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Mt Rainer - Day 2 Sunday July 24

The Road to Paradise...

View Alaska 07/2022 on Cybercsp's travel map.

Mount Rainier National Park was the fifth national park established in the US. It sees nearly 1.5 million visitors each year, a figure that is steadily climbing. On a clear day, Mount Rainier’s glaciated peak can be seen from over 200 miles away, soaring 14,410 feet above sea level. While the star of the National Park is the mountain itself, Jan warned us not to be surprised if the star doesn’t make an appearance; the unpredictable northwest weather means that Mount Rainier often disappears behind a curtain of clouds at any moment. But someone was looking out for us today, and we saw the mountain clearly...so you will too!

Fun fact: The rocks that make up the foundation of Mt Rainier are estimated to be between 14 to 37 million years old.

The Longmire Museum (built in 1916) and the visitor centers throughout the park reminded us that there is a lot more to this national park than just the impressive (and active, by the way) stratovolcanois in the Cascade Range, specifically Mt Rainier, Mount St Helens, and Mt Adams. The park spans over 200,000 acres, so whether you’d rather chase waterfalls, traipse through the magnificent woods, or climb one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, you’ve got options. So many options, so little time...

We were up by 6 AM (remember, our bodies are still on EST) and had a lovely breakfast at the Mountain Goat Coffee Bakery. Their breakfast scones were outstanding! Charlie ordered a 20 oz. Americano, and when the cashier warned him that it contains four shots of espresso, he replied "only four"?


Upon entering the park, we made a rest stop at the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center where I met a lovely young man brushing his teeth in the ladies room.

Our next stop was Box Canyon of the Cowlitz. The third photo looks down at the bottom of the canyon.


There were some great views of the mountain from Box Canyon.


Here is Martha Falls.


Chances are you’ve seen a photo of Mount Rainier framed by sweeping green pines, reflected in this calm lake (aptly named Reflection Lake, by the way). Now you have seen my version of the view.


Our next stop was Narada Falls.


Jan suggested that we walk down the short trail, as it would offer us a much closer view of the falls. Another great suggestion!


I hope you can see the rainbow dancing on the water.


On our way to the car, we had a wildlife sighting!


Our stop at Carter Falls (not that there are falls to see now) illustrated the power of the glacial activity on the rocky landscape.


After our visit to the Longmire Museum, the ranger suggested that we walk out to this suspension bridge.


From the museum, we walked the Trail of the Shadows. It was a peaceful walk where we could enjoy the smell of the trees and the blissful quiet.


The trail had many historic markers as this area was the first settlement in the park. Here is one of the oldest preserved cabins.


In case you wonder how Rusty Springs got its name...geothermal heat warms the glacier runoff water which rushes through the rock formations, dissolving the iron in the rocks; the oxidation (AKA rust) turns the water red and you have Rusty Springs. Enough earth science. In the early 1900, the Longmire area was marketed as a health spa.


After our hike, we enjoyed a much needed rest during lunch at the National Park Inn.


Heading back, we stopped to view Christine Falls from the road...


...but enjoyed a much better view when we hiked down the trail.


Our final stop was the Henry Jackson Visitor Center, located in Paradise. This area receives about 643 inches of snowfall each year, and is known for its meadows that are carpeted with wildflowers. Believe it or not, in late July we were too early for this! You can see some of the buds making their way through the snow. We did not complete the Nisqually Vista Hike because the snow was too slippery and frankly, I was afraid of falling. I was not alone...pretty much everyone (of a certain age) turned around and did not complete the loop.


But no complaints, because the views were amazing!


Back to the lodge for showers, and then some food and drink at the Packwood Brewery. Charlie enjoyed a Kolsch, a Vienna Lager, and a Porter. His photo shows the Kolsch. (There are always beer photos...my mother loves to see photos of Charlie drinking beer.)


All in all, a stellar day!

Photos are tagged Alaska and Mt_Rainer

Posted by Cybercsp 04:33 Archived in USA Tagged alaska mt_rainer

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