Forum Index > Trip Reports > The Colonnade (MORA) 9/13-14/2016
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williswall
seeking tailwind



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seeking tailwind
PostFri Sep 16, 2016 10:48 pm 
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A few years ago I spent considerable time perusing MORA maps to concoct the ultimate highlight trip of Mt. Rainier National Park (MORA) which I titled "The Mt. Rainier Grand Tour." If one started from a point and did a loop around the mountain, this tour would provide 150 miles and 50,000 feet of vertical. I've done most of this trip in pieces, but a few critical areas were missing, and Monday and Tuesday turned out to be perfect days for hitting The Colonnade, a spine/ridgeline that departs the Wonderland 1.5 miles out of Golden Lakes and ends at a former lookout site (7,176') that was built in 1930 but was quickly torn down. Remnants of this shelter are scattered at the site. Because of the western aspect of this spine, an overnight was in order to enjoy the setting sun and the western alpenglow on this unobstructed and up close view of the mountain. To arrive here I biked the West Side Road (9 miles) and hiked 9 miles, climbing the ridge line and arriving at 6 PM, plenty of time to set up my bivy and prepare for the golden sunset on this perfect weather day.

bark goo
bark goo
benchmark on horn
benchmark on horn
bivy spot
bivy spot
burly
burly
Denman falls
Denman falls
F1. North Puyallup River
F1. North Puyallup River
final pinkness
final pinkness
find the elk
find the elk
Willis Wall on the fin
Willis Wall on the fin
goal in sight
goal in sight
looking back at bivy site
looking back at bivy site
lookout remnants from 1930 (7,176':)
lookout remnants from 1930 (7,176')
Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St. Helens
Orion
Orion
predawn glow
predawn glow
ridge to the Colonade
ridge to the Colonade
rising moon
rising moon
terrain leading higher
terrain leading higher
the Colonade
the Colonade
the view
the view
time lapse
time lapse
tree ghosts
tree ghosts
Willis Wall on the fin
Willis Wall on the fin
civilization encroaches
civilization encroaches

I set up my GoPro to time lapse the sunset, then scrambled out a narrow fin, which had a bench mark, to get a different view and scare myself. At one point the fin was only a few feet wide but made for another spectacular view. I snapped lots of photos of the setting sun on the mountain, observing that the moon was rising to the right of the main mass at 7:30 PM and tracked over my right shoulder until about 4 or 5. This precluded any good Milky Way shots but the evening star show was stunning nonetheless. I could turn 180 degrees and see Tacoma, Bellevue and Seattle metro areas and the Puget Sound, and Mt. St. Helens was visible to the south. This was also another trip of complete solitude once off the main drag. Although I had a bivy and a 30 degree quilt, at one point I had to don my rain shells to keep the cold at bay at that altitude. This also allowed me to sit up in my bivy to work the camera during the evening. Once the predawn light started washing out the lower stars, I laid down vowing not to arise until the sun was blasting me in the face the next morning. Up at 9 AM, I was able to make a rendezvous with some camping friends at Ohapanecosh just past 5 PM and enjoyed a little more biking the next day, this time with my road steed. With not enough time to do a longer trip like the Wonderland or Section J due to obligations on Thursday and Friday, the timing was perfect to finally hit this section of the mountain where I had yet to step foot. As it turns out it provides one of the most spectacular places in the park, what with the 360 degree views, western aspect and high loneliness above 7,000 feet.

West Side Road prediction

OK, I've been driving, biking and hiking this road for over 30 years and never have I seen so much attention being paid to it. The park's public face says the work here is part of needed maintenance. Uh huh. New steel bridge, machines galore, regrading over steeper sections, and an obvious and ongoing repair of this past year's washed out section, burying logs in the bank and preparing to haul in tons of small boulders. Plus, cleaning up Tahoma Vista area of the stone blocks left over from comfort stations and vendors from the 20's and 30's, plus repairing the rock wall in the same area......we will see shuttle service (public vehicular access will never be reinstated due to geohazards) in 2017. You heard it here first.

shoring up the WSR
shoring up the WSR
broken tread
broken tread
cleaning up the comfort station
cleaning up the comfort station
Ohanapecosh River
Ohanapecosh River
upper Denman falls
upper Denman falls
view through a tree
view through a tree
wall repair
wall repair
WTF
WTF

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Don't be an Unmasked Mouth Juicer
williswall.com
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Mtn Dog
Technohiker



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Technohiker
PostSat Sep 17, 2016 7:55 am 
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That's pretty cool!  Great pics.  And I've seen lots of benchmarks but never one specifically for Earthquake Research.

