The Wonderland Trail is one trail that has been on my to-do list for quite a while. I actually wanted to hike it in 2012, but, everyday life just didn’t allow it. However, late last year I was talking with Jake (from Barefoot Jake) and we decided to try to go for it in 2013. So, after talking with a few other people, we decided on an itinerary, then on the 15th of this month, I faxed the required permit application in! Now we can only wait and cross our fingers that we actually get the itinerary which was requested, or at the very least, an itinerary!
The Wonderland Trail will be my first hike out west, so this in itself has got me pretty excited about this hike. Of course too, after reading other people’s comments, scrolling through other’s photo’s and watching other’s video’s on the Wonderland Trail has also stoked the fire within me a bit too! Of course though, the trail is also notorious for being slightly challenging, however, I am looking forward to the challenge, as well as the scenery…
Here is a very brief summary of the Wonderland Trail from the National Park Service:
The Wonderland Trail (WT) is 93 miles (150kms) long and encircles Mount Rainier. It is a strenuous hike with lots of elevation gain and loss, through lowland forests and valleys and into high alpine and sub-alpine areas.
So, as I said, now I am just waiting to see what kind of itinerary we can get, and then will take it from there. In the meantime though, I am of course working on reading up as much as I can on the trail and the conditions, as well as studying maps and preparing for the hike as much as I can at this point. Saying this, there have been a few really great Wonderland Trail resources that I have been able to get my hands on that has been very helpful to begin preparing for the trail.
The first resource is the book that I posted about in late 2010, “Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail: Encircling Mount Rainier“ by Bette Filley. This is a great book that describes the area itself and what one can expect to see and find there, as well as a quite detailed hiking log which includes mileage, elevation changes, information on campsites, water sources and lots of other useful information.
As well, Steve (from Willis Wall Multimedia) is a bit of an expert on the trail. He has thru-hiked the Wonderland Trail over 25 times and has a true passion for the trail. And in the process of spending so much of his time on the trail, he has documented (on video) probably every step of the trail! Really, he has… You can head over to his site and pick up his Complete Wonderland Trail Series and watch every inch of the trail. He has videos broken down by camp site to camp site, (as well as video of each individual campsite within each campsite), a video that shows all of the water sources, as well as a video of the entire 93 mile trail (sped up of course)! You can get them all, or just get the ones that you need… And don’t worry, these videos are high quality videos and really does a great job at showing everything. So far, these videos have made planning my trip a good deal easier… heck, I can even figure out which number campsite at each of the campsites I will be at that I would like to get!
Here is an introductory film that goes over some of what you can expect to find in his videos:
(Might I add that this really is a very comprehensive video set, and for those that would like the most info they can get to plan a hike along the Wonderland Trail, this is very likely it. It is nice that it comes on a thumb drive too as this allows you to easily carry it anywhere to access it.)
Another particular resource that I found to be helpful in planning my trip is the site wonderlandtrailguide.com. This site also breaks down a lot of information about the trail, but I think my favorite part of the site is the Interactive Trail Planner found on the site. For me, this has allowed me to move my sites around and easily get a (basic) look at the distance and to plan the trip. This was nice as there were certain sites that I wanted to try to get, so it made moving things around fun and helpful.
So, other than this I am also starting a C25K series again, and then working up from there. I will admit, I don’t go to the gym, and with my work and family schedule, it is hard for me to get much exercise done. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it can’t be done, I am just saying that I have been quite lax in making myself do anything after long days at work… However, in order for me to enjoy this hike, I need to be in better shape (after all, there is 22,000+ feet of elevation gain within this short, 93 mile stretch). So, I will be starting with the C25K series and then taking it from there. Of course too, there are a couple more hikes that I have between then and now… One in which we will be hiking 77+ miles in 3 days!
And let’s not forget gear! I do have a gear list that I am working on, however, to be quite honest, it is not complete, and will likely not be complete for a while… who knows what I will have in my closet to choose from by the time that I head out on this hike! Whatever it is though, you can bet it will be at least a “UL” set-up…
So, for now we wait. Once we get a confirmation on the itinerary, we will begin to start planning all of the logistics involved with getting ready for the hike… So, I am definitely looking forward to this! I am sure that I will do an update to this though before I actually head out on the hike…
Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: Steve Burgess from Willis Wall Multimedia provided me with the complete set of the Wonderland Trail Series videos in order to help me prepare for my hike. I have no affiliation with Steve and was not required to mention his site, or his items in this, or any other post. However, after watching his videos, it is my personal opinion that this is a very good source of information on the Wonderland Trail, and I personally recommend his site and his videos for others that are looking to do the Wonderland Trail in the future.