the summit of Crystal Peak
This morning I hiked a very dusty MRNP trail up Crystal Peak, a rather unassuming mountain with an extraordinary due-westerly view of Mt. Rainier and the White River. Most people who come this way opt for pretty Crystal Lake (the trail branches off at 1.5 miles), which doesn’t require quite as much effort as Crystal Peak and probably offers more in the way of alpine prettiness. But my timing was perfect for Crystal Peak, the wildflowers on it’s steep western slopes were gorgeous. Lots and lots of purple lupine…….
I covered seven miles for the morning and gained 3,100 feet of elevation. I had the trail all to myself. It took me three hours to reach the top, my legs felt like sand-filled construction barrels. When I got to the summit, it started to rain! That was completely unexpected. I’m glad I held out through dismal clouds, scattered splatters and bloody mosquito swats for a little over an hour because eventually the sun burned through and Mt. Rainier looked amazingly 3-d even in the mid-morning filtered light. I thought of my friends Kelsie and Ken, a father-daughter duo who are days away from completing the Wonderland Trail, the 90-plus mile up-and-down circuit around Mt. Rainier. I tried to imagine what they were doing at that exact moment I was looking toward the north side of the Park. Twelve days they’ve been hiking. I really look up to Kelsie and Ken. Someday soon it will be Adam and I hiking the Wonderland Trail together. Maybe they’ll repeat it with us.
I got back to town with plenty of time to do some much-needed gardening and pick Adam up from school. He and I did more gardening before his mother got home from work.