I initially attempted to get a 93 mile Wonderland Trail Permit this year for September however was unsuccessful. Having lived in Washington for a couple years, and attempting to summit Rainier in 2016 (stupid altitude sickness around Ingram Flats got the better of me), I felt I could maybe conquer the mountain by circumnavigating it. It was a very emotional time during the permit season for the Wonderland Trail, which only becomes available March 15th of every year. You submit your application here, from there you wait two weeks of radio silence while everyone under the sun submits their permits, they have until April 1st. After that, it is first come first serve if there are available spots.
Now, you would think despite it saying something to the effect of ‘all permits submitted during the March 15th two week window will be looked at in random order’, many of the ladies in the most amazing Facebook Group ever ‘Women of the Wonderland Trail’ submitted their permit the immediate morning that it went live. I remember staying up until 1-2AM in the morning the night before, with my map spread across my desk trying to figure out how many miles a day and what camps I wanted to stay at. This was the hardest thing I had done in some time, sitting around in my pajamas with a beer in hand after a winter of doing not much of anything, guestimating how many miles I would walk a day in September ;P
Huge shout out to this amazing trip planner and elevation guide here . Spending weeks planning my trip it all came down to the night before. Armed with my map, a beer, and literally 50 tabs open in Chrome with every blog, itinerary, Facebook group, site open, I set out to finalize my itinerary. My better half knew most of the camp names by the time I was done and he isn’t even going! After ho-ing and hum-ing til the bitter end, I literally closed my eyes and hit the button. Submit, deep breath out, and a buzz from my phone stating the automatic email of “your permit has been received”.
Now you would think this would be the easiest part, waiting for the permit but it was far from it for me. I don’t like to have my life planned to a T per se, but I don’t like unknowns. If there is an unknown, my goal is to make it known, if that is left out of my hands I am a bit anxious and lost in thought. By the end of the four weeks Brian probably consoled me and bantered back and forth “what ifs” and “hypotheticals” way more then is healthy! Four weeks of watching the women’s Facebook group ups and downs of congratulations – I was just so through the moon not only for the women getting their permits but that glimmer of hope that I may be any minute, to impatient fretting. Welp – I got the big fat “denied”. I was grateful for closure from the emotional excitement but still bummed out. Fortunately during that time, I started looking at alternatives…