My first hike was at Camp Waskowitz in fifth grade. I was terrified my asthmatic lungs were going to slow me down, but although I wasn’t the fastest hiker, I made it! It would be another five years though before I would attempt another hike, this time Steamboat Rock. I was a teenager and probably felt like it would be no problem, but for a moderate hike it was intense for me. I slid numerous times, thought my lungs were going to explode, was way too hot, but when I saw the view from the top it was worth it.
I’ve done a few easy to moderate hikes since then: Silver Falls State Park and Opal Creek Wilderness in Oregon, and just finished my first visit to Mount Rainer and hiked to Paradise. Below are a few books that highlight the places I’ve been, the places I will soon go, and I encourage you all to go take a hike!
Steamboat Rock: In the Eastern Washington heat always bring plenty of water and sunscreen! From the campground we started out on Dune Loop. We had a bit of loose gravel to contend with on the trail up to the rock’s plateau, but luckily the steep path wasn’t very long. Once at the top we took in the grand view, took a ton of pictures, and had a picnic lunch before heading back down to camp.
Silver Falls State Park: Waterfalls are my favorite and this hike offers plenty! What’s great about this park is that you can make the hike as long or a short as you like since there are bypasses in between the larger loop. I always start at South Falls and work my way west. If you want a place to cool off I recommend taking a short side trail to Double Falls, stand under the waterfall there; it’s refreshing, but not harsh.
Opal Creek Wilderness: We set out on the trailhead and along the way saw an old mine and Merten Mill, at the mill we ventured behind on a side trail to see Cascada de los Ninos (Waterfall of the Children) a 30-foot waterfall. Instead of heading to Jawbone Flats this trip we took a bypass on Kopetski loop that winds for about a mile before getting to Opal Pool. At Opal Pool we enjoyed the natural water slide in the rock and a dip in the deep pools surrounding us.
Day Hike! Mount Rainier by Ron C. Judd
Paradise at Mount Rainier: Parking was a bit packed at the visitor center so we parked a short distance away at the Fourth Crossing Trailhead. The Fourth Crossing Trail was an absolutely beautiful trail beside the Paradise River where small waterfalls were aplenty. Once we arrived to the top the trail it intersected with the Skyline Trail and we headed left to Paradise to take in views of the wildflowers and a view of Glacier Vista from the top. Its beauty can’t be beat!