Joined: 30 Sep 2009
Posts: 75 | TRs
|I don't normally add a trip report on routine hikes, but thought this might be useful to someone. I'd never been to the Clearwater Wilderness, which is just north of Mt. Rainier, so decided to do a hike up Bearhead Mt. I was a bit surprised how many cars were in the parking lot as the approach rd (FS 7810) is pretty miserable, although doable in higher clearance passenger cars (those with really low clearance probably don't read this forum). 7810, btw, crosses the Carbon River off the Carbon River Rd. just before the road enters the park. Lots of people were free-camping along the river bank.
Anyway, the trail itself is totally straightforward. After nearly a mile it runs into a dinky lake and splits into a route to Summit Lake and one to Bearhead. The initial part of the Bearhead trail had as many king bolete mushrooms (aka porcini) as I have ever seen. Many were old, buggy, and beyond redemption, but there were lots of new ones springing up, too, which is one reason I am posting this. I was a little surprised, given that several other parties were on the trail, that these mushrooms didn't get picked in their prime. It's obviously a popular trail. But the berries are the other reason for my post. Lots of huckleberries along that same section of trail. After maybe a mile of mild upward contouring, the trail splits again into a Bearhead summit section and the Carbon Trail. From this point on to the summit the trail is strewn with (currently) prime blueberry plants. I collected all I had the patience for (a fair size bag) and any interested berry seekers will have little trouble doing the same.
I lucked into some decent views of Rainier (although the north face was pretty shadowy). Best of all, this destination is not that far from south sound locations (S. Seattle to Tacoma, for instance). It was an easy 6-mile RT made more interesting by the foraging prospects. Dog-lovers must know all about it because I was about the only hiker on the trail without a dog or two in tow. They were all well behaved, though (both the lovers and the dogs).
N. Face of Rainier and a couple of boletes that have somehow melded into one another