Monday, July 13, 2009
We had originally planned on going on a popular hike we haven't been on, Nachez Peak Loop. Going on a weekday we figured it wouldn't bee too busy. It was a nice sunny day, perfect for a hike. It's on the Sunrise side of Mt Rainier. Haven't been on that side of the mountain much. It's a little further out than going to Paradise. Was looking forward to a little change in scenery. The elevation at the Tipsoo Lake trailhead is 5040'. We arrived to find one or two other cars and talked to someone from one of the vehicles that was just leaving. They warned us of the ice and snow and said they were heading back for another hike. Since we've never been there before, we weren't sure where the trail actually started and didn't see any well marked trail around so we just had a walk around. At least half the parking lot was covered in snow/ice and only a portion of the lake was even visible. We decided to turn back and do the same.
It's been so hot the past month we didn't even think about there being a lot of snow. I did searches for trip reports of the hike and came up with nothing recent and decided to chance it. Unfortunately, we hadn't done any research on a plan B hike.
We decided to drive back over to the White River Entrance and check out the Sunrise area. We got a map and newspaper from the entrance check point and were told that the visitor center wouldn't be open for another couple days so we didn't have much help in choosing a trail. The newspaper we were given had a section for easy/medium hikes in the area and just went with Clover Lake which was nearby.
The trail started at Sunrise Point. It began with a steep downgrade for a half mile and there was a side trail to Sunrise Lake which we ventured to on the way back. There were patches of snow here and there and only one section that was difficult to pass over. Luckily we both brought tripods which made it a little easier to pass.
We spent about 2 hours at the lake before heading back. The area immediately around the lake was free of snow but there were areas not too far back where the snow was fairly deep, at least 3-4 ft but it was melting fast. It melted down about an inch in the 2 hours we were there.
So even though we didn't get to do the hike we had planned on it turned out to be a pretty good hike and got some good pics out of it. You can view the rest of the pics in my Flickr set.