Take your children hiking. As soon as they can. There is no mythical “right” age, and the longer you wait, the less likely they will want to go.
We drove up to Sunrise at Mount Rainier National Park on a chilly/windy day at the start of fall in alpine. Kirk told me to take Walker, and head off on the Sourdough Ridge and walk down to Sunrise Point, where he would pick us up, and hike in with Alistaire to join us. This part of Sourdough Ridge, which looms above the road into Sunrise is hiked at much lower rates than the other half, that goes out to Frozen Lake. Yet? The views are stellar, it is lonely and you get views from every angle. The downside? Yes, you can see the road, but you won’t notice it.
From the parking lot take the main trail uphill. There used to be many social paths, most are closed.
At the first junction, about half way to the top, split off to the right, and follow it uphill.
At the top of the ridge is a great place for a first break. In times with no clouds Rainier is larger than life.
Looking down at the Sunrise complex of buildings and the trails meandering all over the front country.
Look over the side to see small lakes, dried up stream beds and in the far distance Grand Park.
Grand Park in its full beauty. It’s worth the hike at least once, for me I have hiked to it 3 times. It is the longest “flat” spot in the park you will hike through.
Bribery for children can come in many forms. This one loves Hostess treats.
The hike follows the ridge, with Rainier behind you, gently going up and down to go around the peaks. It is a mix of alpine and subalpine forest.
In the low areas, where the wind whips across, the trees are stunted from the harsh life.
Walker leading the way.
The hillsides in early fall are so pretty to see, as it all turns scarlet red and gold.
Looking over to the other side.
As the trail wound around the ridge, the look changed.
Where upon who did we encounter but Alistaire on the trail, coming to meet us not long after we had passed the turn off to Dege Peak (which is a hike worth taking, but we were running out of steam in the little legs).
The trail was ablaze here, as we walked a flat spot on the ridge.
In the far distance we could see the parking lot awaiting us and Sunrise Lake (yet another hike worth the time and far beyond).
The last bit of trail to Sunrise Point is steep but oh so pretty. It is hard to not stop and just want to sit for hours there in that color.