Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summerland And The Bear

This past weekend we hiked the Summerland Trail, part of the Wonderland Trail that circles Mount Rainier.  And we met a bear.  We had such a fun and exciting weekend, so I thought I would share with you our adventure.

Top of Summerland Trail

We wanted to go on one last trip before the start of the school year, so we packed our things, and drove about 2 and a half hours to Mount Rainier.  It was the perfect weekend.  The weather was amazing!  We weren't the only ones who knew it though.  There were a lot of people there enjoying the scenery and the many trails Mount Rainier has to offer.   The first night we made it to the Naches Campground, then packed up and found a nice spot at the White River Campground, closer to our hike we wanted to take.  This is a big campground, but it fills up fast on the weekends.  I highly recommend it though, it is beautiful and close to some really great trails, one being the Wonderland Trail.  This trail circles the mountain, and my husband did the whole thing with his brother and friends before we ever met.  

Here are a few pictures of us at the White River Campsite.

Saturday Morning we got ready for our big hike.  We decided to do the Summerland trail, a 4.2 mile hike to a beautiful high mountain meadow.  Nathan took a backpack, and I took the baby.  Like I said, it was a perfect day, and that means there was a lot of people wanting to do the same hike.  We had to park a ways away to even get in.  Regardless, it was worth it.

Ok, I'll tell you about the bear now.  I know that's probably the most important part.  So we were maybe a half mile into the hike, when I got the idea that we should discuss what to do if we saw a bear.  "Ok kids, what do we do if we see a bear?", I said.  Now, my husbands reaction was priceless: "There is no way that's going to happen! I hiked the entire Wonderland Trail and never saw one!".  Yeah, I figured he was probably right.  This was a high traffic trail today and the bears were probably far far away from the scent of our soaps and perfumes.  But what was the harm?  So we all decided that if we saw a bear, nobody was to run off.  We needed to all huddle together and yell really loud.  That I thought would be the best bet to being safe and the kids were happy about it.  

So then I took the lead.  This was maybe 5 minutes after we had that discussion.  As I rounded the corner, I was roughly ten feet ahead of the group, and there in my face was...a black bear!  Okay, maybe not right in my face.  But that's all I saw was this shinning golden brown fur in the sunlight.  The bear was nose down, grazing in the foliage.  My first thought was, "Why did he not hear us?!!".  We were all talking the entire time, he should've at least heard us coming, if not smell us first.  

So immediately I turn around and all I could say was "Bear! Bear!" as I grabbed my kids and gathered them in a circle.  All my husband said was, "What? There's no bear.".  In my mind I was thinking, "Are you crazy!! How do you not see that?!", but what I didn't realize was that a big fat tree was blocking the view.  My husband saw that I was serious...finally, I'm sure he thought I was teasing, and took off his glasses to see better.  While I was scooting the kids back, he was walking forward.  By now the bear had moved further down the hill and was nearing the trail so they all could see him plain and clear.  In my mind, I thought he was going to walk right up to us and ask for crackers.  This bear must've been somewhat used to humans.  When he had crossed the trail in front of us, Nathan hooted really loud to get his attention.  

All the bear did was slowly look up at us, perk his ears, then return to his foraging and continued downhill, towards the river.  That's it...

Yeah, he really didn't care about us at all.  When he was almost out of view, a few more hikers caught up with us and we told them the story.  We also met some forrest rangers, who by now must have documented the sighting.  

Nathan was upset he didn't have his camera ready.  That would've been cool, but also dangerous.  I've heard stories of people following bears to get better pictures, and then getting eaten.  Better safe then sorry.  

So we kept hiking, laughing and relieved that we were all fine.  However, let me tell you, I was completely out of shape to be carrying a baby on my back, but also this hike is literally up hill the entire time.  Well...not on the way back of course...just to make that clear.  :) 

On the way Up!

Exhausted...the kids did better than me

Me, tired again.  Kids doing great.

We finally made it to the top, and it was all worth it.  The view is unbelievable.  Do this hike! You must! Next time I'm going to excursive first, then I will enjoy it more. 

There is a cute little family of marmots up there.  They make a high pitch squeal that has them all pop their heads up and do a head count or something.  Probably making sure we aren't crossing their territory. 

That little bump on the right is a marmot too.

I couldn't miss a day of my Spoonflower sketch per day challenge.  I didn't have much time but it was fun.

We drank this beautiful running water.  Best water I ever tasted. 

We tried a group selfie. :)

Another hiker was nice enough to take our picture, then it was time to head back down.  

My husband is so awesome that he carried the baby and the backpack on the way down.  I was almost dead, so thank goodness he is strong.

My son took this picture of me.  

We found this little army guy nailed to a log, so we took a picture.

Finished! And almost dead! Oh, and some kind soul saw us waiting there (Nathan was getting the car) and warned us that there was a bear in the area.  Isn't that nice? :)  He was a little shocked when we told him we were the ones that saw the bear, and we didn't seem too concerned.  

The next day, we just did a small, small hike around a little lake.  I can't remember what it was called, sorry.  It was just off the road on the way back home.

Do these pictures make you want to go to Mount Rainier?  They do for me...I want to go back now.  
Until next time!


  1. You're so cool. Your pictures are wonderful and it was a thrilling story. :) Bears are cool and scary all at once glad your encounter was brief. We'll have to come out your way and visit some day so we can see all that green up close. This is Erica, by the way. :)

    1. Erica, thank you!!! I'm glad you liked my story. :) Sometimes I feel like I am writing to myself...which isn't too bad because I never write in journals. Lol! I would love if you came to visit the northwest. We will show you around!!

  2. Wow, what a great story and wonderful memories for your family. And this is so beautiful. Definitely makes me want to come visit you guys!