With summer, starts the hiking season in the Pacific Northwest. The temperature is perfect, the sun shines bright on most occasions and the wild flowers are in full bloom. Having visited the more popular southwest entrance of the the Mount Rainier National Park aka the Paradise area, I was keen on choosing a hike in a different part. Eunice lake and Tolmie Peak fire lookout hike seemed a great option for a day hike. Accessible via the north-west entrance of the Park, the approach to the trail head is via 17 mile gravel road filled with potholes.
The sun decided to bid an early good bye, and thick fog descended into the valley, reducing visibility to only a few feet.The gravel road combined with pockets of zero visibility made for a tough 90 minutes drive to the trailhead. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who had turned up for hike in all kinds of cars. The local news station King 5 recently featuring this trail could have had a co-relation.
The trail passed by Mowich lake, which was completely covered under fog. It meandered for a mile and a half to Ipsut pass through dense forests. After another mile or so, the views opened up with a few meadows, and the plethora of wild flowers looked all the more magical against the dancing clouds. Vertical cliffs outline the Eunice lake, which appeared to be shallow, albeit very pretty.
“The immobility exercised by me in order to capture the wild flowers proved to be an expensive affair, as I got bitten by the hundreds of bugs thriving because of these very flowers”
The trail continues to wind up and leads to the Tolmie peak fire look out. It is this stretch of the hike which is magical. The wild flowers lined both sides of the trail, and with every step the lake started to appear more majestic. Not to be missed at all.
“Although the lookout appears to be a scramble up a vertical cliff, there is a very gradual incline to the trail”
The only annoyance is the number of bugs biting you at once.
The cloud cover never allowed me to get a view of the mountains, but fellow hikers who had had the good fortune on their previous hikes here had only superlatives to describe the view of Rainier from the lookout. This is 6 miles of pure bliss. See for yourself.
“Blue skies flirted with my emotions, but Rainier never came out of the closet”