Guy Crossing the BridgeThirteen Skihawks, and a couple of Skihawk wantobes, met at the 410 Café in Buckley early Saturday morning, formed our car pools, and headed up the road 15 miles to the Carbon Glacier trailhead inside Rainier National Park.  The day was cool but dry, excellent conditions for a hike.  The glacier is located approximately 3.5 miles from the trailhead, over a gentle rising and falling well-traveled trail, generally rising more than falling, following the Carbon River to its source flowing out from under the Carbon Glacier.  This glacier is the most accessible of any glacier inside the lower forty-eight.
   At the start, a sign was posted concerning a bear sighting on the trail, and everyone was a-twitter with the anticipation of rounding a corner and, in our imaginations, coming face to face with a giant fifteen foot grizzly, transplanted from Alaska obviously. The sign made no mention as to when the bear was sighted, be it that day, that month, or even this year.  But the idea kept us awake, a few of us were prepared to use our hiking sticks as weapons to save the lives of everyone in the group, some of us without weapons had decided to backtrack at a moderate pace, back the full three and a half miles to the safety of the cars if need be.  But the situation never developed.
   This trail is too beautiful to not slow down in spots and enjoy the natural beauty of the area surrounding us.  In spots our eyes could wander up the canyon walls towering above us trying to spot elusive mountain sheep and checking out avalanche chutes.  The old growth timber along the way was full of strange growths and fungus, mushrooms, nurse trees, and the occasional chipmunk.  
   Within sight of the glacier, there is a chain suspension bridge, approximately 70 yards across and supposedly one way.  It bounces, swings, and is generally a lot of fun crossing unless its your first time and not accustomed to swinging bouncing bridges like this, in which case a person hangs on tightly.  The bridge is completely safe, but to the uninitiated can be intimidating.  We all made it across and up the final half mile to the glacier where we sat on rocks and ate our lunches and enjoyed the setting.
   Upon returning to our cars at the trailhead, a few of us went to Mary’s in Tacoma for hamburgers, while others stayed in the park and enjoyed the mountains and the day rather than rushing back to the city.    Submitted by Ron Ewert.  Pictures by Mary Lloyd

Skihawks at Carbon Glacier

Skihawks in front of the Carbon Glacier




The deep forest

The deep forest