Monday, October 21, 2013

Mt. Rainier Day Trip

OK - the same preliminary stuff, different post.  Click on the pictures if you want them to get bigger.  The words may, or may not, be at all relevant with the picture they are near in the post.  Just follow along and don't be so serious and we'll get along just fine.

I woke up Saturday morning and made the quick decision to do a day trip to Mt. Rainier National Park.  I threw some snacks and water bladder in a backpack and took off.

This trip I wanted to see some fall colors in the park.  Also, I knew there are many trails beginning at the Paradise Visitor Center and extending up Mt. Rainier proper.  I wanted to check them out.

I was driving along the highway and came to Narada Falls.  I'd been there before when I was camping at Cougar Rock campground and did a day hike to Reflection Lake.  I parked the Jeep and trekked down the trail to get a good view.  If you'll notice in the picture below, there's a rainbow toward the bottom of the water.

Apparently the rainbow is there quite a bit as it is also on the picture description thing I took a picture of.

I left Narada Falls and drove to the Paradise Visitor Center.  I gathered up my backpack, put on the sunglasses to cut down on the reflection off the snow.  I started up the stairs in the picture below to get to the trails.  For those not in the know, Paradise is known for its incredible wildflower fields.  That's what Muir was waxing poetic about.

Almost immediately into the hike and I was onto the snow.  The trail location was obvious by the tracks in the snow.  In some areas more than others it was a post holing fest as I trekked up.  I didn't mind.  I hadn't been on snow since early summer in this same park and it was almost 60 degrees out.  In fact, I was sweating.

The views of the mountain got better and better the higher I went.  Above tree line was fabulous.  I think you can notice the glaciers in the pictures.  I did not go that far up.  Had I snowshoes and crampons and I would have.  It was such a great day to be hiking.

I used this trip to try out my new tripod thingy.  The legs are about six inches long and bendable to attach to tree branches, trekking poles, or whatever.  I went with the standard "tripod on a rock" setup for a selfie.

I was amazed at how many skiers and snowboarders I saw.  They'd hike up and then ski or board down.  I saw at least twenty of them on the mountain.  I was thinking, "That's a pretty good idea" and "it would be cool to put skins on skis to go up."  Another trip, another trip......

I made my way back down and checked out the visitor center.  It's pretty nice.  There's the usual Ranger's Station, a model of the mountain, a store, and some displays.  I recommend stopping in if you go.

I left Paradise heading east toward Box Canyon.  I'd never been to that part of the park.  I found the sign in the picture below on the ground on some very smooth rock.

The canyon is a slot cut into the rock.  The picture below was taken from the bridge on the road over the canyon.  The picture does not do the view justice at all.  I was wondering how far down it was and then.....

..... I found this sign on the top of the stone rail on the bridge.  I hiked along some trails at Box Canyon for a bit.  The sun was starting to go down and I still wanted to get to Grove of the Patriarchs so I didn't stay long.

Grove of the Patriarchs has many very tall and very old Douglas Fir trees.

To give some perspective of their size I took some random pictures of people on the trail as they passed close to one.

From the parking lot the Grove of the Patriarchs trail is a one mile loop.  If you're going to Mt. Rainier National Park I recommend this as an easy, but very scenic stop.

And of course there's my favorite pedestrian suspension bridge there.  It's maybe three feet wide and moves as you walk across.  There's a sign that says something to the effect of, "One person on the bridge at a time."

My trip to the park was a wonderful Saturday spent.  It felt good to be out in the cool air taking in the fall season.  All the pictures from Saturday can be found HERE.  As always, I recommend if you're headed that way to look at them, you click the "slideshow" button.

I've three days of work this next week and then some time off.  On one of those days I'll probably head back to the park.  There are some areas I didn't have time to get to.  On another of the days off I'll likely head back to Victoria, B.C.  I imagine fall in that city will be spectacular.

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