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.