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  1. #1

    Default Wonderland Trail

    So, I got my book in the other day, Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail by Bette Filley and it has gotten my wheels turning. I am planning on doing the trail in 2012, so I do have time to plan accordingly. Anyway, I have made a post about the book along with a gear list for the trip. Right now I am looking at about a 16.5 pound base weight. I know that there are places I could lighten up a little, but at this point what I have on the list is what I am comfortable with. Of course there is some still a few things I need to purchase too though...

    Anyway, if you want to check it out and feel free to leave suggestions check it out here:

    http://stick13.wordpress.com/2010/11...derland-trail/

  2. #2

    Default Wonderland Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by STICK View Post
    So, I got my book in the other day, Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail by Bette Filley and it has gotten my wheels turning. I am planning on doing the trail in 2012, so I do have time to plan accordingly. Anyway, I have made a post about the book along with a gear list for the trip. Right now I am looking at about a 16.5 pound base weight. I know that there are places I could lighten up a little, but at this point what I have on the list is what I am comfortable with. Of course there is some still a few things I need to purchase too though...

    Anyway, if you want to check it out and feel free to leave suggestions check it out here:

    http://stick13.wordpress.com/2010/11...derland-trail/
    I quickly reviewed your list. It looks good, but these would be my comments:

    I see that you have a water proof jacket, but am not sure you have enough rain protection. My worst experience on the Wonderland Trail was three days in which it didn't stop raining for even a minute. Satisfy yourself that you are prepared for a lot of rain.

    I would also suggest that you consider some yak traks or something similar to provide traction on the snow fields. A lot of people make it fine without them, but I find they are worth the extra weight. You will always have some snow fields to cross around Panhandle Gap.

    I may have missed it on your list, but be sure to include some deet. At times, the bugs can be a problem. There have been several times that I was thankful I included a bug net for my face.

    The map you have selected is more than you really need. I use only the bottom part that shows the distance between camp sites and the elevations. The Wonderland Trail is well marked.

    When you are selecting your camp sites, be sure to include Indian Bar and Kaplatche Park. They are my favorites. Be sure to avoid Mowich Lake Camp (it is also a drive-in camp and is crowed with car campers) and Devil's Dream (bug heaven). Recently, I was discussing my opinions about camp sites with one of the rangers. He said, "We assign Devil's Dream to campers we don't like."
    Last edited by Shutterbug; 11-27-2010 at 19:48.
    Shutterbug

  3. #3

    Default Map

    Quote Originally Posted by STICK View Post
    So, I got my book in the other day, Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail by Bette Filley and it has gotten my wheels turning. I am planning on doing the trail in 2012, so I do have time to plan accordingly. Anyway, I have made a post about the book along with a gear list for the trip. Right now I am looking at about a 16.5 pound base weight. I know that there are places I could lighten up a little, but at this point what I have on the list is what I am comfortable with. Of course there is some still a few things I need to purchase too though...

    Anyway, if you want to check it out and feel free to leave suggestions check it out here:

    http://stick13.wordpress.com/2010/11...derland-trail/
    This is the map I use to hike the Wonderland Trail. It provides all the information I need.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Shutterbug

  4. #4

    Default

    Shutterbug, thanks for the quick response.

    I am still at a toss up for "rain pants" but I did think about that. I have some but am not real fond of them. I have wanted a pair of the Marmot Precip Full Zip rain pants. I like the idea of a poncho covering my pack though, just not fond of wearing a poncho... This is definitely an area that I will need to fine tune. Thanks for pointing it out.

    I also have some of the Yak Trax Pros. They seem ok for what they are but nor much else. I have actually been debating the new Yak Trax Xtremes, or even the microspikes. However, on this I wasn't sure about the amount of snow or ice I would encounter. I have read that there are some"permanent snow/ice fields" but not sure what to make of them.

    I actually did not include deet. I also read about the ticks. Concerning this I would wash my clothes in the permethrin washes prior to leaving. This has worked great here in the Southeast. Of course I carried some Jungle juice, but never needed it. I have always liked the idea of a bug net for my face though, and they can be pretty light weight. But, what do you think about the OR Bug Bucket hat?

    Thanks again. Oh and I checked out some of your pictures of Mt Rainier and the WT from another post. Nice. Thanks for posting those.

    And, thanks for the map profile!

