Wonderland Trail – Day 1 (~40 miles)
I woke up at 8 a bit hungover from the party last night. I packed up and went outside. It was raining. I went back in and waterproofed my bag. I haven’t had to do that in a while.
I tried to find the trailhead. It took me a while, but I eventually got on the trail and set off up and over the ridge.
I climbed into the clouds. The rain was never hard but I could not see anything as I got above treeline. Imagining Rainer and its glaciers to my right, I proceeded quickly across the ridge and down the other side.
I actually got to use my umbrella for its principal purpose for a change!
I then plunged into a deep valley which was so close to being a rainforest. It was so dense and green, with waterfalls everywhere. The tree cover got so thick that it stopped the rain from reaching me.
I followed a river up to Paradise – Raining in Paradise! – and then back down into the rainforest.
By the time I started to climb back up to the next ridge the clouds have thinned out and stopped raining. I still could not see the main attraction of Rainer, but the forests, ridges and meadows are worth seeing.
This pattern continued for the rest of the day. I climbed 6 ridges up to a subalpine meadow in total, and back down into the forest. To get the miles I wanted, and due to my late start, I walked into the night for almost 2 hours.
It was a great day. The climbing was really hard, with almost 14,000ft (4,300m) climbed. The climbing was also steeper than the mellow PCT grades that I have become accustomed to.
Hopefully, I don’t pull up too sore tomorrow and I hope that it also has better weather and I get a close-up view of Rainer.