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.
Taking advantage of this good weather for a combo hike/bike/trainer, I biked the Ipsut Creek trail and hiked to Moraine Park at 5700 feet. Looks like my planned Little Tahoma climb will be weathered out this coming weekend, so it was really nice to venture into parts not yet traveled in excellent weather. Every year I bike the Ipsut Creek trail and it seems every year the higher end becomes cobblier. Some sections are not kid friendly but I managed to stay peddling over a long expanse of good sized rocks. However, I knew this would be only a mild detriment after hiking all day; there's nothing like biking downhill for the last 5 miles at the end of a long session. At the lower Carbon crossing I ran into the NPS trail crew working on putting in the bridge, cutting trail across the slide area and doing general maintenance. After getting an email, part of my task today was to document blow downs and maintenance issues up to Moraine Park so they know what lies ahead. As it turns out, any blow downs were small and easily passed. However, I'm not sure what they're going to do for the crossing of Dick Creek as the creek has wandered past the end of the current bridge. I was able to position myself off side next to the bridge to leap to the far side and stay feet dry on the ascent, but I knew this would not work coming back as there was nothing safe to leap to (sure enough, I had to do a feet wet crossing here on the return).
Just like last week's sojourn to Klapatche Park, once I hit 5100' there was continuous snow, in many places well over 6 feet deep. However, it was well consolidated and I only post holed about 4 times later in the afternoon on my return in my trail runners and shorts. Under somewhat hazy white skies, I found a small oasis to sit and have some lunch in the considerably thinner snow in upper Moraine Park, deciding there was no motivation to continue another 200 feet up to Mystic Pass on steep snow. From there it was almost all down hill and I finally saw someone else heading down the trail at the suspension bridge, where I stopped for another snack but eventually passed the older gentleman (70's?) in jeans, which he also biked in. Chafe city, but HYOH. I was rather pleased to see the crew had established the end points of the railing on the bridge, and also cut trail across the slide area in the time I had been higher. I made sure to send a detailed report to trail boss Zachary with pix this evening, I hope it helps them out.
Once I got to the lower parts of the trail I could let the steed run and soon found myself back at my vehicle at 5, making for a 25 mile day (10 on the bike) with 4400 feet of elevation, my legs telling me that was quite enough for this day's trainer in fabulous weather.