  5. #5

    Default Responses

    Quote Originally Posted by STICK View Post
    Shutterbug, thanks for the quick response.

    I am still at a toss up for "rain pants" but I did think about that. I have some but am not real fond of them. I have wanted a pair of the Marmot Precip Full Zip rain pants. I like the idea of a poncho covering my pack though, just not fond of wearing a poncho... This is definitely an area that I will need to fine tune. Thanks for pointing it out.

    I also have some of the Yak Trax Pros. They seem ok for what they are but nor much else. I have actually been debating the new Yak Trax Xtremes, or even the microspikes. However, on this I wasn't sure about the amount of snow or ice I would encounter. I have read that there are some"permanent snow/ice fields" but not sure what to make of them.

    I actually did not include deet. I also read about the ticks. Concerning this I would wash my clothes in the permethrin washes prior to leaving. This has worked great here in the Southeast. Of course I carried some Jungle juice, but never needed it. I have always liked the idea of a bug net for my face though, and they can be pretty light weight. But, what do you think about the OR Bug Bucket hat?

    Thanks again. Oh and I checked out some of your pictures of Mt Rainier and the WT from another post. Nice. Thanks for posting those.

    And, thanks for the map profile!
    Personally, I perfer a poncho for rain protection because it covers me and my pack. I agree with you about the rain pants.

    I think the Bug Bucket hat is over-kill. Depending on the time of year, there are two kinds of bug problems. Early in the hiking season misquitoes can be really bad on the west side.

    Later in the season the problem is small flies, mostly on the south side. Deet discourages the bugs, but doesn't completely deter them.

    Again, the degree of snow fields depends on the time of year. In June there are extensive snow fields on both the east side and west side. By September, only the snow fields around Panhandle Gap remain. Some years snow remains all year around Kaplatchie Park if you take the Spray Park alternate, snow will remain in Spray Park.
    Shutterbug

  6. #6
    Garlic
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    If you already have The One shelter, be sure you're good with it in heavy rain before heading out on a trail. I personally don't like spinnaker fabric and have never used it in a shelter. A friend tried it and said it didn't work nearly as well as silnylon.

    As far as weather goes, I avoided rain all together by being flexible and getting a walk-in permit when the forecast looked good. I was living in Portland at the time so it was easy to do. If you're planning on spending extra time in the NW when you hike the trail, that might be an option. I found a dry weather window in September with no rain, no bugs, the berries were still good, and I got my first choice in campsites every night, including Indian Bar, as a walk-in. It was one of the best hikes I've ever done: http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=290074

    Your final list will depend on the month you hike, like if it's bug season or not. If you can find one of those great weeks of excellent weather, you can go lighter on the rain gear. I don't think you'll find better water anywhere on Earth and it didn't seem right putting chemicals in it, so I left the AquaMira at home. Shutterbug's right, you don't need anything more than the paper map the park gives you on the way in and that profile.

    It's an excellent trail. Have fun.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  7. #7

    Default

    As for time I think I am going to try sometime from beginning of August to the end of September.

  8. #8

    Default Best time to hike the Wonderland Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by STICK View Post
    As for time I think I am going to try sometime from beginning of August to the end of September.
    It is my experience that September is usaully the very best time to hike the Wonderland Trail; however, I hiked it in August this year and had no rain until the last day. People who hiked it the next week had rain every day.

    My experience --
    Prior to June 15 -- It is possible to hike the Wonderland Trail prior to June 15, but it is unlikely that all the bridges will be in and there will still be snow fields.

    June 15 -- July 15 -- The bridges will be in, but the trail will still be muddy. The wild flowers will be blooming at the lower elevations. The mosquitoes are at their worst on the west side from Devil's Dream to Mowich River Camp. I hiked it one year at the end of June and swore "never again."

    July 15 -- Aug 15 -- Anytime after July 15 is good. The wild flowers are at their peak around Aug 15, The mosquitoes are mostly gone except for the Devil's Dream and Indian Henry's Hunting Ground.

    Aug 15 -- Sept 30 -- The prime time. The wild flowers are at their peak. This is the dry time of the year. The mosquitoes have died out so the only bug problem is small black flies.

    Sept. 30 -- Oct. 31 -- Late, but ok. In October, the nights are cold and rain begins to return to the Cascades. Snow returns to the higher elevations, so if one chooses to hike in October, he or she needs to be prepared for a sudden winter storm. It isn't unusual for bridges to wash out before the end of October. I was there on the first of Novermber this year and the lakes had already frozen over and snow covered at least 80% of the trail.


