Mowich Lake Snowshoe — Saturday, Nov. 27, 2004
Mount Rainier Area
Today was forecast to be such a gorgeous day that at the last minute I suggested to Kim that we head down toward Mt Rainier. Not looking for an overly ambititious trip or a long drive to the south end of the park we decided to head to Mowich Lake. What a treat. The road is clear all the way to the Paul Pk TH but I chose to park just outside the park boundary lest a diligent Park Service employee write me a ticket for not having a National Park Pass. It doesn't add much to the trip. The trip starts by following FS79 and gains it's elevation (1400' to the lake in about 5 miles) so leisurely that you hardly notice that you are climbing. The road winds around Martin Pk and skirts Mowich Meadows. After a sharp switchback in the road look for a trail marker showing the start of the Grindstone Trail. You can follow the road if you like because in the summer it goes all the way to the lake. In the winter, the trail cuts off a few of the switchbacks in the road and takes you into dense forest. Before you know it, you've popped out on the road just shy of the Mowich Lk campground. The views of the lake are stunning. At the lake there was maybe 18"" of snow. We shoveled off the snow from the top of one of the picnic tables and enjoyed a great lunch in the sun. Watch out for the camprobbers. They've learned a lot of bad behavior no doubt reinforced by being fed by campers at the lake suring the warm summer months. We were repeatedly harrased by at least 8 of the jays often with a few making mad dashes at one of us at the same time. One siege of the birds actually succeeded in steeling the last bit of Kim's sandwich right out of her hands. After a short lunch, we walked the 0.1 mile to the ranger hut nestled in the woods. While the day was beautiful (sun and no wind) it was pretty darned cold so we wasted no time packing up and heading back. We didn't see anyone on the trail/road the whole time we were out. This surprised both of us considering how easy the trip was and the wonderful weather. That's OK, it was a nice chance for peace and quiet on the trail. Stats: 10 miles, 1400' gain.