Van Trump Park
After a summer that was longer, sunnier, and hotter than normal, fall is setting in here in the Northwest. Knowing that the days of fair weather in the alpine are numbered, we wanted to get up into the mountains one more time as hikers (sadly, ski season is still a couple months away).We drove to the south side of Mount Rainier National Park and hiked a trail that we tried a couple years ago in June only to be turned back by steep, treacherous snowfields. Not so today. But, although last winter’s snow is now long gone, this winter’s snow has just started arriving. The trail is a steep, difficult one: it climbs 2200′ feet in less than 3 miles, most of it over rocks and roots. There are two goals for this hike; the first is the spectacular Comet Falls, at 320′ one of the tallest waterfalls in the Park. It’s also where, at an elevation of about 5,000 feet, it started snowing. The endgame for this hike is a splendid sub-alpine meadowland named Van Trump Park. On clear days the scenery here is (supposedly) great. We didn’t get to see any of that. But with a fresh dusting of snow and no wind it was a peaceful and humbling place – and no less breathtaking for the lack of huge vistas. The picture album is here.