    Shutterbug

  9. #9
    Registered User
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    Default Wonderland Trail

    I hiked the trail several years ago and carried a filter it stayed clogged from glacier runoff. I noticed you were using Aqua Mira drops, a good choice but you might want to find some type of pre-filter so you don't have to drink pulverized stone.
    It's a great trail, fun, tough, and inspiring.
    Rick

  10. #10

    Default

    Shutterbug, thanks for the run down. Very informative.

    Rick, I read about the run offs so I was thinking about simply using a piece of hanky. I would collect the water in the Nalgene and then pour it through the hanky into the bladder where I would ultimately treat it. Would this work?

  11. #11

    Default

    Oh yeah, and being the time frame I am wanting to go is "prime time" what kind of crowds could I expect?

  12. #12

    Default Water treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by STICK View Post
    Shutterbug, thanks for the run down. Very informative.

    Rick, I read about the run offs so I was thinking about simply using a piece of hanky. I would collect the water in the Nalgene and then pour it through the hanky into the bladder where I would ultimately treat it. Would this work?
    Stick, the glacial dust is only in the streams that flow out from under the glaciers. Most of the streams on Mt. Rainier run clear. Most years there are enough water sources that you can skip the ones that are not clear. This summer, I never had to use any water that wasn't perfectly clear.

    If it is an unusually dry year, you might need to use some river water. The glacial dust is so fine that straining it thru a cloth doesn't catch enough to prevent a water filter from clogging. The solution is to use a method of purification other than a filter. Personally, I use a steripen.
    Shutterbug

  13. #13

    Default Crowds

    Quote Originally Posted by STICK View Post
    Oh yeah, and being the time frame I am wanting to go is "prime time" what kind of crowds could I expect?
    My answer is different than it would have been in the past.

    There are always more applicants than there are camp sites. Theoretically, that means that every camp site will be full every night, so the trail won't be any more crowded one time than another.

    This year, for reasons the rangers couldn't explain, the were many "no shows." Most of the camps where we stayed had vacant camp sites.

    The Wonderland Trail itself is crowded only within 3 or 4 miles of the trailheads. The number of day hikers drops off after labor day. The areas of possible congestion are around Longmier, Mowich Lake, and Sunrise. The most popular day hike along the Wonderland Trail is from Longmier to Indian Henry's Hunting Ground. On sunny days in August and early September there could be a dozen or more hikers at Indian Henry's Hunting Ground at a time enjoying the wild flowers.

    When you are not around the trailheads, the Wonderland Trail is never crowded. You can often hike an hour or more without seeing another hiker.

    This picture was taken at Indian Henry's Hunting Ground this August.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Shutterbug; 11-28-2010 at 23:23.
    Shutterbug

  14. #14

    Default

    THanks for the heads up. For the time being I will just stick with the Aqua Mira. I have not had an urge to use a steripen. Maybe it's because I don't want to drop the cash on it, but I just don't know about relying on it yet. And besides, I would still want to carry a back up (other than boiling my water).

    Speaking of boiling water, are alcohol stoves allowed on the trail?

    Also, how about bear canisters? I haven't read anything about them being required, but just figure I will ask to be sure.

    As far as the crowds, that is what I imagined. And I know what you mean about no shows at sites. Last month on the hike my wife and I did we were told that we got the last 2 spots in each shelter. Wrong. One night we were the only two and the remaining nights the shelter was still less than half full.

    Oh well. Thanks for all the good tips and advice. I appreciate it.

  15. #15

    Default Responses

    Quote Originally Posted by STICK View Post
    THanks for the heads up. For the time being I will just stick with the Aqua Mira. I have not had an urge to use a steripen. Maybe it's because I don't want to drop the cash on it, but I just don't know about relying on it yet. And besides, I would still want to carry a back up (other than boiling my water).

    Speaking of boiling water, are alcohol stoves allowed on the trail?

    Also, how about bear canisters? I haven't read anything about them being required, but just figure I will ask to be sure.

    As far as the crowds, that is what I imagined. And I know what you mean about no shows at sites. Last month on the hike my wife and I did we were told that we got the last 2 spots in each shelter. Wrong. One night we were the only two and the remaining nights the shelter was still less than half full.