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Footprints on the sands of time will never be made sitting down.
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RichP
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here and there
PostSat Sep 17, 2016 9:13 am 
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Wow! That looks like a place I'll check out someday. Thanks for the report.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSat Sep 17, 2016 10:58 am 
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williswall wrote:
we will see shuttle service (public vehicular access will never be reinstated due to geohazards) in 2017. You heard it here first.

I say bravo!  We had a spirited debate about this in another thread.  Several like it as is, but I've seen shuttles used very effectively in several National Parks.
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Distel32
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PostSun Sep 18, 2016 5:49 am 
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up.gif
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Brushbuffalo
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PostSun Sep 18, 2016 11:59 am 
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williswall wrote:
WTF
WTF

Yellowjackets still out?    winksmile.gif

I think it would be a mixed blessing to have the Westside Road open again because it would be good to have easier access to some of the splendid areas you have written about and photographed so well. However,  easier access might also lead to yet another example of too many of us loving an area to its physical and biological detriment.

I hiked to the old lookout site in 1963 while in boy scouts. Grand spot!

By the way, what is that "bark goo" in your first picture?

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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williswall
seeking tailwind



Joined: 30 Sep 2007
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williswall
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seeking tailwind
PostSun Sep 18, 2016 1:41 pm 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
I think it would be a mixed blessing to have the Westside Road open again because it would be good to have easier access to some of the splendid areas you have written about and photographed so well. However,  easier access might also lead to yet another example of too many of us loving an area to its physical and biological detriment.

By the way, what is that "bark goo" in your first picture?

The selfish part of me wants to keep the WSR as is....back in the 80s and 90s Klapatche Park was totally trashed because of easy access, now it's one of the most remote sites. However, with increased visitation it would be good to spread access over more areas, especially since the Ipsut Creek road is closed. I am torn.

As for the bark goo, there were two logs cut at the same time, and that one was oily wet with the orange gooey stuff seeping out of the entire tree between the bark layer and the trunk. There was no water flowing on the upside of both logs. I am guessing it may be some kind of fungus, but maybe someone can readily identify it...I've never seen it before.

tree fungus comparison
tree fungus comparison

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Phil
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PostMon Sep 19, 2016 8:15 pm 
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Great TR, I admire how much your trips seem dialed in, photos, timing, etc.   up.gif
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djt
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PostTue Sep 20, 2016 2:51 pm 
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Williswall I share your feelings about a shuttle on the WSR. While I see the need,  selfishly I've come to enjoy the peace and tranquility of bike rides and hikes to some beautiful and less visited areas of the park.  I have some great memories of being back there as a kid.  I'd hate to see it trashed and overrun.
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hikerman
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PostTue Sep 20, 2016 10:18 pm 
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Went up West Side Road to Round Pass yesterday morning  for a short ride in the rain.
Agree with Willis Wall that I see the road opened for future use based on the amount of work going on up there.
How were things on the other side of the pass?  A lot of work on that side too?

Someone, assuming the construction crew??, executed a forced entry into the previously long locked up restrooms at Tahoma Vista.  Kicked/rammed the door in on the men's room side and hacked around the padlock on the women's side.  There was a "fresh" garbage can and bucket in the women's room.

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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Sep 20, 2016 10:22 pm 
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That looks like a perfect scene for Jason XXII.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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djt
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PostWed Sep 21, 2016 10:36 am 
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hikerman wrote:
Someone, assuming the construction crew??, executed a forced entry into the previously long locked up restrooms at Tahoma Vista.  Kicked/rammed the door in on the men's room side and hacked around the padlock on the women's side.

The doors were forced open a year ago when I was there.  I got the feeling that they had been that way awhile.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > The Colonnade (MORA) 9/13-14/2016
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