One by one, three small groups of backpackers arrived. They were a bit wet from the rain, but that didn’t seem to matter. They were in good spirits nonetheless, each one of them. Perhaps it was because that even with the weather not being ideal, hiking through the spectacular scenery along the Wonderland Trail surrounding Mt. Rainier is enough to keep the attitude positive and the morale uplifted.
rivers, wildflowers, trees, rock walls, mountain hills (photo by Debby)
That, and a sense of accomplishment, as the miles of hiking for the day were complete. And furthermore, they had made it to a shelter where each one of them could dry off. A shelter in the Indian Bar area of the Wonderland Trail – a valley filled with abundant sub-alpine wildflowers, endless trees, rock walls, mountain hills and rivers. An area where all backpackers are surrounded by nature in a 360-degree circle!
walk through the wildflowers (photo by Debby)
Melissa and I were already in the Indian Bar shelter from our arrival the day before. We had a layover day, and by the time the first group showed up, we had already had a mesmerizing morning walk through the wildflowers, had eaten breakfast and lunch, and were now reading and relaxing out of the rain.
Three men were the first group to reach their destination of the day. One from Santa Barbara, California, and the other two from Chicago, Illinois, they have been friends for more than 15 years, with two of them friends for more than 30 years! They were taking only eight days to complete the entire 93-mile circumnavigation of Mt. Rainier. This was almost their last day.
view from the shelter (photo by Debby)
This expedition is one of Glenn, Paul and Don’s annual treks that they do together every year. They have experienced a 130-mile trip in Yellowstone; they have hiked in Yosemite; and they have discovered the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce together. These three companions, two of whom are actually grandfathers (although I must say that they look quite young to be grandfathers!) have certainly seen a lot of this beautiful country together!
me in the shelter (photo by Melissa)
From the beginning of their arrival, joking and conversation began. Like I said, everyone in the shelter that day was in good spirits. As the three of them hung up their wet clothes to dry, and warmed up some hot food and drinks, the five of us began to chat about this and that, comparing experiences on the Wonderland Trail, and getting to know each other a bit.
Somehow we all began to place bets on when the blue skies and sunshine would appear that day. Would it be 3 pm, 3:30 pm, or perhaps 4 pm? Once in a while, a tiny patch of blue sky would appear to tease us all, but the sunshine never did fully happen. No one won the bet, but that didn’t matter, as we were all still enjoying the day!
Glenn, Paul & Don (photo by Melissa)
We began to compare the freeze-dried food that we were eating. Which of these gourmet dinners that we have been consuming for days from packaged bags did we like the best? Was it the lasagna with meat sauce, or perhaps the spaghetti with meat sauce? Was it the beef stroganoff, or possibly the chicken teriyaki? Maybe it was the macaroni & cheese? Or the pasta primavera? Add some packaged tuna, we discussed, to the to the pasta primavera for more protein. The winner, I would say, would actually be the chocolate mouse for dessert.
And so the five of us sat there in the Indian Bar shelter looking forward to the arrival of the next group of backpackers. I somehow knew that they too, even with the rain, would be in good spirits!
…please keep reading for the next episode of the Indian Bar shelter group to find out about the next backpackers…
Photos by Debby and Melissa