|Mystic Lake to White River (Aug 11, 2000):|
We awoke this morning knowing that today was going to be a tough day. But we were ready and driven to get to Sunrise because will get our last food cache and be able to eat at the restaurant. It was the coldest morning yet, there was a light layer of frost on the tent. The chill prompted us to break camp quickly as we heated another batch of granola on our stove. We left camp by 7am, walking briskly just to stay warm.
The first highlight of the day was the Winthrop Glacier terminus (pictured at right). The rocks and dirt on top of the glacier insulate it from melt-off. The Winthrop glacier is the second largest glacier on the mountain, 3.5 square miles in size and 5 miles long. The size of the glacier is unimaginable. From there the climb is steep but steady up to Packtrain ridge (also known as Skyscraper Pass).
The view at Packtrain Ridge
was unexpected. There were amazing views in all directions,
Rainier and little Tahoma to the south. The Old Desolates, Echo
and Observation rocks to the west and Berkeley park to the east.
Glacier peak and Stuart Range to the north. The panoramic photo
above was assembled in Photoshop from a series of five
photographs. The Desolates and Mystic lake area are clearly
visible on the right side of the photo. Winthrop Glacier is
prominent on Rainier.
From Packtrain Ridge there is a short 30 minute trail to the top of Skyscraper peak (7,708 feet) just to the north. Well worth the extra effort, unless you are in a hurry.
After rounding the ridge Berkeley park is in full view (seen in photo to the right). We met many day hikers coming from Sunrise, and other wonderland hikers.
When we arrived at Sunrise we washed-up, picked up our food cache at the ranger station and got a burger at the Sunrise cafe. Since we used more film than anticipated (about 190 shots so far) I purchased more at the Sunrise gift shop. We went outside to pack our bags with our new food, socks and energy bars. Sitting next to us was a curious group of world travelers who were interested in what we were doing (pictured at left). After talking to them for a while we found out that they were doing a tour of the United States. They were very friendly, offered us mental encouragement, and even some tips for this webpage.
We stayed at Sunrise for over two hours and still had to go down to White River Campgrounds. The rest of the trail was a 2,300 foot drop in 3 miles. We did the whole thing and only took 2 substantial breaks, my knees were screaming in pain when we got to the bottom. We set up camp at 8:30pm in the walk in area (behind the cabin on the right side of the trail). We were on the trail for over 9 hours today. We sleep like rocks.
These series of photos taken from Packtrain Ridge and then edited together with a computer. clear="all"> >
Freezing at Mystic Lake campgrounds with a batch of granola steaming on the stove
A subbasin of The Winthrop glacier debris field
Winthrop Glacier (covered with rocks from west side)
Rainier and Winthrop Glacier
Winthrop Glacier (from east side)
Jason and I at Packtrain Ridge (west side)
Jason and I at Packtrain Ridge (east side)
The view from Frozen Lake, looking south East
The final approach to Sunrise
|White River Walk-in Camp GPS Coordinates:|
Lat: 46 54' 10" N
Lon: 121 38' 37" W