The center of Orting is a city park, and the trail goes right through it. Here is a good place to stop and eat at a restaurant or have a picnic. Also close by--grocery stores and a small shopping center.
There is an entire block of parking here, so it is a good starting place to explore the Foothills Trail.
Rafh, visiting from Hawaii, talks to his daughter, who lives on a nearby hill, while I think about never wearing the orange stocking hat again.
Rafh (his Bentrider Online username) and I head off toward Puyallup.
The trail zigzags a few times in town, but straightens out shortly.
The first few miles take riders past 10,000 identical homes. It is a spectacular setting for mass production.
The Foothills Trail is a Rails-to-Trails project, so much of it follows an old railroad bed.
We pick up speed here, since this area will likely be covered with thirty feet of mud as the next lahar rolls through the valley at forty miles per hour.
Coming from Hawaii, RAFH is no stranger to volcanoes. All is quiet on Rainier, except for a little steam coming out of the caves on the summit. It hasn't erupted since the 1800s.
Rainier is unique among mountains in the lower 48, have 28 active glaciers on a single peak.
The McMillan trailhead is a few miles from Orting, and also features parking, restaurants, rules, and RAFH.
He completely dismantled his trike and shipped it from Hawaii in a box so he could ride here.
The trail and car bridges parallel each other here at the Puyallup River crossing.
A few weeks earlier, flood waters lapped at the underside of each bridge.
The trail parallels the tracks for a few miles past the bridges, since the trains still run here. Then it winds between farms and residential areas in its own direction to the Puyallup trailhead.
The trailhead also has ample parking and restrooms.
On this ride, we met two trail patrol volunteers riding recumbent trikes. Besides offering their time to the Foothills Trail, they collect bikes from the landfill, rebuild them, and give them away on Freecycle to deserving people.