As I mentioned last week, I climbed Mt Rainier this past weekend. And I’ll have photos to share with you soon, but I have a two more training hikes to tell you about first. Our second to last hike is Granite Mountain. I did this hike for the first time I tried to climb Rainier in 2009. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy then and it’s pretty hard still. But my fitness has improved over the years, thankfully.

At 3,800ft of elevation gain and 8.6 miles round trip, this hike is a thigh burner. But fortunately for us, it’s a cool day, even though that means our views won’t be as spectacular as they could be.




The trail starts mostly in the trees, which is great as it keeps the light rain off us. But there are a few switchback that cut across an avalanche chute. Thank goodness we’re here in the summer!






As we get higher and higher, we eventually break the tree line. This is where the wildflowers really come out.




Looking at the trail in that picture above makes me wonder what I’m thinking! I can just picture myself falling and losing a tooth. Thank goodness I make it up injury free. On the way down though…



Lori strikes a pose.



Once again, despite losing the views, I’m glad for the cloud cover. On sunny days, this area gets really hot, with no shade to escape to.



Lori takes a break while I snap a hundred photos.







This little creek reminds me of a fairy-land! In fact, the whole upper mountain feels like it could be straight out of a fairy tale.







When we finally get to the top, we decide not to scramble up the rocks to the old fire lookout. It’s a bit drizzly and we’re still trying to take care to not get injured so close to our climb.


On a clear day, you could see for a hundred miles. Today, this is what we get. And it’s July! But I really don’t mind.



There’s still quite a bit of snow up here as well.


We don’t stay for long as it’s not very warm and quite wet.




As I mentioned earlier, I managed to make it to the top injury free. However, on the way down I manage to slip on the edge of the trail and smack myself in the face with my hiking pole. I immediately have a bruise and a fat lit. How embarrassing! And of course this is the week I’ll be in the office every day, so I get plenty of questions about “What happened to your face?” Sadly, this is something I’ve been asked frequently over the course of my life. But fortunately, I don’t need my face to climb Rainier and all other body parts make it safely back to the car. I still call that a success!

Rainier Training Hike: Mailbox Peak
Rainier Training Hike: McClellan Butte