Monday, April 20, 2009

Mazama Ridge/Reflection Lake Loop 4/19/2009

The South side of Mt. Rainier offers such a great winter playground and despite the longer drive it’s a very worthwhile destination. Once again the forecast lured us down there with a promise of a sunny day and spectacular views.

Driving into Paradise was completely different experience from the previous weekend when during our Camp Muir ascend the area swallowed us in a thick never-ending fog completely blocking any possible views in all directions. The weather today was delivered just as promised and except for few very cool looking lenticular clouds, the sky was blue and all mountains were out in their full beauty.

This time we headed towards Mazama Ridge. The trail started nearly flat letting us enjoy the views of Mt. Rainier but the easy part did not last long. Soon we found ourselves climbing our first hill…. and even small hills took some sweat on this hot day. Our effort got rewarded with really good views of Tatoosh Range and other major peaks sitting in distance.

Another hill - steeper and longer – took us atop Mazama Ridge. We followed the ridge for a while; soaking the views and enjoying the nice day; then dropped to Reflection Lake for a lunch break before completing the loop following Paradise Valley Road.

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