Blue's Boots

Andrea's adventures on the trail…

Spray Park and Cataract Valley, MRNP

on July 19, 2015

I spent a wonderful 2 days with J.H. and S.H. on a backpacking trip at Rainier. We headed to Mowich Lake campground in the evening, where the wind kept us awake most of the night. Next morning we packed up and headed up through Spray Park and Seattle Park. Gorgeous weather and very few mosquitoes, but plenty of biting flies 😦  I was hoping for Mr. Bear, and near the top I walked right past him without seeing him, until J. called my name and told me to look to my right. Mr. Bear was in a thicket right on the side of the trail. He ambled away from us, not in a hurry, and we were able to follow at a safe distance for a few minutes and get some great photos (keep in mind I have a zoom lens, we weren’t too close!) before he headed into the trees.

At the top of Spray/Seattle Parks, the terrain changes dramatically into a lunar landscape, which is absolutely beautiful. We only had 2 tiny snow crossings, which is remarkable for this time of year. The views of Rainier from here are spectacular. Then we headed down down down into Cataract Valley to the Cataract Valley backcountry camp. The trail heading down was very rocky, uneven, with big steps, and it torqued my ankles with every step, but it was worth it. Cataract Valley is a nice campsite with a stream running right through the middle of it, which is very handy. We pitched tents and had an afternoon siesta before dinner. The biting flies were annoying at first, but disappeared in the evening and it was perfect weather for us.

The next morning we headed further down to the Carbon River suspension bridge, which is always a lot of fun! At the Ipsut Pass trail, J. and S. headed back up to Mowich Lake, and I headed to Ipsut Campground where I had left my bike so I had a nice 5-mile glide back to the Carbon River gate where Fran was waiting to pick me up. An absolutely wonderful 2 days spent with my Mountain 🙂

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