Katie Zeitler Diamond
Sunrise - August 17, 2022
I wanted to make a point this summer to get up to Rainier at least once. I hadn't been for a few years, and I was eager to go to the mountain. I decided that this would be the week to go. I didn't want to go on the weekends and have to deal with crowds, so I chose to go mid-week. It was really nice because there weren't a whole lot of people out.
Of course, I chose an extremely warm day to go, but it was still a beautiful day and an overall nice trip, minus the heat exhaustion. For some reason, I had made the assumption that it would be cooler around 6,000-7000' than it was at sea level....but I was wrong. It was 86 degrees F when I got out of my car. I thought, I'll see what I can tolerate. I put a ton of sunscreen on, had a ton of water on me, and began my trek.
I decided to hike over to the Fremont Lookout. https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/mount-fremont-lookout I figured 5.6 miles (round trip) would be short, sweet, and hopefully still doable, despite the heat. Unfortunately, I had to turn around when I was this close (see below) to the lookout because my hands were shaking and I felt dizzy (this is the heat exhaustion, I'm sure).
I've been to the lookout before and my ego didn't need to accomplish anything in particular on this trip. I really just wanted to get out and take some photos and relax. My anxiety has been pretty high since June, and being outside is honestly one of the few things that helps.
The bugs were pretty intense too. I had forgotten about the horseshoe flies on Rainier. They are relentless, despite me being doused in Deet. Whenever I'd stop to catch a breath, I'd find 3 more of them buzzing around my head. Ick.
Aside from the flies, I saw a few birds, several chipmunks, heard a Pika, and saw a lot of wildflowers. Didn't see any goats or marmots. I was incredibly thankful for the breeze and the small patches of shade that gave me a much needed reprieve from the sun!
Here are some close ups of the mountain - that glacier is looking a bit scary.
Here are some photos of the chipmunks I saw (and was able to quickly get photos of! They seemed busy)
Yarrow - (I'm not actually positive on this one because I get these similar looking plants mixed up)
I don't know this one:
Pasque flower seed head (Dr. Seuss looking plants, so cool)
I know this isn't a wildflower, but it's one of my favorite plants - the false hellebore:
Alright, and then a few of the trail/from the trail:
I'm glad I was able to make it up! This is such a beautiful area to visit.
PSA, know the signs for heat exhaustion and heat stroke! I knew I had pushed it too far with the way I was feeling and I'm glad I turned around and went back to the car. I passed a ranger on the way down who asked me if I saw anyone laying down next to the trail. He was looking for them and I sincerely hope they were ok. It took me almost all of yesterday to recover from the heat and I think maybe even the altitude change. I was just exhausted, and I didn't even hike that far.
Take care of yourselves out there!