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Pyramid Peak,  Mt Rainier National Park,  September 29, 2008     page 1 / 23

I was interested in a long day hike while the fall weather still cooperated.... somewhere without too much driving required, and somewhere I had not yet visited. I chose to explore the area beyond Mirror Lakes near Indian Henry's Hunting Ground on Mt. Rainier.

I had last visited Indian Henry's in 1997 with a good friend. But we approached the area via the Kautz Creek trail. That was a long climb up the hill. For a slightly shorter approach to the area, I began my hike from the old Westside Road, accessed from the Nisqually entrance of the national park. Then I would follow the Mirror Lakes way trail and continue beyond to explore the area around Pyramid Peak.

I drove three miles up the Westside road, to the gate at Dry Creek. There I found two other cars. One was a park service vehicle. Perhaps this Monday trip would be free of crowds often found on weekends and holidays. There was a sign on the gate indicating that construction equipment would likely be encountered along the closed section of road. I would hike north on this section of road for a mile before reaching the Tahoma Creek trailhead.

It was 9:00AM when I began. Roughly a half mile beyond the gate I encountered two excavators of which one was in use. The river washed the road out in the late 1980s. The park repaired the road once or twice, but later closed the road at Dry Creek permanently. As I approached, the excavator re-graded a section of the old road. I asked two gentlemen standing next to the second excavator why they were working on this section of road. Apparently they were simply maintaining access to hikers. It seemed odd that an expense such as this would be approved with the ever shrinking budget of our national parks.