulders, flowers and Mt. Rainier- views every photographer would die to see. Even Washington Trails Association know the uniqueness of  Spray Park. Here is how they put it into words: “In many ways, you never recover from your first walk into Spray Park. The trail isn’t difficult to follow. It’s just difficult to forget.” This statement sums up my experience with the trail itself and it’s diffidently not one I will ever forget. Plus, I got to spend this adventure with amazing friends, new and old! If you don’t believe me, click here for pictures.

A Hiking Adventure: Mt Rainier National Park

Only one word can describe my weekend…EPIC! After meeting up with my friend Dallas from high school last week for dinner, we begin collaborating on different adventures each of us have been on after moving to the northwest. He is an avid climber and spends many weekends camping, climbing and hiking. I mentioned to him that I hadn’t yet been camping and really wanted to go, so that is exactly what we did. We chose to explore Mount Rainier National Park where we stayed at Cougar Rock Campground, which is located just down the road from Paradise, a base camp for Mount Rainier.

During our drive, I was getting a little nervous because the weather app on my phone read sunny, but the drizzling was saying otherwise. Finally arriving at the campground, we were greeted with a warm camp fire, followed by hot cocoa (we forgot the s’mores supplies).  Not a bad start to the weekend. It was, however, interrupted by a 5 second downpour in the middle of the night.

By Saturday morning, the rain had subsided but the clouds remained. After a delicious breakfast, we headed up towards Paradise, WA to begin our hike upwards for a better view of Mt. Rainier. The trail we took begins paved, which sounds easy but it is actually more difficult than a natural trail.  Upwards we went for three hours, where the views continued to become more and more breathtaking and more camera worthy than I could have expected. Don’t believe me…Check out the pictures! Finally on our decent, we re-entered the fog and cold, which I have decided was just as beautiful as the crystal clear view of the mountain. We even saw a few marmots AKA huge rodents. Ending our amazing journey with a foil wrapped dinner of steak and veggies!

Sunday rolled around with the sun shining and temperature perfect! This time, we decided to head south on the Lakes Trail, which lead us away from the mountain to Reflection Lake. I was a little sad when we arrived to Reflection Lake only to be met with wind, causing the lake to have a not to reflection of the mountain. I can’t complain to much though because on our walk back, we heard a bear (well I think we heard a bear). I could continue to go on and on and on about Mt. Rainier National Park, but I’m telling you that you need to go and look at the pictures, because pictures are worth a thousand words!!!!