Hike Crystal Peak 7/2

12 of us did the fairly strenuous hike up Crystal Peak in Mt Rainier NP and were rewarded with close-up views of Rainier, the other 4 volcanoes in WA, and Mt Hood in OR, with fields of wildflowers at peak along the way.

I had posted a hike on the little-known Johnson-Medra trail in the Teanaway but then WTA made that their hike of the week in an email to all members. And the updated weather forecast called for temps around 90 on the east slopes while perfect hiking weather on the west slopes. I thus notified all those who had signed up that we would be hiking lovely Crystal Peak instead, and no one objected. It was probably more of a work-out, but the well-maintained national park trail led us into stunning territory.

We left Seattle under cloudy skies of a “marine layer” but rose above that into blue skies not far beyond Enumclaw. After making a quick coffee stop at the charming Wapiti Woolies in Greenwater, we got to the trailhead just in time for the last 3 parking spots. Off we went on a trail that first climbed steeply in a dense forest but soon broke out into the open for some good views of nearby Rainier. The trail wound up through fields of bear grass, lupine, paintbrush, and flox. Mt. St Helens soon loomed above one ridge of Rainier, then Mt Hood came into clear view. Patches of snow began to appear, with glacier lilies blooming in the areas just melted off. Nearing the summit, Mt Adams became visible to the south, then Glacier and Baker to the north. We ate lunch on rocks atop the peak, lingering about an hour in the enchanted setting.

The way down such a smooth trail was quite quick and soon we were relaxing by the rushing stream next to the trailhead while imbibing cold drinks and eating some great home-made delights—thanks to Paul W and Phil! And the drive back to the city took less than an hour and a half in the middle of the holiday weekend..

Participants: Mike J, Phil B, Parker and Paul W, Tom R, Jack H. Jeremy K, Lyle, Richard B. Luis S and Hasan A.

Submitted: 07/05/17
Article By: Himes, Rex

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