Summerland-Panhandle Gap* (Rainier)

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Date: 10/4/2015

Location: MRNP

Distance: 11 miles RT

Elevation Gain: 2900 ft

Highest Point: 6800 ft

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Summerland is widely considered the best day trail In MRNP.  Hiking its first 3 miles of dense forest path, I started wondering whether the accolades were mirage or reality.  Vista improved somewhat with first glimpse of Mt. Rainier, but followed shortly with more tough canopy clad switchbacks.  Then I was there….

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I missed Summerland at its peak – the July/August flower season.  Still, may I let the photos convey her ambience.

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After a well deserved lunch on a boulder – Summerland meadows are seriously threatened by the throngs it attracts, I proceeded, into a world of ice and rock, towards Panhandle Gap.

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Climbing towards the Gap

Climbing towards the Gap

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From Panhandle Gap, Ohanapecosh Valley filled the southern horizon.

From Panhandle Gap, Ohanapecosh Valley filled the southern horizon.

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Returning the same way to conclude this spectacular hike.

 

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