These posts will cover all the areas I'm visiting in the confines of Mt. Rainier National Park in celebration of 35 years exploring here, including new places with a smattering of old.
I wanted to scout the snow levels above 5000' for an upcoming trip up the Puyallup Cleaver, plus see how the West Side Road was faring. There were a few short sections of snow before Round Pass (4000') that required pushing the bike, but these were easily managed. Thanks to the person or people who place the flags at the Marine Memorial, very nice display this year right before Memorial Day. I paid my respects, then continued on bike up the West Side road to St Andrews. The park has placed some nice log bike racks at each of the trail heads. I was obviously wrong in my prediction last year that the extensive improvements to the WSR meant that shuttle service would begin this year. Although I didn't continue on the road to Klapatche Point, the road is in good condition with the usual branches and twigs and detritus with only one fallen tree to carry over; however, there is a substantial washout about half a mile from St Andrews that will require shoring up to keep the road open after this season (still enough room to drive around it). I stashed the bike in the rack and proceeded up the St Andrews trail, not encountering any snow until 5100'. Not my favorite for navigation, dirty forest snow, but the section was short and the trail emerged somewhat to deposit me on the snow covered meadow leading to Klapatche Park. Looks like this level at 5500' will be cleared out with continuing melt by the middle of July, which bodes well for Wonderland hikers from July onward. Today stats: 23 miles/4200' elevation.