While hiking the 95-mile footpath circling Mount Rainier, Terry Wood
carried an Iridium telephone that uses satellites to relay telephone signals. Every weekday during his trip, which began Aug. 29 and ended Sept. 10, he called The Seattle Times to give an update on his progress. Read his reports below.
At 3:45 p.m., beneath cloudy skies that keep the nearby mountain obscured from view, I take my first steps.
The dry, firm trail I followed to this spot yesterday (while passing about
30 dayhikers) is now filled with small puddles and rivulets of water.
Trudging through the fog up to Reflection Lake (4,850 feet), I crossed the
park's paved road and questioned my commitment and my logic.
The Wonderland Trail even has its own speed record. A guy from Colorado holds
the published record of 27 hours and 56 minutes, set in 1991.
Yesterday was a day of slow, long climbs and great scenery along the Cowlitz
The mountain turned lavender at sun up. It was another reminder of the
special qualities of Mount Rainier's Sunrise area, my personal favorite.
Having just resupplied, my already bulging pack is now stocked with eight days
worth of food, probably pushing its weight, originally 62 pounds, close to 65. Yikes!
Climbing to Mystic Lake yesterday, I met one of the park's few remaining
backcountry rangers, 35-year-old JoAnne Germano.
While trudging up, up, up the 2,850 feet climb to Ipsut Pass (5,200 feet), I
encounter the Three Ladies.
The low fog clinging to the tree tops persuaded me to just sit the day
out. After eight straight days of full-pack hiking, it felt good to take it
The mountain was lovely in yesterday's twilight, shifting from gold to pink to
icy blue-gray as the sun faded. A nice end to a nice day.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. When the weather turns
warm and the clouds go away, there's no finer place to be than on the ridgelines
of Mount Rainier.
The finish line: 3:27 p.m.