This Tuesday, there was the odd coincidence that both my roommate, Katie, and I, had the same day off – this hasn’t happened since we first arrived! So we seized the opportunity and planned a hike. ๐Ÿ™‚

On the morning of the said day, I woke up and looked out the window to a thick blanket of fog. It had been hanging around since yesterday and we had been optimistically hoping it would disappear… but since it was still there, I thought of other things we could do. Go to town… pick up a meal at a restaurant… go home! My home is three hours away, but I calculated it in my mind and decided we would have enough time to enjoy a home-cooked meal, which of course would be well worth the 6 hours of driving and gas $$. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When my roommate woke up, though, she was undaunted. And we ended up having a marvelous adventure. ๐Ÿ™‚
We set our sights on Pinnacle Peak – which is a part of the Tatoosh Range that I can see from my window every morning, every night – right now as I type.

The view out my window - The Castle is on the left, Pinnacle to the right. We hiked to the saddle in between them

While it’s possible to start on road to Ohanapecosh, across from the Reflection Lakes, we choose to start right at Paradise – hike to the Lakes, then to Pinnacle. The hike across the valley was short and easy, and we reached the road quickly. We then took our lunch break in an awesome location – under a bridge! ๐Ÿ˜€

Hike to Pinnacle Peak

The river flowed on one side of the bridge, leaving the rocks on the other side dry and perfect for us to perch on and eat our sandwiches.












The bridge over the Paradise River

Under the bridge

ย After lunch we continued on… and proceeded to lose the trail. Well not really lose it, we just couldn’t find it… ๐Ÿ™‚ We knew it started somewhere along the road, but there were no signs and nothing that looked like it could be the trailhead. My dad gave me a topographic map of the park, so we used that to slowly eliminate & figure out where the trail would start – and my roommate finally spotted it. ๐Ÿ™‚

These signs would be much more helpful if there was also a "Right Way" sign...


Katie found the trail! =)

The whole trail was in snow (it’s almost August now, ridiculous!!), so we… well, not exactly lost the trail… but forged our own. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was actually rather neat to use the topographic map to figure out where we were and where we were going. We did find the trail several times, and always had the mountains to orient ourselves.

We reached the lakes!



The Reflection Lakes are supposed to have a beautiful reflection of Mount Rainier on sunny days, but they’re still too covered with snow…








From the Reflection Lakes we set out on the climb to Pinnacle Peak. The hike to the lakes had already sapped our energy, though, so we climbed pretty slowly and took frequent breaks. ๐Ÿ™‚ What had started out as a foggy day ended up slightly clearing, and the sun made a few appearances.

Reflection Lakes


You probably don’t believe me that the sun came out, eh?ย ๐Ÿ™‚

These photos might as well be balck and white!





It got pretty steep near the end, and we climbed with hands and feet several times. Finally we reached the top of a tall hill and perched on some rocks and called that good (since we didn’t really know where the “end of the hike” was). Castle was to one side, Pinnacle to the other.

Castle and Pinnacle, up close



The view from the top - but let's zoom in closer!

And closer...

oooh look, buildings!

the Visitor Center at Paradise, where I work!

On the way back down we glissaded since it was so steep – glissading saved a lot of time, too. It was different than at Muir, since there weren’t chutes that many people had taken, and we had to be careful not to run into trees or rocks. Katie had never glissaded before so she was nervous (but then again, she’s also paranoid that I’m going to kill her while sleep walking…). We went slow and she only lost control at one part but stopped herself in time. ๐Ÿ™‚ Really I think she had a lot of fun cause she wanted to slide down every little hill from then on. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We reached the lakes again quickly and our jeans were soaking wet (yes, we went hiking in jeans…). We didn’t want to hike back the same way we had come for fear of getting lost again – it was later in the day and we were tired by now. Sooo we waited til a car drove by and Katie stuck out her thumb! For the first time! ๐Ÿ™‚ This nice lady from Belgium was kind enough to give us a ride back to Paradise – we carefully sat on our coats so as not to get her carseats wet. All in all it was a successful first hitchhiking experience, and cut 2-3 miles of walking back. ๐Ÿ™‚

And of course getting back… one of the best parts of hiking, especially hiking in the snow. We got our cups of hot coco, changed into dry clothes, and watched a movie. Excellent ending to an adventurous day. ๐Ÿ™‚

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