Saturday, August 12, 2017

Northern Mother mt loop

On July 29, I ran the Northern Mother my loops in 23 hours. This route had 16,837 ft of elevation gain over 47 miles.

I started the route at 6pm from the sunrise parking lot after completing the Owyhigh route. The area around sunrise was quite crowded as I ventured out onto the trail. After spending so much time alone on the Owyhigh route, I put my headphones on to isolate myself for the crowd. After a few miles I was on the Northern trail. The scenery is amazing on Rainier. The Northern trail upheld the standard.

 My first highlight was this meadow that appears to stretch on forever.

 I would see people camping and hiking here and there. Next I had this great downhill run to the valley bottom.

The sun was filtering through the trees making this one of those special times to run. Once at the river, I would have the biggest challenge of this route. I found ribbons and cairns to follow leading me across logs to where I would need to ford. There was a hand line but the river was waist deep there. After some other attempts, I found a spot 100 feet downstream only knee deep. More flagging and cairns lead me to the trail as the light was fading in the trees.It was headlamp time now as I climbed toward spray park.

At some point I stop by a stream to filter water and have a snack. I noticed moth fluttering about my headlamp. I would then notice a shadow pass by and no moth. I think I had a bat near by I was providing  a feeding station. I took off after a bit. In a while later, I was quite tired and took a 45 min nap.

One of the things I love about night moving is watching the darkness fade to light.

I was in the beginning of Spray Park at this time. It was a joy to climb up through this terrain alone in the morning light. There tranquile to me about this.

The spell was not broken until I came across a early hiker taking photos of the sunrise. I was on my way down at this point toward Mowich lake. As time and miles passed I passed many more people on their way to Spray Park.

At Mowich lake I took a short break to eat and redo gear as it was starting to get warm with the morning coming on. I short while later I was at Ipsut pass traveling down a freshly brushed path. Life was good. I pass 5 groups of hikers in the bottom of the valley working their way up toward Ipsut pass. A easy river crossing lead me to the trail that parallels the carbon river and glacier.

This is a big climb up past Mystic lake and onto the ridge top  that is my high point of this trip. It feels good to look down and know I have easy miles to my car. I start to meet a lot of people as I approached Frozen lake above Sunrise. I am back in the busy parking lot, change and start driving looking forward to that mug of chai tea at the store in Greenwater just down the road.

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