Everybody is feeling a lot better after a good night's sleep. We wake early enough to see pink morning sunlight kiss the snow on top of Mt Rainier. A beautiful sight but also a sign that there is smoke in the air from forest fires in Canada.

Casper is ready to hike
Casper is ready to hike. He has his gaiters on.

We pack up and have breakfast as quickly as we can so that we can have an earlyish start for the ~9 miles (ca. 14 km) to Mystic Camp, our camp for the night.

Sunrise Trailhead to Mystic Camp. White River Campground is south of Sunrise Trailhead along the White River.

πŸŒ… Sunrise Trailhead

With the packed backpacks in our car and the rest of our gear shoved in the trunk, we drive up 2,000 ft (ca. 610 m) to park the car in the overnight section of the parking lot at the Sunrise Trailhead. Some last minute adjustments, a pit stop at a proper restroom, and we're off.

We're off
Our hike has started. We're on our way on the Sourdough Ridge Trail to meet up with the Wonderland Trail.

The Sourdough Ridge Trail is pretty with fabulous views of Mt Rainier. Plenty of day hikers too. After a short climb, the trail levels out, and we're all cruising.

The first 3.5 miles (5.63 km) to the saddle below Skyscraper Mtn are fairly level. Then down to the West Fork of the White River and back up to Mystic Camp.

The first 3.5 miles (5.63 km) to the saddle below Skyscraper Mtn are fairly level. Casper surprises us by going ahead on his own to the saddle. He is crushing it!

Bart & Casper on the Wonderland Trail
Casper & Bart on the Wonderland Trail below Burrough's Mountain.

β›° Skyscraper Mountain Saddle

Tatyanna arriving at the saddle below Skyscraper Mountain
Tatyanna arriving at the saddle below Skyscraper Mountain.
Skyscraper saddle panorama
Skyscraper saddle panorama. Burrough's Mountain is the gray ridge on the left. The saddle is on the right with Skyscraper Mount just out of view.
Tatyanna descending towards Granite Creek Camp
Tatyanna descending towards Granite Creek Camp.g

As we descent towards Granite Creek Camp for a lunch stop, we're leaving the alpine meadows behind and enter a lush green forest with plenty of blueberries.

We boil some noodles for lunch at Granite Creek Camp halfway down the descent to the West Fork of the White River while listening to the last book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series: The Long-Lost Home. We started this series on the John Muir Trail to make hiking more appealing to Casper. Finishing the series on another long hike links these hikes in yet another way. We're already reverting to wolfish speech. 🐺

πŸ’§West Fork of the White River

The 2,150 ft (ca. 655 m) drop in elevation over the 3 mile (ca. 5 km) descent to West Fork of the White River from the saddle is hard on our legs. We have yet to find our hiking form. It is especially hard on Casper. To help him out, I strapped his backpack to mine. Without a load on his back, he is a different person. From dragging behind he turns into the front-runner.

West Fork of the White River
The bridge over the West Fork of the White River.

The river marks the lowest point for the day. From here on we climb to Mystic Camp. At the end of our loop, we have to cross the West Fork of the White River again, lower down where there may or may not be a bridge. We have been warned about that crossing by the rangers. A hiker drowned there a month earlier when he tried to cross without a bridge in place. There should be a crew out building a new bridge, but whether they will complete the bridge before we come through is unknown.

Bart ����& Casper crossing the West Fork of the White River
Casper & Bart crossing the West Fork of the White River.

β›Ί Mystic Camp

The last 2.5 miles (ca. 4 km) to Mystic Camp are a bit of a slog. Everyone is tired. Casper is ready to throw in the towel, which of course, is not an option. With encouraging words and distractions we all make it to camp. I arrive first and find us a free site and collect water from a nearby stream.

To reduce weight, Tatyanna and I are sleeping in our ultra-light Mountain Hardware Supermega UL2 tent, while Casper sleeps in a bivy sack. This combo is lighter than our Hilleberg Stalon tent.

With the flysheet of our tent propped by a hiking pole, Casper's head can be "in" the tent. Before we go to sleep, we listen some more to The Long-Lost Home. 🐺