Tag Archive | Trail of the Shadows

President’s Day Weekend 2018: Snowshoe Day!

The second day of our trip, we had an amazing breakfast, which was included in our room price.  Then we headed out to for our first weekend snowshoe.  I showed Paula how to put her snowshoes on – it took a little doing, but soon we were on our way.

Paula and me snowshoeing

We hiked the Trail of the Shadows for our first hike, which is a fairly short, level loop hike directly across from the National Park Inn.  I have always liked this hike, because it takes you past the cabin of Elcaine Longmire, the son of James Longmire, who first established Mount Rainier as a tourist destination by touting the hot springs in the area as medicinal (they weren’t).  There are also some ruins of the structures built around the springs for use by the tourists.

The Trail of the Shadows also has some amazing old growth forest, with giant Western Red Cedars and other trees that have lived in this forest for hundreds of years.

Towards the end of the loop, we decided to hike up the hill for a bit on the Rampart Ridge Trail.  We knew we weren’t going to do the whole trail, but we hiked up the hill for a while and rested when needed.  Paula had a great time, and I was so happy to have a new snowshoeing friend!

We went back to the lodge and had a lunch from the cooler we had brought with meats and cheeses.  While we were eating, the power went out, and then came back on.  We learned later that they had switched us over to a generator after the power went out, because a tree had come down over the road leading into the park.  No one was getting in or out for several hours, which meant we had a really quiet afternoon!

My car – day 2

After lunch, we hiked over the bridge near the Inn to go check out the river and a few historic structures on the other side.  The Longmire Wooden Truss Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge that was built in 1924.  You can drive across it too, but it doesn’t lead anywhere for cars on the other side of the bridge.  The snow was coming down, and it was so beautiful!  There is really nothing like the peace of a lightly falling snow – the sounds are muffled, and it just makes me happy to see the landscape covered in white.

We came back to the Inn and got hot chocolate (we may have added a little homemade liqueur) and sat on the porch for a bit, enjoying the afternoon.  We had a late lunch in the restaurant (lunch there is cheaper than dinner), and were able to skip dinner because lunch was so filling! I had a burger and fries.

Our evening was spent drinking wine, playing games and socializing in the game room.  It is nice that not having cell service, phone or TV encourages people to come together and actually talk!  There were several nice people at the Inn that weekend, and we had a chance to hear their stories.  We even talked about all coming back the same weekend next year!  It was a great end to another really good day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mount Rainier 2015: Rampart Ridge Trail

One thing that isn’t in short supply at Mount Rainier National Park is beautiful hikes!  And we were able to experience a fantastic day of hiking!

Our Sunday at Mount Rainier National Park was spent on a couple of hikes – one short and easy, and one long and hard. We first hiked the Trail of the Shadows, a short, flat hike right across the street from the National Park Inn. We saw old growth forest, the mineral springs that James Longmire spent his time marketing to tourists, and a few of the 100 year old structures built around the springs, now in ruins.

The Mineral Springs don't look like much now, but they are still bubbling!

The Mineral Springs don’t look like much now, but they are still bubbling!

The springs at some points just bubble from the ground – it is fascinating to see! We also saw Elcaine Longmire’s (James Longmire’s son) cabin near the springs, built in 1888. It was neat to see how small and dark it was – I can’t imagine living in such a small, dark place all winter long!

This is the 1888 cabin of Elcaine Longmire, one of James Longmire's sons

This is the 1888 cabin of Elcaine Longmire, one of James Longmire’s sons

Then we began the Rampart Ridge Trail. It begins with several switchbacks that take you up high onto a ridge – the elevation gain is about 1300’. The hiking on the switchbacks is still pretty steep at times; I definitely had to stop and rest several times on the way up. While hiking this section, which was about 1.6 miles, we were treated to beautiful and peaceful old growth forest. Once we got to the top, we were greeted with a neat bird’s eye view of the Longmire Historic District and the National Park Inn!

The switchbacks up the mountain on the Rampart Ridge hike

The switchbacks up the mountain on the Rampart Ridge hike

 

Looking down (on super-zoom) at the National Park Inn from Rampart Ridge

Looking down (on super-zoom) at the National Park Inn from Rampart Ridge

The hike then led us for a while along the top of the ridge. We got a fantastic view of the mountain at one point, and then began heading back down to the valley floor. We didn’t see any bears (maybe that’s a good thing, but it would have been awesome to see one at a safe distance!), but we did see deer. And we heard the alarm call of a marmot, but sadly didn’t see him. The entire hike is 4.6, 4.9, or 5.0 miles, depending on which combination of signs and park materials you believe – I’m going with 5.0!  We figure with adding the Trail of the Shadow spur we were probably close to 6 miles.

Me with Mount Rainier on Rampart Ridge

Me with Mount Rainier on Rampart Ridge

 

A small waterfall on the Rampart Ridge hike

A small waterfall on the Rampart Ridge hike

Once we got back to the National Park Inn, we were more than ready for a late lunch. We both had grass fed burgers with pretzel buns on the front porch of the Inn; and we split a soda and a beer. The beef just melted in our mouths, and the buns were to die for!

 

My delicious grass fed burger at the National Park Inn, after our Rampart Ridge hike

My delicious grass fed burger at the National Park Inn, after our Rampart Ridge hike

We relaxed in the chairs on the front porch, enjoying the fantastic view of this amazing mountain before resigning ourselves to the long, drive home. We loved our weekend trip, and have warm memories of our first visit to Mount Rainier!

Have you hiked Trail of the Shadows or Rampart Ridge at Mount Rainier?  What was your favorite part?