Day 2 – Sunrise Camp to Mystic Camp
1900 Foot Elevation Gain
2500 Foot Elevation Loss
What a beautiful day. I woke to a lovely sunrise over Shadow Lake, and was on the trail by 8:30 am. I hiked up and over a gap, and was treated to some amazing views of Mt Rainier from Berkeley Park.
Mt Rainier from 6700 Feet
Ten minutes later I came across another hiker who was intensely watching a small patch of snow a little ways off. I looked a little closer and realized there were two goats on the snow! It looked like a mama goat and her baby. Sadly, my approaching footfalls scared them away, but I was able to snap a picture before they scampered off.
And then because I couldn’t help myself…
Yet another gratuitous selfie with Mt Rainier
I eventually hiked back down in elevation through some forests, and stopped for lunch at Granite Creek. I found a lovely spot right next to the water. I filtered some water and let my feets rest.
Lunch at Granite Creek
After lunch things got a little harder. I continued going downhill, over some rocky and tree root-filled switchbacks. It was rough going for my feet. I don’t have any blisters yet but my feet are tender from tromping on rocks.
I eventually broke free from the tree cover and came to to a vista of Winthrop Glacier. Below the glacier, a torrent of muddy water spouted out of a hole in the side of the rocky mountain. I hiked down past Garda Falls, which was much lauded in my guidebook but was covered with so many blown down trees that it was hard to see, and then crossed Winthrop Creek.
All of the water sources that I crossed so far had bridges constructed over them, but the next creek crossing involved getting my feet wet. Thankfully it was a pretty small creek and so it wasn’t dangerous, just wet. I left my shoes on and used my hiking poles to stabilize myself and was across it before I had time to even get nervous about it.
Wet Feet Creek Crossing
My shoes and socks were wet after crossing the creek, but I had less than a mile to go. I powered on and made good time as the trail was smooth and the ascent was gradual.
Soon I came upon Mystic Camp, which is tucked away in the woods about .2 miles downhill from Mystic Lake. I found a spot near a creek and set up camp. It was only 4:30 but I was starving so I made dinner and then put up my bear bag for the night. A ranger came by so I showed him my permit. He said there was a chance of showers overnight (which never happened) and that the forecast was for sunny weather the next few days.
It was windy though and I was getting chilly, so I put on my thermals and puffy vest on and hiked up to the lake. I changed out of my wet socks, but I only had the one pair of shoes and they were still damp, so I had to wear them.
My guidebook says that Mystic Lake was so named because a guy saw some mysterious water spout coming out of it at one time. No one’s ever seen this water spout again, but it does have a magical ethereal quality about it. I think Mystic Lake is a good name 🙂
Dusk at Mystic Lake
It got cold again last night (39 degrees) – that combined with the wind chill made for a chilly night. I put on all of my layers and double socks and climbed into my sleeping bag by 8:00 pm. I was feeling pretty tired and sore and a little discouraged. I had downloaded a bunch of books on my Kindle iPhone app and so spent the rest of the evening reading Hatchet until I fell asleep.