My daughter was home for hiking vacation with me, but this Sunday's forecast was not favorable for keeping dry. However, a day hike would fit the bill so we decided to go hike the WSR at Rainier and visit Lake George and Gobblers Knob, yet another trail I hadn't stepped foot on. While we were preparing to depart a car drove up with two bikes, so I jokingly said to them "Oh boy, bikes we can take for the ride back!" Their response: "No, really, take our bikes!" Turns out they were running the last leg of the Wonderland and their somewhat funky logistics were to ride their bikes on the WSR to the end at Klapatche Point, hike the 3 miles on the North Puyallup trail, then run the Wonderland to Longmire where their buddy would pick them up, drive back to the WSR.....and then they would have to hike the 9 miles on the WSR to retrieve their bikes and come back. My daughter and I kind of shook our heads at this plan; why not just walk or run the WSR? They were going to have to do it anyway to get their bikes, making it their second time in this soirée. We hadn't planned on hiking the entire WSR but what the hey. They caught up to us at Round Pass, confirming the plan, so we continued on to retrieve their bikes and bike back to the Lake George trail head as rain was predicted to appear later that afternoon.
When we finally set foot on the Lake George trail, there was a light mist going but we enjoyed the hike with this fresh cleansing air (after the smoke the PNW had endured for weeks). At Lake George it was more raining than misting, and we took a break in the shelter after I extinguished an illegal, smouldering abandoned fire there. Then it was off for Gobblers Knob, when we came to the trail intersection for Goat Lake, which lies outside the park boundary. My astute daughter pointed out that this trail entailed .6 miles to the boundary with the comment, "Don't you think you should hike this? Otherwise, how can you claim to have hiked all the trails in the park?"
The logical girl was right, so she set off for Gobblers Knob while I tried to run down this trail to the boundary, getting absolutely soaked in the process from all the overhanging brush and light rain. Squishy shoes soaked. Plus I lost a few hundred feet of elevation in the process. Sometimes goals can be annoying, but I covered the ground as quick as I could and did an old man sprint up the trail to Gobblers Knob, where my daughter was waiting under an overhang on the only dry spot in sight. Luckily my G9 is weather sealed so I took some pix around the lookout of misty near trees and whiteness. One could only imagine the views in all directions. I guess I'm going to have to return sometime during good weather.
This was not a lingering summit, so we departed to regain the bikes at Round Pass. By then, despite wonder garments, we were feeling a bit clammy but the thought of a quick descent via mechanization helped a bit. By the time we regained my vehicle we were surely ready to get into dry clothes and crank the heat. We left the bikes at the prearranged lock spot, put the key in a helmet, and hoped Mark and Dan were doing OK on their soggy run to Longmire. Turns out they finished at 8 and were quite thankful to just pick up the bikes and go home. No problem, I can certainly relate to non standard outdoors plans. We were happy to help out. My daughter's comment at the end...."That was fun!"
Stats: 24 miles/5100'