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John is an avid hiker, spending a goodly portion of his time up in the hills, or sitting in front of a computer.
Directions: From Tacoma drive 40 miles south on Highway 7 to Elbe and go east 10 miles on Highway 706 to the Mount Rainier National Park Nisqually Entrance Station. Proceed 10 miles to the Coment Falls TrailHead. If you have reached the Nisqually Bridge you have gone too far.
Trail Notes: The weather was just too nice to say no to the mountains on this fine fall day. So I took off for the mountain a little after 8 arriving at the trail head about half past 10. The trail to Mildred point is the same as the one to Comet Falls and Van Trump Park. The first hour of the hike is spent en route to Comet Falls. The trails starts off and shows you immediately what it has in store for you later on down the road. After the first uphill bump after about 10 minutes you pass over Comet Fallls on a nice bridge. Make sure to stop and check out the smooth rock below cut from thousands of years of water. Here too you won't find it difficult to stop on a warm day as the creek below chills the air.
Onward the trail gently continues and then steps things up a bit through series of switch backs working up the southern bank of Comet Falls. After about 45 minutes you get a nice reprieve and your first glimpse of Mt. Rainier. Here too you can see the first of many waterfalls on the Western valley wall. Soon the level ground comes to an end with another quick series of switch backs which provide a traverse to the final crossing en route to Coment Falls.
This time the bridge was in so sandals or flip flops were not required. After crossing the bridge Comet Falls is almost immediately in the foreground though a series of switchbacks seperates you from the best overlook. After about 10-15 minutes you are surrounded by the mist of Comet Falls which must be a couple hundred feet tall.
Once you have had your fill of the falls take the switch backs rising to the east. After a couple goes they moderate for a time before again gaining strength. About 1/2 hour from Comet Falls the sun gets some play and occasional views back down from whence you have come emerge. Also too about this time you start getting the inclination that you are on the verge of meadows - which you are.
So without too much fan fare the trail levels and a choice between Van Trump Park and Mildred Point must be made. I chose to go to Mildred Point with the idea of going to Van trump Park on the return. So heading off towards Mildred point the trail descends to cross Comet creek once again. and the meadows come into full view. The meadows themselves aren't the largest in the park but their seclusion and pocket gem type feel is very nice.
As you cross Comet creek be sure to look up towards Mt. Rainier as the view is sweet. The trail then continues along fairly moderately until a sign to choose mildred point presents itself. From here you are choosing whether to go down to Longmire or up to Mildred point. Also curiously the sign says 'end maintained trail' but later you encounter a signe at Mildred point saying the same thing. The first sign says .5 miles to mildred point.
I am not sure whether the mileage is accurate or not, but can tell you either way that this section of the trail is quite steep. There are no switch backs to speak of and if you have done a firetrail before you have a pretty good indication of what a trail straight up the hill is all about. At times the sand is quite slippery.
On the upside the blueberries here were actually sweet to the taste - it was really the best mountain blueberries I have had. Also as you make your way up the Mildred Point Trail you will have pretty constant views of Mt Rainier, which get better and better almost foot by foot as you continue along.
And the ultimate part of the hike is finally making Mildred point itself which provides just an awesome terestrial view of all that surrounds and most notably Mt. Rainier. As an added bonus if you head up from Mildred Point you will be presented with a view spot of Van Trump Park and Mt. Rainier complete with a full backed earthen chair.
After having lunch and spending some quality time taking in the scenery, I returned. At the junction of the Van Trump Spur I opted to head back rather than up to Van Trump Park. Having seen the park from Mildred Point I was content with what I had seen. This is really a beutiful hike, but the going can be tough at times. I would set aside about 3 hours to make it to Mildred Point, and would bring plenty of water or a filter. Though the mileage of this hike is pretty short the trail or something makes it seem much longer. Still an excellent way to spend a day in the mountains.
|Best Time to Hike|
|July through October|
|Hike Time||Difficulty||Rating||Distance||Elevation Gained||Max Elevation|
|7 Hours||7.0 Miles Round Trip||2,800 Feet||6,000 Feet|
|Miles Away||User Rating|
|Indian Henry's Hunting Ground||2.9|
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