Just about this time last year, my friend Melissa and I hiked one-third, about 30 miles, of the glorious Wonderland Trail around the beautiful Mt. Rainier. The rain we encountered (yes, in August) did not dampen our spirits one bit. The spectacular scenery, the people we met along the way, and the sense of accomplishment all added up to a simply awesome experience.
In fact, Melissa and I enjoyed the trip so much, that even before we were done hiking last year, we started thinking about hiking the entire 93-mile circuit this year. The planning begun very shortly after we got home: reading books, devising itineraries, buying new equipment, exercising nearly everyday.
The only way to hike the Wonderland Trail is to obtain a permit. And one way to obtain this permit is to submit itineraries via fax on a specific day at a specific time. And once the “permit season” is open, it is first-come first-serve. Melissa and I had our itineraries all ready to go, and faxed them in, or at least tried to, the minute that we could.
Alas, the fax machine was busy…busy….busy. Twenty minutes later, whew, our fax finally went through. Then we waited. A few months. To see whether we got “accepted.” We figured we would. I mean, 20 minutes within the first second of open permit season should be fine, right?
Not. We got rejected. We couldn’t believe it. Disappointment set in. Now what? All the excitement, planning, reading, buying, exercising – wasted?
But wait! Let’s just try again, we thought. So we tried. And faxed some more. Other itineraries, different starting locations, different days, opposite direction, something, anything.
Then I had a brilliant idea! If we can’t do the whole trail this year, what about the part that we didn’t do last year? What about the other two-thirds?
So we devised some more itineraries, and faxed away. Rejection number one came in.
But, then an acceptance! Yippee! No, wait, a second acceptance! Wow, double yippee! One itinerary within the month of July, and the other within the month of August. We were ecstatic. One way or another, now we were going to hike the Wonderland Trail again; or at least the other two-thirds.
Which itinerary to choose now? Both months had their advantages and disadvantages. We weighed the options carefully, and came to a decision…
August it is!!
And, now that August is here, Melissa and are about to embark on an adventure. To be with nature for days on end. To see wildflowers and trees and mountains and rocks and rivers and lakes and waterfalls and meadows and glaciers and wildlife; and fellow hikers. To experience the glory and the beauty of two-thirds of the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier.
For some stories of our trip last year please read the four-part series “The Mt. Rainier WT Indian Bar Shelter Group“
Sweet (and glorious) Travels!