Today started well with real coffee and breakfast in a warm trailer courtesy of Joan and Dave. They also gave the three of us a ride back to the trail at around 7am to get a good early start on the hiking.
The highlight of the day was the vivid autumn colouring that was so prevalent in the bushes. Inside the forest the lower plants remain green and lush still, despite the dryness of the year. There are grasses, thick-skinned shiny scalloped leaves, hairy papery leaves, and blueberry bushes. But on the edge of the forest it is possible to burst out into surreal reds and oranges. Against the evergreen of the forest it’s so vibrant, like the world has been cranked up to maximum.
I also saw my first elk!
We had lunch by Bumping River which we had been able to hear for several miles, and met two hunters looking for a place to set up camp. They were riding horses with an extra horse and a mule carrying a huge amount of gear. They asked us about several lakes, some of which I had heard of and others I hadn’t. I got the distinct impression they were a bit lost.
After lunch we had a long and steep climb up to the Mt Rainier National Park boundary. We had a couple of unplanned stops for water and shade because it was so exposed and hot, but we were eventually rewarded with a view of the mountain, closer now than ever.
The day ended at Dewey Lake with lots of weekenders and day hikers. It was clearly a high use area as lots of tent spots close to the lake had green “closed for revegetation” tags. Also toilet paper. Yuck.
Camping: Mile 2329, Dewey Lake