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Wonderland Trail: Day 8

Short day with no shortage of people

Today’s hike is two hours (straight up) to Sunrise Camp: when you’re bound to your permit which was bound to site availability, some days are 14-milers and some days are 3-milers. We’re the first into camp at 11AM and have our pick of sites. We set up at Site 5, which has a view of Shadow Lake through the trees, and then weave our way through hordes of day hikers on the 2.3-mile-round-trip walk to the Sunrise Visitor Center, aka Tourist Hell.

We buy lunch out of the gift shop cold case (the hot food snack bar is closed thanks to covid) and people-watch near the picnic tables. When we go back for ice cream, the store’s computers have crashed and the store is temporarily shut. Determined to wait for the ice cream we’ve been fantasizing about for days, we sit in the shade next to a trash can, watching a stream of tourists all have the same crestfallen reaction to the closed store: “It’s closed! That’s so sad!”

But ice cream comes to those who wait—and who have cash, because the credit card machines are still down. We head back to camp with our swiftly melting prizes and hide from mosquitos in the tent, playing chess, reading, and eating our store-bought snacks.

Saturday, July 24, 2021
3.3 miles: 1,998′ up, 78’ down (+2.3 miles to the Visitor Center and back)
White River Backpacker Camp to Sunrise Camp

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