Wonderland Fail




Does anything feel worse than quitting? It’s a gut punch to your pride, and it always hurts. But, I do believe there are things that feel worse. Like setting up a tent in a giant puddle. Or pushing up a mountain for 10 hours in the rain while looking at nothing but clouds, even though you know you should be seeing one of the most scenic views in the world. At least I imagine those things hurt worse…I’ll never know, because I choose the gut punch instead. Sure, it hurt for a bit, but thank God I’ve learned not to let my stubborn pride bully me into unnecessary pain for the sake of saving face.


I’m glad my friends have learned it too. They are a couple smart, strong ladies; and they don’t need to finish The Wonderland Trail to prove it. Though, we are all hoping to conquer those last 30 miles at a time when the weather is a little more cooperative. Until then, I will cherish the 7 days I got to spend trying to go all the way around the most wonderful Mount Rainier.


If The Wonderland Trail is something you also want to conquer, this custom itinerary planner is super helpful. Link to Planner Or you can steal our failed agenda below. Leigh did a lot of work coming up with a perfect plan for getting the most out of those 93 miles, and it’s hard for me to imagine a better way to do it. Well, except for actually finishing. 😉

On a final note, I have to warn you that if you have a fear of log bridges like I do, this trial will force you to get over it. Too many bridges, of all kinds, for me even to count. Therefore, I am dedicating this poem I wrote to The Wonderland. There can’t possibly be a trail that deserves it more. Happy trails!

My Hiking fear

Is pretty clear

For those darn log bridges

Do bring a tear

I imagine a fall

Cause they’re all pretty tall

And breaking both my ankles

Would sure make me bawl

Just a handrail, please 

It brings such ease

And lightens those fears

That do love to tease

But if there isn’t one

A ford I won’t shun

But if the river I can’t traverse

I’ll creep across that log till I’m done


Day 1: (going counter clockwise)

3.4 miles from White River to Sunrise. Short miles to make up for the time it takes to drive to Rainier makes a lot of sense. Plus these are 3 very steep miles, so it’s nice to give your legs time to adjust. There will be many more tough miles ahead.

Day 2:

13.7 miles to Carbon River. These are varied miles, so it’s not as bad as you’d think. But I will say my feet hurt worse than they ever have after those last 3 miles of hard downhill.

Day 3:

6.4 miles to Eagles Roost. This may seem like a short day, but don’t be fooled. We didn’t get to camp until after 5. Besides being a long climb up, you will want to take your time because you’re in Spray Park. This is a detour off the official trail, but most people take it because it’s so beautiful. And full of bears. We saw 3 this day.

Day 4:

12.4 miles to Golden Lakes. After 2 miles you’ll come to Mowich to get your first food cache, which you’ll need to mail ahead 2 weeks ahead of time. I know it seems like a big pain, but it’s 100% worth it. This is a trail you really want to keep your pack as light as possible. I will also note that I think a 4 day trip from Mowich to Longmire would be a great way to experience The Wonderland without suffering too badly. Reasonable miles, great views, and no resupply shipment needed. Plus there are only a couple log bridges in this section, and they aren’t too bad.

Day 5:

7.8 miles to Klapatche Park. Stunning camp, though seeing a bear on the hill just across from where you’re setting up your tent is a little unnerving. At least all the camps have a bear pole or locker. Be sure to use them.

Day 6:

11.2 miles to Devil’s Dream. Saw another bear after a couple miles, though maybe it was the same bear, who knows. Still unnerving. And if the name Devil’s Dream makes you imagine a camp overlooking a cliff or something dramatic like that, be prepared to be disappointed. Nothing special about this camp, and if it starts to rain a lot, be prepared to wake up in a puddle.

Day 7:

Original plan of 9.3 miles to Paradise River, with a stop after 5.5 miles at Longmire to pick up our 2nd food cache and grab a burger and beer. We had recruited Heather’s husband into bringing our resupply instead of mailing it, and he was wise enough to make sure there was room enough for all of us in the car after seeing the forecast of nothing but rain for the next 3 days. We took him up on it. But not without getting our burger and beer first, of course.

Day 8: (if you are stealing the itinerary)

7.6 miles to Maple Creek. This appears to be some punishing downhill miles, so I’m guessing the shorter miles will be appreciated.

Day 9:

9.9 miles to Indian Bar. Many say this is the prettiest part of the trail…and the toughest to get to. Almost all uphill, topping out at over 5000 feet. I sure hope it’s not raining if I ever get to do it.

Day 10:

4.5 miles to Summerland. Again, this is claimed to be the most stunning portion of trail. Leigh was wanting a short day to take it all in.

Day 11:

6.9 miles back to White River. A nice, easy, short day out. Makes the long drive home not as bad. So smart. Someday it will make an amazing 4 day trip, and then we can claim to have finished The Wonderland…and actually enjoyed doing it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *