Around Mt Rainier

Day 11 – 7/17/16
Before Scott Pass
Miles – 22.0
Total Miles – 190.7 (PCT 2330.3)
Last night was the warmest night yet. Everyone slept very soundly and did not get up till 6:30.  We were on the trail by 7:30. The sky was mostly blue with a few puffy grey clouds.  First thing this morning was a 800′ climb around a lake and up onto a ridge. The vistas and craggy peaks were beautiful.  The blue sky was quickly disappearing and being replaced with dark thunder heads. We contoured along and we were approached Dewey Lake when we stopped to pump water. This can take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. As we were filtering the water, we heard the first booms of thunder. There were two thunder heads around us, one to the north and the other to the south. Little Crow does not like thunder one bit and she was not enjoying it. She would hide her head inside Papa Raven’s jacket. She is convinced that we are going to be struck by the lightning. Bling tenderly tried to comfort her. After about 15 minutes of loud thunder, it started to rain big, fat, drops, then the hail started. We sat under a thicket of trees with our umbrellas overhead. We waited through the worst of the storm as we filled bottle after bottle of water.  Finally, when we had filled all the bottles, we hiked out. After crossing a small ridge, we hiked down to Dewey Lake then around it and on to the eastern entrance to Mt Rainier National Park. There is a large wooden bridge over the road and we stopped for pictures. The trail from there is a long gentil climb up to Sheep Lake. This is the second Sheep Lake on this trip. By this time, the rain had stopped and we pushed on. We climbed up to another ridge and hiked from gap to gap and pass to pass. The weather report says that there will be larger thunderstorms that will last most of the day tomorrow thus we wanted to cross the high exposed rides before the thunder comes tomorrow. We almost made it, Scott Pass is the last one before we drop back down. It was a long day. Right at the end of the day, Mama Raven and Bling saw a large herd of elk that ran off as soon as they spotted them.  In the evening, the sky cleared up high where we where, although below us the peaks and valleys were socked in with clouds. The low clouds looked like they went on forever with an occasional mountain peak, rising above the clouds. It was extraordinarily beautiful and ethereal.
We got into camp after the sun had set and it is getting very cold now.

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