🗻 Greater Northern Loop - Day 9
⛺️ I'm glad to leave Fire Creek. ⛰ Casper & Tatyanna hike up Burroughs Mountain for the view. 🌱 Grand Park is a fantastic meadow. 🌲 Berkeley Park is just as pretty. ⛰ The family reunites below Sourdough Ridge.
|Date||Start||End||Trip 🚶miles||Today's 🚶miles|
|2018-08-25||Fire Creek||White River Campground||49.3||7.8|
⛺️ Fire Creek
Can't say I'm sad to leave the Fire Creek campsites. It is a rather desolate spot of barren ground in between tall trees with no view whatsoever. I am looking forward to today's stretch through Grand Park and the lower half of Berkeley Park.
Though I have plenty of time to make the Sunrise (Backcountry) Campground in time to meet up with Casper & Tatyanna, I feel like pushing myself today. So I pack up swiftly and hike the side trail back to the Northern Loop trail.
A hand full of switchbacks after joining the Northern Loop trail, the trail opens up to a fantastic view of Mt Rainier. It is clear from the lenticular clouds that rain is on the way. Perfect timing that today is my last day on the trail.
⛰ Burroughs Mountain
Tatyanna and Casper also got up early to enjoy a clear view of Mt Rainier. They hiked up Burroughs Mountain from the Sunrise Campground as I started hiking from Fire Creek.
Without any vegetation on the ridge, Burroughs Mountain proves to be rather cold.
🌱 Grand Park
The trail returns to stands of moss covered trees after the lovely view of Mt Rainier.
Until, suddenly, the trail reaches Grand Park, an enormous flat meadow that stretches out to the East for over a mile. Equally amazing is that the meadow is not surrounded by mountain peaks. The terrain drops off in every direction. Grand Park is essentially a long and wide ridge. This gives the meadow a unique feel.
I was hoping to see wildlife but don't see any. Only signs of wildlife: bear scat. 💩
🌲 Berkeley Park
The trail drops down from Grand Park to Cold Basin and Affi Falls, which I can hear but not see.
I'm encountering a lot of "Mouse on a Stick" aka. Pasqueflower seed heads on my way down.
Berkeley Camp has 2 tent sites and is at located the bottom Berkeley Park, mere steps from the trail. Not a bad location though. The sites are in a copse of trees.
From here I climb through Berkeley Park back up to familiar ground. Trees thin out and by the time the Northern Loop Trail joins the Wonderland Trail, I'm back in sub-alpine terrain.
⛰ Sourdough Ridge
By now the weather is starting to change. The temperature has dropped and the first raindrops are falling. People who just started at the Sunrise Trailhead wear down jackets and gloves. I'm so warm from climbing at a steady clip that I'm still in shorts and a t-shirt.
At Frozen Lake I drop down towards Sunrise (Backcountry) Campground and start running to reach camp within whatever arbitrary time limit I'd set myself. I can't remember what that limit was as I write this trip report. Two and a half hours, maybe?
Our tent is at the campground but Tatyanna and Casper aren't there. Did I miss them on my way here? But then I see them coming down from Burroughs Mountain. There's a trail directly from the campground that joins the Burroughs Mountain I crossed on my way to Sunrise. The family is reunited!
With cold squalls coming through we retreat to the tent for an episode of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and some snacks. Then we pack up and leisurely walk the last mile to the Sunrise Trailhead and our rental car where we make and enjoy some awesome sandwiches. The ∞ loop is complete.
Due to the change in weather, we have no problem finding a campsite at the White River Campground. At the site, we make our one and only campfire this trip. After dinner, we retreat to the tent for one last night. Tomorrow we're living the high life in Seattle.