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A walk in the park

Posted by joeabbott on August 3, 2015

My sister and her family, along with my mother, are out visiting from Minnesota. While we’ve done the tourist activities many times, it’s always fun to share these places as “new” experiences as we live vicariously through someone else’s eyes. However, they suggested something novel in that we plan a little hike! I’ve yet to hear a more lovely offer.

We’d looked over the options and two stuck out: an old favorite of mine, Mt. Pilchuck, or a new experience, Skyscraper Peak in the Mt. Rainier National Park. After a little back and forth, Skyscraper won out and we decided that while Suzy and my mother attended a class on making marshmallows, Dana, Neil, Ben, and I would head for a day of hiking. In 90°+ heat. In Mt. Rainier National Park. We all had a fantastic time but this is a write up on the hike.

The route

While it felt like I could have called this section The rout … for the beating it gave me, I’ll stick to a description of our path. We started at Sunrise Visitor Center and left about quarter to 10AM.

We weren’t in a hurry but had a single goal in mind, reaching Skyscraper Mt. summit. Lots of other hikers dotted the trail between the Visitor Center and Frozen Lake, but thereafter we were largely by ourselves. At Frozen Lake (not well named at all given the heat of the day), we split off and somehow avoided any wrong turns and ended up at Skyscraper Pass. Without much of a rest, we trundled weary legs the 600’ or so from that low point to the top. And there we rested.


After a short break where we nibbled on various snacks … jerky, sesame sticks, and some shortbread cookies … we headed down again and made our way to Frozen Lake. Again, an all-too-brief respite interrupted our hiking and we made our way to Burroughs Point.

At the Point, one has a choice of heading another 200’ to Burroughs Mountain proper and viewing Mt. Rainier from the splendor of that lofty place, or heading back to the Visitors’ Center. We consulted our water supply, considered our level of fatigue, and decided that Dana and Neil would take the saner path and head back to Sunrise, while Ben and I continued up the trail. It will go with and without saying that Ben beat me to the top, but only by 30 seconds or so … and only on that slim margin because he didn’t realize I was paying attention to that sort of thing.

At the top we snapped a few shots, drank a bit more, and then started down. By the time we made it back to Burroughs Point (the place were the trail forks to either Frozen Lake or Sunrise), we had spent about 45 minutes and, after another short break, we marched down to the Visitor Center.

The profile

The trail would have rated a “modest” were I in my former shape but, as this was the first hike of the year for me, I was not in my former shape; and this really whooped up on me. My nephew Ben is a rising track star … or, as the only freshman on the varsity team, perhaps his star has risen. Either way, he easily trekked the path and came out looking much the same as when we went in. Me … well, it’s telling that I pulled the waitress aside at the restaurant we stopped at on the way home and said, “these people here … they tried to kill me.” Yup, the trail was tough on your buddy Joe.

Let’s take a look at how tough.

For some odd reason, my GPS split the trail in two parts: the first running from Sunrise to Skyscraper Mt and back to Frozen Lake; and the second leg running from Frozen Lake to Burroughs Mt. and back to Sunrise. Odd, but here are the graphs:



All told, about 11 miles on the trail and a goodly amount of up-and-down. Enough that Dana and Neil were feeling it … and even Ben mentioned feeling it in his back the next morning.

The Pics

Here are just a few shots from our day on the mountain!



A simple hike, a gorgeous day, and lots of fun. I have to say that Seattle summers are simply the best … and made even better when sharing a trail with family! Thanks for dropping in.


One Response to “A walk in the park”

  1. francesjoanabbott said

    Thanks for the fine write-up, maps and photos, which were really wonderful. (but next time have someone take a photo of YOU!) I’m sure you made the Vanderbosch’s climb very memorable for them. Thanks for being you.
    Your Momma

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