As a child I spent much of my summer in southern Oregon, and as a result, glimpsed many views of Mt Shasta as we would drive by to go camping or spelunking in some lava caves. Naturally, I felt that satisfying one of my ambitions would be a perfect way to train for a trip up Rainier in July.
From the Everett area it is about a 9 or 10 hour drive to reach the trail-head at bunny flat. My partner Brandon and I decided that sleeping in shifts in the back of the car while the other drove would be the fastest way for us to get down there. So, We left at 10:30pm to avoid memorial day traffic.
We arrived at Bunny Flat around 8 am stretched, changed and stared in awe at the huge mountain before us. Despite being exhausted by the 5 hours of sleep we each got on the long drive (sleeping in the car sucks!), we started the climb within just an hour of arriving.
Trail Head Sign
Ready to Start Climbing
After training for several months, I must admit the first part of the trail seemed relatively easy. It climbs slowly through trees until you enter Avalanche Gulch. From here the climb grows significantly harder as the trail winds between the many hills that line the gulch. The path is easily followed in the tracks of others, but because of the steep hill up to Lake Helen, I saw several people giving up before they were at the camp.
While not technical in nature, this first part of the route is a test of endurance. Of course ,if you are from the west and hike the cascades often, then it's just another day out with a little extra elevation gain.