Mt. Rainier – 7/1/13

Day 2 – exploring the sights along the south road at Mt. Rainier. Early morning to Reflection Lake, where, if the sky is clear and the water calm, you get the iconic mountain-and-mirror-image view. Ripples on the lake add nice texture, but it’s no mirror.

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Past Sunbeam Creek’s little waterfall as it crosses under the road:

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To Box Canyon, a slot canyon where the river has dug straight down and carved out a narrow channel through what are now high cliffs – very different from the dry, red rock slot canyons of Utah:

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meadow, flowers around the slot

meadow, flowers around the slot

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looking straight down into the slot

looking straight down into the slot

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We then headed to the Grove of the Patriarchs, along the turquoise Ohanapecosh River (no glacial flour clouding it up). A lovely hike in the woods, beside the water, and then you get to a little suspension footbridge to cross the river – bouncy, like in Temple of Doom, and only slightly scary. The bridge brings us to an “old growth” forest 1,000 years old (the last destructive fire), where Douglas Fir, Hemlock, and Cedar trees climb to nearly 300 ft. tall.  Even fallen trees, on their sides, tower over us.

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towering roots

towering roots

the Twin Douglas Firs

the Twin Douglas Firs

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Near the southeast corner & entrance to the park is Silver Falls trail. Beautiful, roaringly loud falls made a great lunch spot.

IMG_2989  IMG_2990 IMG_2991  IMG_2992 IMG_2993  IMG_2994 IMG_2995  IMG_2996 IMG_2997 Peanut butter, banana, jelly, and waterfall. Then calamity – camera in a puddle, dead. Aaaaaaghhhh!!!!!

We hiked out the falls loop to the road, then headed to Paradise (how could I complain?)! you drive up, up, to the Paradise Lodge and alpine meadow, which was almost entirely snow-covered on July 1st. The snow is melting so fast that the stairs from the lodge up to the trailheads become rushing waterfalls. We hiked up the snowfields about a 1/2 mile – that’s hard work to keep from slipping – and sat on a rock for a rest before turning back down to trudge and slip through the snow. About 10,000 people a year try to climb 14,410 ft Rainier, and 60% make it. Not me! But Paradise is the closest I’ve been to glaciers.

These photos are from the disposable film camera I bought in the Paradise Visitor Center:

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More views on the way out. I just learned that Rainier towers 1.5 miles above the next nearest peak, and nearly 3 miles higher than the lowlands to the west i.e. Seattle! Final stops of the day were at Narada Falls, just a short walk from a parking lot, and Christine Falls, best viewed with the bridge over it.

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[click each image to show full-size]

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