Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) traverses for about 12 miles along the boundary between Mt. Rainier NP and the William O. Douglas Wilderness in the Okanogan-Wenatche National Forest from the southeastern corner of the NP where the PCT meets the Laughingwater Creek trail to the junction of the Crystal Lakes trail at Sourdough Gap.

The PCT wanders in and out of the NP along this common part of the trail and is administered by the USFS for its length with the NP which means the USFS rules on the trail and USFS camping rules on USFS land, but no camping on NP lands.

The trail crosses highway 410 at Chinook Pass, with the trail over the new walkway bridge over the highway where there is a trailhead on the USFS side of the boundary and the Tipsoo Lake picnic area on the NP side a short distance west of the bridge.

For hikers there are several options to accessing the PCT which you can find information on the description and map of the PCT along the boundary with the adjacent wilderness area. There are several good dayhikes as well as overnight to longer backcountry hikes, one being the loop of the PCT and eastside trail along highway 123.

Anyway, the stuff is there. Let me know if you find problems, have questions or suggestions with the Web pages.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Reports

The monthly reports on the news, access and conditions for Mt. Rainier NP for April are now on-line at the photo guide. The news for April is that spring is slowly sneaking into the NP and the NPS is starting the transition to spring.

But don't expect much for April as the snowpack is above normal and has persisted at lower elevations later than normal this spring with snow at Longmire. That said the NPS will end the nightly closures of the road between Longmire and Paradise April 15th.

Travellers should check the road advisories as snow will continue to add to the snowpack through April into early May so you will encounter cold temperatures and rain/snow storms at the mid-upper elevations. You should still carry chains as a precaution.

In other news the snowplay area ends March 31st but snow camping continues for awhile until the snowpack melts where the NP decides it's a danger for the underlying vegetation and meadows. This is important when travelling across open areas still covered with snow.

In other news the NPS is accepting reservations for the backcountry permits for the Wonderland Trail. They accept applications between March 15th and April 1st, after which all of the applications are put into a lottery system and allocated accordingly.

Otherwise, it's still winter and early spring in the lower elevations. Time to get out the gear and warm up the body for people like me who are spring to fall hikers and photographers. Sorry winter people.