Wonderland Trail Volunteer Trip

My Mt. Rainier Wonderland Trail Volunteer Trip

July 30 to August 3, 2014

I went on a 5-day trip and helped repair part of the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier. There were five volunteers plus a paid WTA crew leader and a Park Service employee. The Washington Trails Association (WTA) is a hiking advocacy group that does a lot of volunteer trail maintenance. They offer one-day and multi-day outings.

The Park Service drove us to the trailhead in this truck. (Otherwise we would have had to walk 5 miles because the road is closed to the public.)

We hiked three and a half miles up to Emerald Ridge. The trail was steep and hot, but beautiful!

Gorgeous flowers were blooming.

We camped on top of this knoll at about 6000 feet.

The west side of Mt. Rainier from our campsite.

Sunrise looking south from our camp.

Looking down from our camp to the Wonderland Trail and the Puyallup Glacier.

Our task was to repair two washed out sections of the Wonderland Trail. This is one of the washouts.

This is the other washout. It was a long way down if you slipped.

Our group of volunteers plus Jen (third from left) our WTA crew leader.

Park Service trail crew member Anna hiked two miles each way with this chain saw slung over her shoulder!

We used hand tools to cut back the bank and widen the trail. [Photo credit Joanna D.]

We had to remove some large rocks and stumps. This stump came loose with a combination of winching and foot power!

We used a pry bar and people power to move smaller rocks and push them over the edge. [Photo credit Joanna D.]

We used a winch to move larger rocks.

Getting ready to push this rock over the edge.

Using rock bars to scoot the rock closer to the edge.

A little foot power...

...and over she goes! (See the blur?) It was very fun watching the big rocks crash down the cliff and into the churning river below!

Hanging out by the stream after work each day.

After two nights up on Emerald Ridge (where there were many mosquitoes) we moved down to the South Puyallup campsite, which was shady and bug free.

This hanging pole keeps bags of food safe from bears and other critters.

Rock formations near our campsite. They are called "colonnades," or columnar andesite, and are formed from cooling lava.

The trail repairs took three and a half days. Here is a before and after picture of one of the washouts.

Before and after pictures of the other washout. [Photo credits Joanna D.]