By Michael Lanza
Mount Rainier National Park presents a multitude of excellent backpacking options. But one that encapsulates the experience well, shows off some of the park’s highlight views, glaciers, and wildflower meadows, and can be knocked off in a weekend is the traverse from Mowich Lake to Sunrise. Hiking below Rainier’s north face makes it look so impossibly big it seems unreal, rising 8,000 to 11,000 vertical feet above hikers on trails. Few North American peaks have visible relief of two vertical miles. You naturally react as you might to a full-blown, heat stroke-induced hallucination: Compelled to believe your eyes, you nonetheless struggle with the nagging intuition that the delicate fruit that is your frontal lobe has spoiled badly in the heat.
Check out the video below from my family’s three-day, 22-mile backpacking trip across Rainier’s northern flanks, from Mowich Lake to Sunrise. Then read my story about that trip, which includes numerous photos and information to plan the hike yourself, and see all of my stories about Mount Rainier National Park. Also, visit my Youtube channel to view videos about other adventures I’ve written about at The Big Outside.
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