|Date||Start||End||Trip 🚶miles||Today's 🚶miles|
|2018-08-23||Mowich Lake||Cataract Valley||27.9||5.8|
We crashed hard last night and enjoyed a leisurely morning recovering from the later arrival. While I packed my backpack for the next 2 days, Casper & Tatyana planned their afternoon at the lake.
🦅 Eagles Roost
Together, we hike out to see Eagles Roost, the next campsite on the Wonderland Trail and Spray Park beyond. That's where Casper & Tatyana will turn around as I continue solo to Cataract Valley.
The Wonderland Trail starts out fairly level for the first mile, before gradually climbing to Eagles Roost and Spray Park.
Just before we reach Eagles Roost we come to an outlook upon Mt Rainier steps of the trail. Time for some selfies. 😉 The air is hazy with smoke from wildfires in Canada but the setting isn't any less spectacular. Mt Rainier continues to dominate the surroundings.
Casper is a different hiker when he is not carrying a backpack. He is in a good mood playing the game Pain he and Tatyana invented on an earlier backpacking trip. Think 20 questions to find out the painful experience the other has in mind.
Soon after our selfies, we come to the side trail to Eagles Roost. With a name like that we have to check it out. The campsite is a big disappointment. There are no views. The site isn't on a promontory. There is nothing roost-like about Eagles Roost. In fact, it is the worst campsite we have encountered on our hike thus far.
🏞 Spray Park
Playing Pain we continue climbing to another side trail, this one leads to a view of Spray Falls, the waterfall that Spray Park is named after.
Three miles from the trailhead we reach a lovely meadow where we lunch in the sun as low clouds whiz by overhead.
I say goodbye to Casper and Tatyana after lunch. They are heading back to Mowich Lake as I hike up into the clouds. The views are gone. I can't see more than 100 meters in any direction.
The trees get smaller and smaller until eventually they're gone entirely as I crest the ridge. The landscape with the limited visibility looks a bit like a tundra.
Just past the ridge crest, I come upon a small snowfield, a first. The trail parallels a rib as it descends into Cataract Valley. It is not very cold but the wind is driving clouds over the drop off on my left.
The further I descend, the better the weather becomes. Soon I can see sunshine across the valley.
I have the place almost to myself. During the entire descend I encounter only 1 solo hiker climbing up and a family that is also staying at Cataract Valley.
While I'm enjoying my time pushing up and over Spray Park to Cataract Valley, Casper & Tatyanna have returned to Mowich Lake where they read books and lounge.
⛺ Cataract Valley
Cataract Valley is a pleasant site among trees and blueberries with a lovely creek winding through the campsites.
The blueberries are so abundant that you can pick them from the composting toilets. I'm still puzzled why the two toilets are in the same clearing. 😕