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Wonderland Tr Umbrella Freindly
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Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Wonderland Tr Umbrella Freindly on 11/19/2009 12:54:15 MST Print View

Hello,
my wife and I are planning a trip to do the Wonderland next year. I am pretty sure the weather out there will be very similar to what we have here in New England, mild and wet. Is the route umbrella freindly, or are there high windy passes? Reason I ask is I would love to leave the rain coat at home in favor of my umbrella/windshirt combo. Thanks

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
Re: Wonderland Tr Umbrella Friendly on 11/19/2009 13:56:13 MST Print View

Johnathan,
I'd say probably not. While WA has a fairly mild climate, Mt. Ranier generates its own weather and you can count on wind and sometimes snow at higher elevations most months of the year. Maybe if you went in mid August, but it can be pretty crappy, often unexpectedly.

I personally have never done the Wonderland Trail, but I have spent time in MRNP. Maybe someone can give you more specific answers about passes and the like. It seems like the prime place to use an umberella in WA is in the rainforests of the Olympics.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Wonderland Tr Umbrella Freindly on 11/19/2009 15:21:38 MST Print View

I used an umbrella on one WT hike and not for rain, rather for the never ending SUN!

Western Washington weather is tricky - while down low near the open water it is usually mild, in July and August we do get warm weather, more so in the mountains. In August one should expect mid 70's to even 100+ days. Add in altitude and that sun gets hot. As well, Mid July through mid September is when you least see rain. It doesn't rain often in August, though if it does it dumps! This past summer we had a week of miserable 100+ days and in the mountains it was stagnant. Yech!

On rain gear: when it does rain in summer it is often very cold and bitter. Rain pants or skirt will be appreciated if up high. The passes are not the issue on the WT (up and over them quickly), rather the long traverses up and down said passes, where the winds howl in storms. Down low in the forests you would have to deal with soggy trees and greenery soaking you.

What you also face is bugs if you come before mid August, so do be prepared.

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
Umbrella and the WT on 11/19/2009 18:14:09 MST Print View

Am umbrella would be handy but I wouldn't leave the rain gear at home. This last summer on my WT thru-hike I had 100+ degree days at the end of July and beginning of August and only one day of rain near Reflection Lake but it was torrential and windy. The weather can change quickly but the umbrella could come in handy to provide some needed shade on some of the climbs and allow you to use lighter weight rain gear.

Next time I go I'm leaving the tent at home and bringing a good tarp with a bug shelter. There was only one day I even zipped up my 40 degree bag.

It is an awesome trip, have a great hike.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Wonderland Tr Umbrella Freindly on 11/20/2009 05:58:24 MST Print View

great feedback, thanks guys. Have any of you felt any altitide affects along the trail. I did not think any point was above 7000 feet. Last summer my wife and I felt it pretty bad on the JMT (above 8000 feet) so just curious.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Wonderland Tr Umbrella Freindly on 11/20/2009 09:50:58 MST Print View

Depending on side trips you can cross 7K easily (such as Fremont Lookout and Burroughs Mts.) but usually you wouldn't go above 7400 ft.

Now though, if a storm is brewing and you get dehydrated you could get queasy and get a mild to medium altitude headache. So stay hydrated and eat easy to digest carbs!

The good thing is if you do get bothered, just keep walking and within an hour or two in most cases you will be heading back down hill :-)

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Wonderland Tr Umbrella Freindly on 11/23/2009 20:05:18 MST Print View

I don't know about the Wonderland trail, but I hiked the Washington section of the PCT during August this year. It rained a lot (a lot to me.) Sometimes it was really cold like winter (for me), like 40 degrees and wet.

My umbrella was almost useless in the rain. It seems that rain in Washington falls not so much from the sky as from everywhere. It comes off the plants that encroach on the trail.

I had no rain gear except for rain chaps, the umbrella and some plastic bags. The plastic bags didn't work. Too much condensation. The chaps got so wet I couldn't tell the difference between how that feels and how it feels to just be soaking wet. The umbrella was no use with wet plants slapping me in the face.

The only time the umbrella helped was when setting up my tent. I could set it up to keep my backpack dry while I was putting up my tent. And I suppose it felt good to have the top of my head stay dry.

I hated the rain, but I did have to admit to myself in my feeble attempt to keep my spirits up that I did stay warm enough and slept dry enough and that I wasn't going to die. But a rain jacket with hood might have been better than an umbrella.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
WT altitude on 11/23/2009 21:27:55 MST Print View

I live in WA state near sea level (about 300+ feet elevation), and felt no elevation effects in hiking the WT a few years ago, I wouldn't worry about that.

Raingear: I think if you're already an umbrella fan, you'll find places where your bumbershoot will work fine for you, but maybe others that won't. In particular, the trail seems to have few level spots, one is always hiking up to a pass or down to cross a creek, and it's not always a gentle grade. Perhaps that would impact your use of an umbrella?
I personally like a poncho for WA rain, but there will never be consensus on what constitutes optimal rain gear!