Here's the trip report for day 1:
Find the map for the Wonderland Trail here.
We camped in Mt. Rainier Park, near Longmire, the night before where I got organized for the run. I was planning on going really light each day because of the abundance of water along the route and the excellent weather. When I was done packing I had 2 water bottles, one fanny pack, one long sleeve shirt, headlamp, watch, 6 shot bloks, 10 Gu's, 6 Nuun electrolyte tabs, 4 cliff bars, 2 small egg, beans, avacado and cheese burritos, a few water purifier tabs, camera and map. Super light for going 47+ miles a day but I wanted to be as light as possible to move my little butt and I really like the idea of the bare minimum. Way more exciting!
Oh yeah, I also had this thing called a "Spot." The Spot allowed me to let Susan and my brother Josh know if I was in trouble. I could send them my GPS coordinates so that I could get rescued if I was in really bad shape or got really injured.
This run is way out there and remote. At certain points on the trail I could be 15-20 miles from the nearest access point by road.
I started moving on the trail at 5:30 am, right at dawn.
All was well as I dropped down to Stevens Creek and then slowly climbed back up to Reflection Lakes, all the while remembering to try and keep a slow and steady pace. Moving too fast at this point in the game could lead to some serious pain at the end (not like I'm going to feel all that good anyway!) or not finishing (not an option!).
I guess, somewhere just before Reflection Lakes, I spooked an elk that was in the brush above me. The elk ran up the hill and onto the road that my parents were driving on to meet me at Reflection Lakes. I wish I would have been able to see the elk but at least I gave my parents a show! That will be $5 please.
(Popping out on the road, just past Reflection Lakes)
I took a little massage break here because my right butt muscle was having a hard time warming up. It was big time tight, and thankfully, my dad worked it out with a little thumb to butt cheek action! I really didn't have trouble with it again the rest of the two days. Good thing, it was way to early to be having issues at just over 10 miles.
Things went smoothly for me through Longmire (although I heard the crazy news there that someone had moments earlier driven their car off the side of the road along one of the steeper sections of the highway near Longmire. That's a whole other story.) and I got my first really big climb leading up to Indian Henry's. Now I was really warmed up!
When I got to Indian Henry's, it was spectacular. Flowers were everywhere and the views were outstanding...the only problem was the bugs! Oh my god, the bugs were way bad there. I really wanted to stop and absorb the view but I got the super swarm every time I stopped. It was nasty! I just had to get out of there and down to Tahoma Creek where there would be less bugs.
(Suspension bridge over Tahoma Creek. I wouldn't advise trying to run across this bridge!)
I got my first bits of fatigue on the climb up to Emerald Ridge. The big reason I was having some trouble was because of water. I missed a crucial fill up spot before the suspension bridge and I ended up drinking all my water before I got to Emerald Ridge. It was really hot in this section and it would have been a really good idea to fill up with water before hand. Oh well...I just had to deal with it. The awesome views on Emerald Ridge helped me forget about the lack of water. It was fantastic up there! No bugs because of a nice breeze and plenty to look at. A shame to not stay a while but I had to keep moving. No choice.
I only had to travel downhill for a couple miles before I found another good creek and topped off my water bottles. Yippy.
After dropping down to the S. Puyallup River I made another big climb up to Klapatche Park and I was rewarded with more impressive views and amazing meadows. In my opinion, the lakes make Klapatche Park so wonderful. My favorite lake being St. Andrews Lake. It would be an excellent place to camp!
(St. Andrews Lake)
The next section was one of my favorites of the run and one of the worst. After dropping in and out of the N. Puyallup River drainage I was rewarded with a nice burst of energy and flat to downhill trail for almost 10 miles. I felt great through this section, floating along on a perfect trail and generally feeling great despite the 30+ miles I had already logged that day and around 10,000 feet of elevation gain and loss so far. I was experiencing an extreme runners high that I could only get from this kind of extreme effort. It was one of those moments that don't last forever...
It all came to a crashing halt near the S. Mowich River. I started bonking a bit and bliss turned into dizzy with tingly arms and staggering down the last bit of trail to the river. I needed food and water (I was out of water for the last couple miles).
I decided to slam a couple gu's and some shot bloks and then I picked up some silty water at the S. Mowich River and drank some of that.
Silty water. too much sugar to fast, stomach all messed up...I wasn't sure what the reason was but I started to feel like I was going to throw up. Great. I was super nauseous for the next hour. I didn't throw up but I sure thought I was going to a couple times. That was definitely a tough couple of miles.
(Mowich River crossing. This is what a typical river crossing was like every time I dropped into a mountain valley.)
Luckily, I started to feel better during the last few miles of uphill to Mowich Lake (my end point for day one and camp for the night). I was able to get some better water, part way up the hill, which helped and I was able to eat a cliff bar which ended up settling my stomach.
When I got to Mowich Lake, saw my parents and heard their yells of encouragement, I felt almost every emotion I know. I had waves of extreme happiness, fear, worry, calm, relaxation, excitement but I mostly felt haggard and ready for bed.
I finished at 7:30 pm, about 47 miles and 13 hours from when I started at Box Canyon.
One day down and one to go...who's idea was this anyway!
(The last few steps to Mowich Lake. Whew!)
Special Thanks to my parents for some serious driving, hiking, prepping, stressing and encouraging. Without their effor I couldn't have completed this adventure.
(My father, Dick Henrie)
(My mother, Kim Henrie)
Check back for day two and the completion of the Wonderland Trail in two days.