Paul’s Peak Trail

The supposed trail-head. Terribly inconspicuous. Seems legit.

The highlight of the hike. Mt. Rainier in the background.

Just look at those condyles!

 

The Devil’s greatest trick was telling the world that Paul’s Peak Trail led to a peak.

For the purposes of this vacation catalogue, my fellow adventurers were Brokeback Buck and Clyde. Your’s truly is Bo, Bo Jangles.

After a travel fiasco that will be detailed at a later date. The hikes of May 23rd were appropriately ill informed. In the set up for the trip we had picked out three primary hikes that our group of three wished to partake in: Greenwater and Echo Lakes, Granite Mountain, and Mount Pilchuck. Paul’s was really just a filler to allow us to say that we went to Rainier National Park. On the Washington Trail’s Association (WTA) website we saw that it had an elevation gain of 900 ft, high point of 3,700 and was 6.2 miles round trip. Easy money. Then we were to go to Echo straight from there.

After leaving the house at 5:30 a.m. or so (on about four hours of sleep) and after your boy driving for several hours and bottoming out numerous times over a gnarly dirt road, we reached the trail head. Or at least we thought we had. We did find a trail, of this we were certain. I did find it odd that there was no signage for a trail in a national park. I also found it odd that my GPS on Google Maps was showing that we weren’t exactly at the trail head . In retrospect, I should have found it odd that the beginning was a relentless stretch up when we had checked the trail elevation chart an hour before and knew it started with a relentless drop down. I’ll chalk it up to delirium and exuberance…
The trail we did was Evan’s Creek Trail. I only found this trail on the All Trail’s app. It was a lovely hike and a nice introduction to the forests of Washington. It took me over 2.5 miles of hiking to pull out my phone and see that we weren’t even close to ol’ Paul’s Trail. This was pretty bad news for our less fit partner, Brokeback Buck.

We made it back to the car probably by 9. Puttered around a bend no more than a quarter mile and found a trail head befitting of a national park, toilet included. We began our descent in earnest. Quickly we realized that one of the hiking poles had lost its functionality. The string of bad luck continued. We carried on over some pleasant creek crossing and went through a pretty ridiculous amount of switchbacks. Once again, around the 2 miles mark we started to realize that we done goofed. The elevation chart showed round trip. Since this was an out and back, the halfway point was literally the lowest point on the entire trail. PAUL’S PEAK TRAIL DOES NOT LEAD TO A PEAK! How in the land of rhododendron does this happen? One in our crew began his soul-crushing journey back while we headed down the rest of the way. Might as well finish it, right? Finish it we did. It’s legit just a junction to some other trails, I think if we traveled another .5 we would have hit a river. Phenomenal.
While we took a drink, took a leak and aired out our nether regions, I spotted what looked to be some bones. I shouted over to Clyde that I spotted what looked to be ribs. After pulling up our trousers we investigated and ended up finding a whole skeleton of what we presumed to be an elk. We hauled way more of this creature the three miles back than I am comfortable saying in public…Needless to say, the three mile trek all uphill wasn’t so easy. Even so, we caught up to Buck and had enough time to prepare the car for the bones.

The original plan to make the two hour drive to Echo Lake and do another 12-ish miles seemed pretty out of reach at that point so we went to Panda express and recouped back in Seattle. Hell of a first day.

If I cared more I’d put the photos in appropriate sections in the write up. Next time. Maybe.

 

Ramble on,

Sam

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