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Trip Report    

Advanced CHS 1 Hike - Indian Bar-Cowlitz Divide

Well-maintained trail in the soaking rain. Leader chose to turn the group around once the misery index exceeded the is-this-really-worth-it index.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • This portion of the Wonderland trail is very well-maintained. Only one easy-to-pass blowdown between the trailhead and the Wonderland Trail-Cowlitz Divide Trail junction.

Four of us met at the South Renton P&R at 6 AM and piled into one car. The drive was very wet and, in some parts once we hit MRNP, socked in.

We arrived at the trailhead at 8:10 AM. There were 3 or 4 other cars parked when we arrived. The "comfort station" allowed one last dry pitstop before we hit the trail. We encountered a handful of drenched Wonderland Trail loop hikers along the way and some remarks that they were impressed we had come out in the  weather for a day hike.

With the rainfall, the flatter portions of the trail were pocked with shallow and deep puddles.

It didn't take long for the four of us to get soaked inside and out. At the junction of the Wonderland Trail and Cowlitz Divide Trail, we had a decision point. There appeared to be a great deal of ambivalence about whether or not to keep going; no one wanted to stop the trip for the others, but no one seemed anxious to keep going either. With my own misery index being fairly high, I made the final call to turn around.

Near the trailhead on the way back, we took the brief turnoff to the Box Canyon viewpoint. The roaring river rushing through the canyon floor below us and the rainfall dropping off the cliffs were delightful exclamation points to our hike.

We stopped at windy Sunrise for a bite to eat and were surprised that the cafe was already on a limited menu with limited seating. Their last day open is next weekend.

The rain relented on our drive back. By the time we reached the park and ride at 3:30, we were able to unload the car in dry weather.

No one canceled at the last minute due to bad weather. We had a great group of hikers with whom I would hike again anytime.