Wonderland Trail

On August 23, 2010, Isaac and I started on a 12 day, 100 mile backpacking trip around Mount Rainier. The backpacking trip was in memory of my oldest son, Nate, who died by suicide on July 20, 2010.  Nate secured the hiking permit and planned the route earlier in the year.  The Wonderland Trail is arduous; it’s not uncommon to have an elevation gain or loss of 3,500’ a day (23,300’ total elevation gain).  The second day into the trip, we descended down a steep grade as we approached the West Fork of the White River.  Stopping at the river to examine my feet, I discovered that I had severely injured my feet….five toenails were damaged (I purchased my boots in February and logged more than 100 miles with a 57 lb. pack).  Unable to proceed in my hiking boots, I switched over to my “camp" Chacos for the next ten days (87 miles).  Up and down rock strewn creek beds, over tree roots and snow covered slopes, across suspension bridges, through wildflower meadows, across a 6,800’ pass, through water ankle deep on the trail (2.5” of rain fell in one day as we hiked 9.3 miles) and along steep ridgeline trails, Isaac and I handled the challenges finished the Wonderland Trail.  This wilderness pathway brought us face to face with glaciers, roaring rivers, splendid flower fields, pristine lakes and gorgeous views.  Despite some horrid conditions, shared hardships and a fall or two, we persevered and had a grand adventure, one that Nate would have loved and enjoyed immensely.  Our last camp was at Summerland, a favorite of Nate’s, where he now rests peacefully amongst the wildflowers.


“The sun shines not on us, but in us.”

- John Muir