Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rampart Ridge Circuit

June 27. I reached the Longmire visitor area of Mt. Rainier National Park about 4PM, and debated about doing another hike. I decided I had time for a 5 mile circuit hike up Rampart Ridge. I made sure I had warm clothing and rain gear in my pack and started hiking. This turned out to be one of my favorite hikes of the whole three days, with really nice forest hiking and some great views. It involved gaining over 1,300 feet elevation, and my legs were still tired from the half marathon the other day. But you only live once, and I was here to hike. I decided I had time to do this hike and still get to the Paradise Lodge in time to clean up and hopefully get some supper.

Here is a 3-D topo map view of my track, captured by my DeLorme PN GPS. I hiked it clockwise. The first part of the hike went along a nature trail called the Trail of the Shadows. But I quickly left that and headed uphill with a long continuous pull with many switchbacks, gaining 1,300 feet in less than two miles. Then the trail meandered easily along the ridge with great views before coming back into the dense forest and a steep downhill two mile section back to Longmire.
The only wildlife I saw was a Steller's jay, and tons of mosquitos when I stopped for about 20 minutes to send a SPOT check-in. I was tired and foot-sore when I got back to the Longmire, having now walked, run, and hiked about 35 miles since arriving in Seattle 78 hours ago. Plus all of the time on my feet caused my Morton's neuroma to act up big time, and every step with my left foot on the hike down was very painful.

Here are photos from the hike. This first is a view of Longmire Meadows near the start of the hike.
Part of the scenic forest portion along the Trail of the Shadows.
View looking nearly 1,300 feet down to the starting point of my hike at Longmire.
Views of the Tatoosh Range
A family hiking to this point snapped a photo of me. They were the last hikers I saw on this hike.
After the steady climbing to get here, hiking along the ridge was a breeze.
Flowers with Team in Training colors
Great views of snow covered peaks from Rampart Ridge

Awesome Mount Rainier was partially in and partially out of the clouds
This Steller's jay was not only beautiful, but he seemed to want to guide me. He hung around for a good ten minutes, hoping for a handout. But it is a bad idea to feed wildlife. It was at this point of my hike where I did feed some mosquitos, without wanting to.

This was one of the only views from the dense forest on the way down. I took out my field glasses and surveyed the white patches to see if I could see any mountain goats, but, alas, 'twas all snow.


  1. You had some fantastic views!
    Do you prefer hiking alone?

  2. No not really. I think 2-4 is the ideal size for a hiking group. But I was out here alone after the race in Seattle. And many other times, a decision to take a hike back home is a last minute decision, and so I will go alone. But my usual preference would be with a group if I can arrange it.

  3. beyond spectacular!