    Oh well. Thanks for all the good tips and advice. I appreciate it.
    Alcohol stoves are allowed.

    Bear canisters are not required and are not needed. Every camp site has one or more bear poles to hang food. There is an excellent chance you will see one or more black bears on your hike, but I have never known of a hiker losing food to them.

    Wildlife you will likely see on your hike are:

    black bears
    marmots
    pica (sometimes called rock rabbits)
    chip monks
    black tail deer
    elk
    mountain goats
    foxes
    pine martins
    racoons
    Shutterbug

  16. #16
    Garlic
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    Default

    According to the Park's website, they issue permits in advance for 70% of camping spots, leaving 30% available on a first-come-first-served, walk-in basis. I did that in September and it worked fine. The ranger (an AT thru hiker) said that if you can be flexible and maybe hike a long or short day in there, they'll get you on the mountain. And they even post up-to-date campsite availability info on their website.

    I got the last site available a couple of nights, so I mostly saw completely full campgrounds. But I saw very people during the day. On the stretch near Spray Park (take that option), I didn't see anyone on the trail. It was nice.

    I saw a couple of black bears, but they were shy like they're supposed to be. There was no indication of problems with bears, probably because of the permit system.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  17. #17
    Registered User SweetAss03's Avatar
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    I would second pretty much everything that Shutter Bug has posted. I have done this trail a couple of times and as far as getting spots/dates and times I have had very few problems. I have always gone just after labor day so I am sure this has helped in my luck.

    Couple comments: Water filtering, you will be fine. I would say for every glacier feed stream or river you pass there are about 4 freshwater streams or river. Personally I stopped filtering several years ago although I still carry a small bleach dropper.

    Permits: Get it in early. I suggest faxing it in. Be able to be a little flexible with campsite and with dates especially if you want to go in mid August. They have never changed my dates but they have changed a camp or two...not a big deal.

    Understand the food cache system and use it. Consider putting a change of dry gear in a mid point cache especially if you can drive back once you are done to retrieve your wet gear. It is however a short distance between points but a long drive. Also, with this years projected snowpack it might be a short season and there maybe some more flooding.

    Other small piece of advice... be in decent shape. The uphill are relentless, the down hills always seem to short and the flats are just teasers.

    Not sure when the trail will be fixed from the junction of Northern Loop trail to Carbon River. The good news is that you can still cross the bridge if you want and you can still camp at carbon river.

    Maps... yes the trail is well marked. Yes the mileage is more accurate on the signs than on the maps. However I will admit that last year I missed a sign and didn't make the turn at South Puyallop Camp. I need up on the Westside Road with my friends looking at me funny as I explained to them how we need to turn around and walk the mile back uphill to get back to the trail.

    Enjoy it. The trail is truly incredible. I hope to be up there in mid August maybe we will run into each other.
    SweetAss

  18. #18

    Default

    Good info on this thread!
    I did the trail in late August this year, fast and light. It was a great experience. Might have to do it annually.

    I was wondering if you plan to carry all the food, or have a few resupply drops. Although I saw (most) backpackers lugging huge heavy packs, it is possible to do it carrying no more than 3 days food. Takes some planning, maybe a little help, but it would potentially speed up your trip from 11 days to 9 days, maybe less.

    Actually with such a low base weight, if you are in reasonable shape and not overloaded with food/water, you might get your 9-10 mi done fairly early in the day.

    It seemed to me that Park officials advised people to take longer, carry more, and go slower, which they judge is a safer approach for your average (unfit) urban park visitor.

    But if you are fit and experienced .....you can do better.

  19. #19
    LT '79; AT from Springer-Rangeley in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    it is possible to do it carrying no more than 3 days food. Takes some planning, maybe a little help, but it would potentially speed up your trip from 11 days to 9 days, maybe less.
    RockDoc, do you have any suggestions on where to cache food?
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2015?

  20. #20
    Registered User SweetAss03's Avatar
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    Depends on where you start. Most start at either Sunrise, longmire or Paradise. You can store food at any of these places plus Whiteriver, Mowich, and a couple others. The first three are the easiest and are basically a sure thing. The rest are a little harder and you are counting on a Ranger being there when you arrive. They need to be in a rodent proof container. A bucket works well and the rangers will gladly take your bucket to recycle I.e use on there projects.
    SweetAss

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