My wife and I had a friend in town and wanted to show her some of the mountains here in Washington, so we took her to Mt Rainier National Park. We wanted to showcase some amazing scenery without subjecting her to a multi-hour drive just to get to the trail head. Our intended destination, an overlook above the Carbon River with a close up view of Mt. Rainier, was cut short as we came upon someone closing up a gate on NF- 7710 2. Whoever it was that closed the gate didn’t have any official marking or uniform but they certainly locked the gate up tightly right after we pulled up to the where the gate was located. They drove off as we tried to come up with an alternate route to explore.
We ventured up NF-7722 and then onto NF-110, which is a fun cliff hanger of a trail until it degrades into a rocky wash out past a switchback or two; very little space to turn around. Turning back around and venturing further into the forest we went up NF-7720 where we found a decent overlook that viewed northwest towards Tacoma, 26.76 miles away. The clouds that were a constant overhang above us all morning began to burn off so we stopped for lunch, which Dana provided and cooked: the famous delicious burger, mac-n-cheese dish. Absolutely hit the spot.
As we sat enjoying the view and meal we heard a very bizarre sound. While hard to describe, it can best be defined as a rolling, echoed explosion. It happened over and over again. The cascading echoes would travel up the canyons and it was baffling to determine where it was coming from as well as what exactly was making the sounds. A few times it sounded like it was a platoon of soldiers where conducting ambush training with several extended volleys of suppressing fire and return fire. Even heard some full auto fire. We did see some colorful characters and rigs as we drove up this way so perhaps there was some sort of group meetup at one of the many shooting ranges out this way.
As the afternoon meandered its way towards evening we broke camp and headed south along 165, heading over the Fairfax Bridge through Wilkeson and Carbonado towards Mowich Lake and a fleeting view of Mt. Rainier.