Hiked the Tolmie Peak Lookout Trail
in Mount Rainier NP on an overcast and foggy day this past weekend. Started at Mowich
Lake which was totally socked in and not visible even where the trail
skirted just above shoreline. We passed under sheer rocky palisades,
across some small scree slopes and over Ipsut Pass, continuing on to
Eunice Lake and then climbing to Tolmie Ridge and the lookout.
route is known for spectacular views but this day is more sweeping
banks of clouds across the high ridges and in and out of the spaces in
between. We make do with the views we get, which are mainly of Eunice
Lake. Our first view is from the south. We see the a shallow outet
and the larger larger lake beyond the channel. On the far side of the
lake Tolmie Ridge is a near vertical wall of rock, massive in form,
sheer cliff and tenacious forest.
Climbing the final
half mile from the lake's outfall (pools but no running water) we see
Eunice Lake as a whole, a sparkling blue gem surrounded by the rugged
peaks of Rainier's northwest flank. That impression is re-confirmed
once we reach the lookout. We catch a couple fleeting views of Rainier
as the cloud banks sweep across the cirque that holds Eunice Lake. At
one point the entire cirque is filled with fog and zero visibility.
Other times we can see the basin and surrounding ridges as clouds roll
in and out. Heading back, we got a bit more sun and (sort of) clearing
skies but the high places stay in the clouds as far as we can tell. On a
truly clear day this place would take your breath away. On
this day it was simply a fine destination with plenty of interest to
make for a good walk.
This hike was my first using
trekking poles. I rented a pair to try out. For the most part I was
glad to have them. The poles helped me maintain momentum and stability
and were especially welcome on the steep descent from the lookout. Two
poles are far more cumbersome than the one pole I have carried ever
since I began using a pole in the 1990's. That took some getting used
to but overall the effect was good. I'll start looking around to see
what I might want to buy. The rentals were pretty basic. My hiking
partner has a very nice pair with features that would certainly improve
the poles' comfort and use.
Eunice Lake again
Eunice Lake again
Labels: mount rainier np, washington