the organized chaos

Normally when you join a group on some sort of outdoor activity it is to learn and experience something that you  cannot do alone.  While I do not consider a 6 mile day hike to an old ranger lookout to be outside my normal abilities, I am not always able to explain the history of the area. For this reason, as well as to see what it takes to lead a group on a hike, my wife and I joined in on a hike offered here by the local outdoor rec. center.

Now, not one to just sit by and follow the leader, I thought I would jump on the internet and get the weather report for our destination, Tolmie Peak.  Being north of Mowich Lake, Tolmie Peak is located in the upper North West corner of Mt. Rainier National Park. And while the weather was to be nice, the trip reports of trails in the same area (as well as the same trail 2 years prior) told of snow and closed roads.

the mountain

As we arrived at the Outfitters to join our group, I noticed that our 'guide' was wearing some sandals and shorts. My wife and I had full packs with gear and clothing, 10 essentials, and comfort items for the snow.  I had to say to my wife, "Maybe I was wrong, maybe there is no snow." But we soon found out what we were dealing with.

First, the road was closed. So what was supposed to be a 6 mile total hike became 12 miles as we added another 6 just to get to the trail head. Second, there was snow. About a mile into our trek the snow appeared in patches. By mile 4 we were up to 5 feet.

not as advertised
Third, when we did stop to recalculate our position we had to use my map. The guide did not even bring a map! I couldn't believe that an organization would charge people for such a mess, and the ad even said that the hike would be suitable for kids and senior citizens. But we did well, managing a great pace in the melting snow and were able to reach Mowich Lake with stunning views all around us.

Good for us we all had a since of humor and everyone arrived ready for adventure. And while we did not reach or intended destination, we all had a good time. And I did learn some new things. I learned to always bring my 10 essentials and to research and plan, even if I'm not the one putting the trip together. I learned that the information gained from the trip reports on are an amazing free resource not to be skipped for future outings. And I learned that the hike from Mowich Lake to Tolmie Peak will be AWESOME on some snow shoes or skis next year.
at it again