Day 21 - Peek-aBoo Mt. Rainier (more Boo than Peek)
Due to thick as thieves cloud cover, Mt. R was not seen but anyone today (okay, maybe those close to the summit-but not us).
Michael, from Tasmania, Australia, that we met yesterday as pseudo rangers, is also a backpacker/hitchhiker. By the time he reached Mt. Rainier NP, all camp sites were full. He was at the Longmire Ranger Station ready and willing to buy his 10 day Wilderness Pass and met us instead. We answered many questions to a dozen or more people (if you can believe that!), but couldn’t provide him his pass.
In talking with us last evening, Michael learned we had a site two miles up the road. Sheepishly, this 29 year old young man needed a place to pitch his small tent and asked us if our site had room. Our reply in unison was, “Sure!”
So we broke bread with Michael and learned more about him. An adventurer for sure, especially hiking and hitchhiking throughout the PNW. He is waiting to meet up with his girlfriend who has 5 more weeks of research in Chicago while working on her Ph. D, so exploring the USA’s national parks are a high priority for him in the meantime.
By 7:00 am today, he broke his camp and headed to Longmire to purchase his permit. We thought we’d never see him again but ran into him at the visitor’s center two hours later. Serendipity? He said he needed to get a few more provisions for his 10 days in the wilderness and gas up his phone, and we needed ice for the cooler.
Once we left the visitor center we headed straight to our day hike: Pinnacle Peak. It was not what we thought. The volunteer Ranger misinformed us about the amount of snow on the trail being about 300 meters at the start. It wasn’t. It was instead dangerous and slippery in many areas, and it was one of the first times Linda and I ever had to turn back.
Luckily, we were not alone. At a dangerous spot off trail because we couldn’t see it, we heard voices from two young ladies down below. I yelled down to them after falling and snapping one of my trekking poles in two. They yelled back that the trail was closer to them. Linda and I painstakingly took our time to make it back down to join them, and all four of us decided we’d stick together for the rest of the hike. Our new hiking buddies are Megan and Kater!
We are now near the Paradise Inn, and with the best WiFi/signals we’ve had to date, I was able to squeeze out this post before heading off somewhere else in the park.
We are also relieved of our pseudo ranger duties later.
Oh, and it’s going to cold tonight - low of 37 degrees Fahrenheit.
Maybe we will sleep good tonight thinking of our invite to Tasmania, Australia, by our hiking buddy, Michael Cooper!