Wonderland Trail: West 57 miles

just a ridiculous flower showWhat better way to really do a conditions report on the Wonderland Trail than actually hiking the better portion of it? My June 9/10 clockwise hike from Longmire to Sunrise can be summed up thusly: for snow and general conditions, it's like August. For trail maintenance, it's like June (iow, nada). This is probably the only time I would consider hiking the Wonderland a "wilderness experience" due to the fact that one of the major access points is not open until June 19 (Mowich Lake road) and both crossings over the Mowich Rivers are out. Throw in blowdown and a few eradicated sections of trail, schwacking and log crossing the Mowich rivers, and negotiating some snow at Skyscraper Pass, and the traditional backpackers that come to hike the Wonderland from all over might be discouraged at the moment. Every park I transited above 5000 feet was bursting at the seams with a riot of flowers. Unfortunately, those hiking the trail during the more "normal" season starting in July will probably not enjoy the spectacle I witnessed, but at least the trail crews should have fixed the problems I've mentioned. One thing's for sure, Wonderland hikers coming this summer will enjoy a snow free trail.

This link to a trip report I posted on NWHikers provides some details about the trip, including the difficulties enocountered, along with myriad photos. The photo album can also be viewed on the Willis Wall facebook page. The following video will give the reader a good idea of the August like conditions I experienced and perhaps an incentive for people with a date for the trail.