|Date: Day length:||9/5/2012 7 hours|
|Elevation Gain:||1300ft (to Spray Park) 1000-1500ft further exploring = ~2500ft|
|Total Distance:||6 mi (to Spray Park), 6-8 mi exploring = ~12 mi|
|Elevations:||4500ft car, 6000ft mid Spray Park, 6800ft peak/ridge|
|Weather:||Clear sunny skies|
This hike was one of my best hikes so far, like ever. Cloudless skies to start the day but fall temps high probably in the low 70s in the lowlands. The first part of the trail is pretty typical, ups and downs through the forest, about 2 miles in you reach Spray falls, which is a very scenic falls, and is just off the trail (0.1 mi side trail). Once you reach the alpine meadows you know it! You are on a normal switchback and round a corner in thick trees and get to look up to a creek crossing and the grass and flowers opening up with Mt. Rainer looming in the background right in front of you. From here you get to explore the meadows and alpine region, a few official trails (not marked for restoration) that go off and allow you to hike to your heart's content.
~12mi dirt road driving to get to trailhead
2:45pm at the end ridge and our turn around point: 46°54'-43"N 121°48'-24"W. This was done with an iphone coordinates so I am curious on how accurate it is.
When hiking often you track your progress based on land marks. This day there was a nice rock outcropping atop a hill at the start of Spray Park. Here are some views of it as we climbed more and more upward: