Wednesday, July 7th: Mt Rainier
Woke up early(6am) with the intent of getting a good hike in. We drove directly to the Nasquilly trail in Paradise, but as we suspected, this was still frozen/snowed over and we have none of the appropriate snow gear, so we doubled back to Narada falls and hiked the wonderland trail there. The hike there was beautiful, taking in forests, alpine meadows and some very impressive waterfalls. It took us about 3 hours to complete the hike.
After the Narada hike we headed for Longmire and hiked some more on a trail called Trail of the Shadows. This trail passed through more forest and a lush meadow/wetland that has resident beavers since 1890!
After the Longmire hike, we went to the Grove of the Patriarchs trail, a somewhat crowded trail, but an awesome one at the same time! The trail led to a one-person-at-a-time suspension bridge, which allowed access to a little island with a loop trail. The trail took us past several ginormous ancient tress such as Doug Fir, Oak, Cedar. Some of the trees were as old as 1000 years! On the trail we came across a giant elk sitting in the shade. What a sight! It was quite a full day...we made our way back to the campground to plan the next day.