M The Wonderland Trail
by Ethan Kanning
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A late September sun moved westward as we climbed out of Granite Creek and up another long and harrowing single track trail. After forty plus miles of hiking and thousands of feet of climbing over the previous two days, my quads were battered and my knees were filled with searing pain. Although we had caught brief glimpses of the South and East faces, the North face of Mt. Rainier was just around the corner. As we slowly moved towards the high point of the ridge, we were greeted by a herd of mountain goats running effortlessly on the ridges with views towards Skyscraper Peak. Upon cresting the ridge, I looked to my left and saw Mt. Baker to the north and then turned to my right and saw a sight that brought tears to my eyes. The north face of Mt. Rainier, shimmering and glistening in the sun, simply overwhelmed me. The mountain is so wide and imposing that you can't fully take it in without using your peripheral vision and I stood in awe, completely speechless. After brushing the tears from my eyes, I hugged my hiking partner and stood back to take in the glorious sight before us. At that moment I realized I was standing in one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest and even the world, and this place was in my backyard.
- The Trail
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