Trip reports

Berkeley Park overnight

We’ve got a big backpacking trip coming up in a few weeks, one that’s been on my list for a few years. Here’s the thing, though: I haven’t done much backpacking recently. In fact, other than a memorable trip to see ancient cedars at Ross Lake in the North Cascades last September, I haven’t backpacked in years.

Last May, anticipating the upcoming trip on Mount Rainier’s 35-mile Northern Loop, Mr. Adventure and I headed to the REI anniversary sale and got new backpacks. His had disintegrated after multiple mountaineering trips, and mine was manufactured before women-specific packs were a thing. The new packs felt good, but would they work for some of the most remote backcountry in Mount Rainier National Park? There was only one way to find out — a test run. Amazingly, we nabbed a last-minute overnight permit for Berkeley Park. At 3.5 miles from the mountain’s Sunrise Visitor Center, it would give us a sense of how our gear worked and provide a preview of the Northern Loop. We planned to hike to Berkeley Park Camp and set up, then hike another 2.5 miles to Grand Park the next morning before hiking out.

These photos give you an idea of this trip’s beauty. The packs felt great, and the gear worked fine. We saw marmots, mountain goats, and bears (oh my!), and we are stoked for our Northern Loop adventure with our friends Analog Girl and The Geographer next month.

A late afternoon start meant shadows chased us into Berkeley Park.
A late afternoon start meant shadows chased us into Berkeley Park. (Mr. Adventure photo)

 

Marmots, marmots everywhere! I stopped to take a photo and turned around to find this guy staring at me.
Marmots, marmots everywhere! I stopped to take a photo and turned around to find this guy staring at me. (Lauren Danner photo)
A marmot checks out upper Berkeley Park as daylight starts to fade.
Another marmot checks out upper Berkeley Park as daylight starts to fade. (Mr. Adventure photo)
Forest fire smoke and haze obscured the horizon, but Mt. Baker was visible the following morning.
Forest fire smoke and haze obscured the horizon, but the next morning we spotted Mt. Baker. (Mr. Adventure photo)
Lodi Creek tumbles through Berkeley Park, providing background music for hikers.
Lodi Creek tumbles through Berkeley Park, providing background music for hikers. (Lauren Danner photo)
About midway through Berkeley Park, looking back at Burroughs Mountain.
About midway through Berkeley Park, looking back at Burroughs Mountain. (Lauren Danner photo)
Pasqueflower seedheads recall Dr. Seuss and provide late-summer interest when most wildflowers are done.
Pasqueflower seedheads recall Dr. Seuss and provide late-summer interest when most wildflowers are done. (Lauren Danner photo)
On the trail between Berkeley and Grand parks.
On the trail between Berkeley and Grand parks. (Lauren Danner photo)
Aptly named Grand Park. Most of the flowers are gone, but the changing season washes the meadow gold.
Aptly named Grand Park. Most of the flowers are gone, but the changing season washes the meadow gold. (Lauren Danner photo)
Someday we'll have a better camera for backcountry surprises like this mama bear and cub feeding on a ridge above the trail. For now, though, we're stuck with pixellated blur.
Someday we’ll have a better camera for backcountry surprises like this mama bear and cub feeding on a ridge above the trail. For now, though, we’re stuck with pixellated blur. The Geographer has a real camera and we hope he brings it on the Northern Loop trip. (Mr. Adventure photo)
Lenticular clouds forming over the summit. See you in a few weeks, Mount Rainier!
Lenticular clouds forming over the summit. See you in a few weeks, Mount Rainier! (Lauren Danner photo)

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10 thoughts on “Berkeley Park overnight

    1. Tell The Geographer to bring the good camera! We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to charge our iPhones on the trail so we can take pictures the whole time.

    1. I realized when I read your post about Palisade Lakes that we had hiked that almost exactly one year earlier. There are just so many trails on our mountain…thank goodness!

    1. Aren’t they adorable? They’re clearly used to human interlopers, because a couple of them seemed downright indifferent to us walking by. Thanks for your comment!

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