Mt Rainier NP Short backpacks 2016

Funky weather this summer has kept me away from Mt Rainier National Park and I managed to squeeze this trip in an the end of the summer. I went on two separate short overnight backpacks, to Shriner Peak and Three Lakes.

Normally I get there in the summer by driving up through Gifford Pinchot National Forest, but that road is washed out so I went through Yakima and state route 410 over Chinook Pass. White this route takes an hour longer, I had never driven this road or over Chinook Pass and it was a treat, a dramatic way to enter the Mt Rainier region.

The view from near Chinook Pass from my car window. I think that's Govnernor's Ridge below and in front.

The hike up Shriners Peak is steep, gaining 3400 feet in 3.9 miles. And there is no water so you have to carry all you need. So I had a heavy pack. While hiking up I kept waiting for Mt Rainier to show over this ridge. Only when Mt Adams did instead did I realize I was looking south, not west. Duh.

I took my time and finally after over three hours I got to the historic 1932 lookout.

A few hundred yards away I set up camp in site #1

Technically full moon was the next night, but it looked full to me

Mt Saint Helens barely showed over ridges as I was serenaded by almost constant elk bugling way down below

The view from the lookout was best, but it wasn't half bad from my campsite either. Sunrise from camp.

Even better from the lookout

Goat Rocks and Mt Adams

The trail from the lookout to the camps

A couple of deer came by as I enjoyed my coffee on the lookout

Some early fall colors on the way down. There was a concentration of berries at about the 3/4 way up point near here

I got back the to car at about noon and drove a few miles down the road to the trailhead for Three Lakes and headed in. It's six miles of mostly uphill to get to these modest but pleasant lakes at the park's eastern border

There is a patrol cabin there

It was a nice day but the drizzle started after midnight and there was a persistent light rain by dawn. But the patrol cabin has eves and so I was able to get a nice breakfast nook under a dry eve to enjoy my coffee and oatmeal before walking out in the rain. Unfortunately a camera malfunction (loose memory card I think) prevented my last shots from being saved.