Mount Rainier, you sexy gal.
Living and working in the Seattle/Tacoma area, it seems I am constantly turning around only to run into you sitting there staring back at me. You surprise me, but don’t say anything, just tempting me to come say hello. From the very first time you caught my eye in 2008 on a military field exercise at Fort Lewis, you have been the mountain of my dreams. We’ve spent a lot of great quality time together and I am very happy to say you’ve let me climb to your summit, but you have a hidden secret; a harder challenge.
You have a wonderful trail called the Wonderland Trail that circumnavigates your base. I’ve heard it described as “running a pie crust” in that there is virtually no flat spots, just climbs and descents. 22,000′ of elevation gain over 93 miles does make it seem to be a rather steep pie crust. Weaving through alpine meadows, dropping into lush forests, and peaking out with hard packed snow, you offer a very different experience than a typical cold windy climb. Only hikers who want a remote experience can attempt this hike, typically completed over one to two weeks.
With my quick obsession into long distance trail running in 2010, I quickly started forming ideas how I might RUN the entire 93 miles of the Wonderland Trail. It initially started off with the idea of many reconnaissance runs and a four day attempt with a large crew and camping, to just three days, to two days with a light pack, to a single straight push with a super light pack and no bivy gear.
I have been eyeing and planning this adventure for many years now but have always had conflicts during the few months it can be ran (August to September). So, starting this Saturday morning, I am going to finally give it a shot. My goal is within 36 hours, so finishing sometime Sunday night. I haven’t stepped a single foot on the trail, which concerns me, but I hear it’s very well marked. I’ll be starting at Longmire Ranger Station and going clockwise. I’ll have proper emergency equipment with me including a SPOT Beacon to track my progress.
My last big challenge was running across Iowa. I know you’ve never seen Iowa, Mount Rainier, but it is much flatter than you are. You might get angry and rain on me. You might get annoyed and send cougars after me. Please don’t. There is a distinct possibility you could be much harder than RAGBRAI, but we’ll see. No matter what, I am looking forward to enjoying you from a different perspective than the side of a glacier.