Hiker creates guide to Wonderland Trail, ultimate Mount Rainier adventure
August 21, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
Civilization fades far into the distance along the Wonderland Trail, a 93-mile loop around Mount Rainier.
The volcano looms above the landscape, as clouds play peek-a-boo around the glacier-capped summit. The meadows below buzz as marmots and other creatures dart among the wildflowers.
The scenes along the trail seem cut from a postcard. Even the name is majestic.
Tami Asars, a third-generation Washingtonian and lifelong hiker, created a guidebook for the premier trail in Mount Rainier National Park — “Hiking the Wonderland Trail,” a recent release from The Mountaineers Books.
“You get to see almost everything when you go on the Wonderland,” she said in a recent interview. “You get to see so many glaciers. You get to see all of these little great meadows and little nooks and wildflowers. The creatures that live in the park are just everywhere. You get to see the marmots — they’re in almost every field you come across, whistling and squeaking and playing patty-cake.”
Asars, a North Bend resident and former employee at REI in Issaquah, led classes about the Wonderland Trail at the sporting goods store. Then, as she amassed more and more information for prospective hikers, the idea for a book germinated.
“Mount Rainier has always intrigued me,” Asars said. “It’s always sort of been a refuge from the emails and phones and all that kind of stuff.”
Hikers gain and lose about 22,000 cumulative feet along the Wonderland Trail.
“The journey is the destination — walking slow, taking your time, stopping in those meadows, and throwing your pack on a rock and sucking it in,” Asars said. “All of those kinds of things about it just make it really a charming place to visit and a great hike to do.”
The rugged trail circumnavigates the oldest national park in Washington.
“The fact that the only way you can see those places is on foot is also really appealing to people,” Asars said. “There are very few places left like that, except national parks.”