Wonderland Trail: 7/30/20-8/3/20

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drm
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Re: Wonderland Trail: 7/30/20-8/3/20

Post by drm » December 7th, 2020, 8:19 am

The non-scenic dark campgrounds stuck deep in the forest are a feature in MRNP. There are some camping areas that are very scenic: Indian Bar, Summerland, Klaptche Park, a few others. But of course they are ridiculously hard to get reservations for. Some camping areas are quite far from running water, like a quarter mile.

I've done much of the Wonderland in sections on separate trips. Most of the mileage I'm missing is in that crowded southern section. Ends up you can do approx. 40 miles loops on the north, east, SW, etc. But those were in the days when getting permits for camps on the Wonderland were somewhat difficult instead of next to impossible as they are now. Getting a permit for the Wonderland is about as hard as getting one for The Enchantments. But for the Wonderland, the $20 reservation fee is nonrefundable, even if you don't get any permit. I guess they gotta do something to cut the numbers. If it wasn't obvious to readers, Ipsut Ck campground was a car campground before the road washed out.

And as to the bridges, as your pics make clear, the loop would be impossible otherwise. You were there in mid-summer when water flows on our local volcanoes is starting to lower quite a bit. Even in September, Rainier has numerous crossing that cannot possibly be forded. Adding 2-3000 feet to the height of a mountain clearly affects water flow in a huge magnitude.

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retired jerry
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Re: Wonderland Trail: 7/30/20-8/3/20

Post by retired jerry » December 8th, 2020, 4:21 pm

wow, that is an epic Wonderland report. Huge mileage on successive days.

somehow, Wonderland reports don't leave me saying "I got to do that" :)

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Chip Down
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Re: Wonderland Trail: 7/30/20-8/3/20

Post by Chip Down » December 8th, 2020, 4:29 pm

I've always found the best way to get a good camping spot is to stay above 8k'.
No crowds, no rangers, better views.
And the circumference of the mountain is shorter up there.
Canyon crossings are a bear though.

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drm
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Re: Wonderland Trail: 7/30/20-8/3/20

Post by drm » December 9th, 2020, 7:59 am

retired jerry wrote:
December 8th, 2020, 4:21 pm

somehow, Wonderland reports don't leave me saying "I got to do that" :)
The Northern Loop, the Eastern Loop, a SW loop. They are all about like a Timberline excursion, 40 miles or so. Plus the outer parts of those loops is not on the Wonderland so you get some less crowded time. The Northern Loop is also famous and almost as popular as the Wonderland. And the eastern loop includes Summerland and Indian Bar, which are I think the two most in-demand locations for permits.

But I haven't been to MRNP in three years because I have been unable to get a permit. Last time, I gave them three weeks and said any day during that time would work (which included mid-Sept), and still came up empty (but got charged the $20 fee anyway). Hardcore Rainier backpackers have given up on advance permits. They go for same day permits with lots of options, mostly off Wonderland. But many of those places don't even have a view of the mountain. But there were no same day permits this year due to COVID.

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retired jerry
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Re: Wonderland Trail: 7/30/20-8/3/20

Post by retired jerry » December 9th, 2020, 9:19 am

hmmm... Mt Hood is looking better :)

although I was camped below the Sandy guard station, and then thru hikers and timberline hikers started showing up and there were more than 10 tents. But I just moved up to a higher place where only one person camped nearby.

same thing at Muddy Fork. Next morning there were more than 10 other tents so I quickly packed and went to a nearby location for breakfast

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Re: Wonderland Trail: 7/30/20-8/3/20

Post by Aimless » December 9th, 2020, 10:41 am

PCT thru-hikers are very predictable in their camping habits these days. Everyone uses the Halfmile map set, everyone chooses a campsite that appears on those maps, and thru-hikers hate to camp more than 100 feet from the trail. By the time they arrive in Oregon, thru-hikers are inured to camping all packed together. Factor in these habits and you can avoid them by consulting the Halfmile maps and picking anywhere not shown on them as a campsite. This is not always easy and can require packing water to a dry campsite, but it can be the only way to achieve some solitude.

Of course, in Mt. Rainier NP freelance camping is strictly forbidden, so you'll have company every night.

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retired jerry
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Re: Wonderland Trail: 7/30/20-8/3/20

Post by retired jerry » December 9th, 2020, 12:22 pm

yeah, that sounds right, easy to avoid large camp groups

but, they seem friendly enough, maybe it's good to experience that sometimes. Better than most groups of humanity :)

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Re: Wonderland Trail: 7/30/20-8/3/20

Post by drm » December 10th, 2020, 8:28 am

Aimless wrote:
December 9th, 2020, 10:41 am
Of course, in Mt. Rainier NP freelance camping is strictly forbidden, so you'll have company every night.
You can get permits for dispersed camping away from the established camps in Rainier in some cases. And the existing camps tend to be separated so you won't be crowded in most cases anyway. Of course some people will camp away from the trail without permits or permission anyway.

But Rainier's restrictions are why creating a national park on Hood is not necessarily popular even with hardcore campers.

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