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Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
Wonderland Trail on 01/30/2012 17:37:13 MST Print View

Now that I have this in the right forum...

My wife and I are hoping to do the Wonderland Trail around Ranier this August, and after sifting through older posts in this forum, I still have many questions. Those of you with plenty of experience in MRNP (ehem... Sarah..), I would appreciate some help to make sure things go smoothly.

#1- How reliable is the system for requesting permits? As far as I can tell, you mail in your request and your money, and hope in a few months you get a positive response. I'm wondering, do they generally adjust your dates? Do many people simply get a "No"? Anything I should consider, steps I should take when mailing in the form?

#2- Any particular place that is better or worse to start out? After looking over the map, it seems like an ok plan to start at Mowich and have food drops at Longmire and White River.

#3- Campsites to try and stay at/avoid? I know my own stomping grounds (NCNP) certainly have campsites that are less than desirable, hoping to avoid those on this walk. Also, is the spray park detour worth considering?

#4- If you have done the trail before, I'd love to hear your itinerary. We plan on doing 9 or 10 days, and would like to have an example or two of what worked for a leisurely pace.

Stephen Burgess
(williswall)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Wonderland trail on 01/30/2012 18:09:49 MST Print View

I've done the WT about 25 times. It is easier to just direct you to my website than to address your concerns here. Read the material, follow the links, watch the videos and If you have further questions feel free to email me through this site or my website. Good luck!
www.williswall.com

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
excellent! on 01/30/2012 18:58:35 MST Print View

An excellent site all around, thanks!

Stephen Burgess
(williswall)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: Wonderland Trail pre planning on 01/30/2012 20:44:17 MST Print View

Thanks for visiting the site, but I'd like to make a few comments here for general consumption:

#1- How reliable is the system for requesting permits? If you peruse NWHikers.net on doing the WT, you will see that most people got what they asked for (2011) with little changes. Also, many people postponed their trip due to heavy snowpack and came later in the season, they they fared well in establishing a new itinerary. I have never had permits in advance, I just walk in the day of the trip. Granted, I don't have long itineraries but I don't think I've ever had to change my planned campsites, even in summer. The tough ones will be Summerland, Eagles Roost, Indian Bar and perhaps Berkeley Park due to their proximity to roads and reachable by a single day trip.

#2- Any particular place that is better or worse to start out? After looking over the map, it seems like an ok plan to start at Mowich and have food drops at Longmire and White River. You only have a few choices, so starting at Mowich is as good as any. That way you can avail yourself of the services at Sunrise and Longmire on your trip. I usually start at Longmire, and occasionally at Sunrise as these have major parking areas and facilities.

#3- Campsites to try and stay at/avoid? I know my own stomping grounds (NCNP) certainly have campsites that are less than desirable, hoping to avoid those on this walk. Also, is the spray park detour worth considering? First I'll say that in good weather I would do the Spray Park route...it's not really a detour and is actually listed on the NP website as the "alternate route." Great views. If it's overcast and/or rainy, then the Ipsut Pass route is probably better. Just be aware that the climb from above Ipsut Cr campground to Mystic Pass (going cw) can be a bear. Ipsut Pass also has pesky overhanging brush and hidden rocks so expect to get soaked if it's raining.
As for campsites, just be aware that the Park Service is sequestering hikers into certain areas to mitigate impact on the environment; I can't say I really like any of them. If I had to give you some possible "avoids" I'd list 1) Mystic Lake, as it is well below the lake in the forest with no views 2) Mowich Lake, this is a drive in campground with the attendant noise...stay at Eagle's Roost (1.5 miles away) if you have to overnight in this area 3) Sunrise Camp, too close to Sunrise so lots of noise from "drive-in" campers. The rest are OK. As I mentioned above, Summerland is very nice but an easy day hike so it tends to be full in the summer. The section between Longmire (cw) and Mowich will give you the most seclusion from day hikers.

#4- If you have done the trail before, I'd love to hear your itinerary. We plan on doing 9 or 10 days, and would like to have an example or two of what worked for a leisurely pace. I usually only spend 1 or 2 nights when I do this trail, but here's a link to a nwhikers thread where people were posting their itineraries for last year and should give you a good idea for longer itineraries, including side trips and rest days:
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7990551&highlight=wonderland+trail

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
thanks on 01/31/2012 08:16:14 MST Print View

Thanks Stephen, I appreciate you sharing your wealth of experience. As you mentioned on your site, this trip will be our "big summer trip" with lots of resources and vacation time at stake, so I'm sort of "over planning".

Jason Hortin
(jhortin) - M

Locale: Chicago
:) on 01/31/2012 08:20:52 MST Print View

This is good that the thread started as I'm (tentatively) planning on doing the Wonderland (solo?) this Summer in late July (when I have time off of work.)

Cheers!