Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail

So, if you have read my “about page” you may be aware that I am planning on (trying) to hike the Wonderland Trail in 2012. Yeah, I know that this is still a good deal away, but hey, it’s never too early to start planning…

So, about 2 weeks ago, I ordered this book, Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail: Encircling Mount Rainier by Bette Filley and the other day it came in the mail. This book was suggested as a basic guide to hiking the trail rather than as a journal-type reading. Since it has come in I have read through about the first 60 pages or so, and so far it seems to be quite helpful. (Reading through it I get the same feel as reading through my AT hiking guides.)

Bette originally wrote the book in 1969, 4 short years after completing her first thru-hike of the trail. At this point, the book was accepted to publication, but never made it into print. At least not until quite a few years later, at which time the book was updated and finally put into print!

The book is divided into 2 sections. The first section is all about the area. The mountain itself, the glaciers, wildlife, forests, weather and of course its history. She also gives general advice on backpacking in this area. What is really nice is that she has also included suggested itineraries for a complete WT thru-hike, as well as even just weekend and single day hiking adventures.

The second half is simply a hiking log. Like the other great guides, she includes it all from one point to the next point: mileage, elevation gain/loss, explanation of the trail in this area, distances to other trails and campsites, etc… and of course water sources. She also includes hand-drawn maps and even includes the hang-outs of some animals such as bears and goats.

So, I am excited about the book. This is my first step of the trip; granted it is not on the actual trail (not to mention the trail is about 2 thousand miles from where I now sit typing this up as well as nearly 2 years away) but it is a step in in the direction of preparation for the trail. The next step I plan to take will be the map, which will be the Green Trail Map # 269S: Mt Rainier Wonderland.

The ultimate Mount Rainier Map! Printed on a waterproof/tear resistant sheet. Side A Features the entire park at a scale of 1:63,360. Side B contains a 1:24,0000 climbing map with details and GPS waypoints of the most popular routes up the Mountain and a Wonderland Trail Profile.

So, of course by this time I have gotten a little bit out of the book. As soon as I cracked the book open the wheels started turning inside my head. I started thinking about what gear I would take, how I would get there, where I would start out, which direction I would go and how many days would I need to take (among others). This book is helping me to answer these questions. At this point my plans are to start at Mowich and head clockwise for 11 days. And here is a gear list I have started working on for the trip:

Wonderland Trail Gear List (In the Making)

Of course, I still have much to learn, and still more gear to claim, but that is what is nice about starting the trip now. I have time rethink my strategies, time to ask questions in more detail and weigh my decisions. This also gives me more time to fine tune my gear and how I use it in the field so that I know what will work for me. So, for now I will begin to prepare for my hike…

2 Responses to Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail

  1. Beth Rossow says:

    Hi, You will recognize me from the book. Thanks for the mini-review of the text. I have been the legs and co-author of Bette Filley’s book since 1985. You are certainly going through a lot of preparation and planning for your trip. The trail is well maintained and it is all very straightforward, as well as very steep. The biggest issues are getting your reservations lined up ahead of time, arranging for rides, and the problem of no drainage in the campsites. If it rains almost every campsite will have standing water or trickling rivulets. The water does not soak in because of the soils and the fact that the sites are highly compacted. Trenching is not allowed. Just be aware of this and either pack a small hammock to get up off the ground or get ready for some creative rain maneuvers. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you. Did you know I have produced 2 different photo slide shows (SLIDE GUIDES) for the Wonderland Trail and its Alternate Routes. They are $14.00 each plus $3.00 shipping and handling. The photo documentaries provide an up-to-date view of the trail, all bridges and crossings, and the backcountry campsites. Copyright 2011.
    Have a wonderful time discovering the wonders of this beautiful trail. Beth


    • Stick says:


      Very cool! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!

      Thanks for the info about the trail, both in the book as well as in your post. Once I get ready to do the trip I will probably try and get in contact with you about any questions I have. However, I may be putting this trip on hold, for the moment. With the way things have been going, it looks like I may be able to thru hike the AT in 2013. But in order for me to do so, I will have to put some other stuff on hold, including the WT hike. But I will definitely do it in the future…

      Thanks again for stopping by!



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