Daily miles – 22
Total miles – 2234
Lots of elk bugling throughout the night. Had elk down in the valley below us bugling as we began to drift off to sleep, and then they were close up to us (within a couple hundred feet) as the night went on. We slept good, and SweetPea even slept through her alarm – a good thing since she was sleeping well.
Today was a day of pulling on and off layers for the whole day. We had all our pieces of clothing on at certain points during the day, and as little as our windshirts for other parts of the day. This was the nature of things as the wind came and went depending on our location on the various slopes, as well as sunshine, which also came and went.
Early in the day, we crossed into Mt Rainier National Park, and were on the edge of it for most of the day. The trail was pretty nice, coursing along on ridges and high slopes of the range. We were within sight of Mt Rainier for much of the day, however the clouds never really broke enough for us to get a good view (at least in that direction).
We saw a lot of elk in the evening. Some were within 150 feet. There are many paths which cut through the forest that are clearly elk highways. Most of the elk that we have seen are females, but we caught a fleeting glance of one male at the end of the day. They move quickly away from us so we do not see them for long, but it is still fun to see these big animals move quickly through the woods. We also saw about 6 mountain goats up on a slope far away from us.
At lunch, we sat down not far from a little pond that is apparently quite a popular place as the chipmunks were quite habituated to picking up scraps from their human visitors. Beardoh had one of his Lara bars stolen, but recovered it after chasing the chipmunk, and chipmunk dropped the bar since it was too big to move quick with. The chipmunk had pulled the bar out of Beardoh’s side pocket on his backpack.
Lots of day hikers out as this area is quite accessible from a nearby trailhead. We saw quite a few thru hikers as well – Navigator, Shiloh, Ireland, Far Out (and friend), and Scarface, who we are camped with.
Since the day was so windy, we were happy to find the area that we had picked out (much earlier in the day) for this evening camp is in a nice gap with plenty of trees that cut the wind down significantly. We do have our hammock tarps up for possible rain and likely condensation, which we don’t rather not have on our sleeping quilts.