A sleeping giant rises majestically to 14,410 feet. The world’s most dangerous volcano looms over the playground of my former elementary school in Graham, Washington. Mount Rainier – she is as deadly as she is beautiful; as welcoming as she is cold. A powerful being like no other and I grew up in her shadow, less than 30 miles away as the crow flies.
As a kid, my family would venture to the mountain for picnics. On one of these excursions into Mount Rainier National Park I learned of the Wonderland Trail – a 93 mile trail that encircles the mountain. For years, the Wonderland Trail spoke to me in my dreams. She called to me to challenge her rugged terrain. She taunted me with her milky glacier-fed streams and reflecting alpine lakes. This was a trail that one day I knew I would hike in its entirety.
Just shy of my 31st birthday, those wild dreams of walking through her ancient forests, meandering through her intoxicating subalpine meadows and standing at the terminus of her magnificent glaciers became reality.