Backpacking! D, her friend Jen, and I started up the Owyhigh Lakes Trail on the east side of Mount Rainier last Saturday afternoon; camped at Tamanos Creek; saw and heard pika, the cutest little lagomorphs in the region; and discovered Mary Janes’ food is pretty damned tasty. Sunday, hiked passed the trail’s titular bodies of water, through the subalpine meadows at the tail end of the flower season, down the other side of the pass into the Kotsuck Creek basin, down to the Deer Creek campground, heard a randy bull elk en route, and concluded Backpacker’s Pantry products range from bland but serviceable to borderline inedible. Monday, climbed again, up the Eastside Trail to Tipsoo Lake, saw a youngish bull elk and a grouse of some sort; ended up leaving the packs by the roadside about two-thirds along the way with J so we could make a little better time.
Fun? Absolutely. Great thinking time. Ideas like freeze-dried butter (inspired by Mountain House‘s miraculous freeze-dried chicken breast), GPS-triggered backcountry audio guides (compare with museum audio guides), and extra compression sacks for clothing emerged. The steepness of the trail got to us at time. The spiffy park map let us down at one point (the Deer Creek campground is on the Eastside Trail, not the steep-as-fuck to-the-road spur). I twisted my ankle. But overall: good trip.