Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mowich and Eunice Lakes

Mowich Lake, Mount Rainier National Park

There are two beautiful lakes in Mount Rainier National Park that are perhaps overlooked by some who don’t want to drive 15 miles or more on a bumpy, pothole infested, washboard, dirt road [Bob requested the bold type] to get to the trail head.  The campground at Mowich Lake is right on the lakeside.  There is no running water at the campground but there is a nice newer outhouse.  Campers have to pack in their own water or treat the lake water by boiling or using chemical purifier to make it safe to use.  There are fish and ducks in the lake and canoes, rowboats, or kayaks are allowed but powerboats are not.  Also no pets are permitted on the trails or in the campground.

 This time of year there were not many flowers left but the fall colors were starting. 

Eunice Lake is a 5 mile roundtrip hike from Mowich Lake with the trail following along Mowich lakeshore for part of the way before angling up.  When the water is calm there are nice reflections from the hillsides.  It is a soft dirt trail in places and a nasty root infested trail with some rocks in other sections.  Since the trail goes up and down the total vertical gain is actually more than most hiking books state.  It is approximately 800 feet of total rise.  We started at 4950 ft and ended at 5350 ft.  Parts of the trail are very steep, the rocks and roots make it more difficult. 


Eunice Lake is a beautiful pristine secluded lake with water a teal blue color.  From the lake it is possible to hike .9 miles further to Tolmie Peak where there is a lookout at 5800 feet.  We stopped at the lake for a picnic lunch and then returned the way we came to Mowich Lake.  It was so peaceful, the sun was warm, and if we had stayed longer I think I could have easily taken a nap.

 Eunice Lake

 The view of Eunice Lake from our picnic lunch spot

 Tolmie Peak Lookout as seen from Eunice Lake

The water level in the streams and lakes is very low this year due to little or no snow last winter and very little rain this spring and summer.  Most of the area between the trail and the lake would normally be filled with lake water.

 Peek-a-boo view of Mount Rainier from the Eunice Lake trail

Wildlife sightings included a garter snake, small hawks, woodpeckers, several small birds, chipmunks, and 2 deer.  There were perhaps 10 others hikers on the trail that day, most chose to continue the rest of the way up to Tolmie Peak.   No hunting is allowed in the park so the deer are relatively tame.  A doe and fawn were browsing alongside the trail and we were able to get close enough to almost touch the fawn, which we did not do, but we did get some close up photos. 

 A shy little garter snake

 Doe and fawn unconcerned by close proximity to hikers

Parting views of Mount Rainier from the northwest as we headed home after a lovely day in the woods.  Note the tilted crater at the top of the mountain.  We do not see this view from Seattle.

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