View of Mount Rainier from the terrace of the Summit House Restaurant at Crystal Mountain Resort

View of Mount Rainier from the terrace of the Summit House Restaurant at Crystal Mountain Resort

This post calls to mind Katsushika Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, his series of woodblock prints.  Mount Rainier has a similar pull on artists.  For example, Tacoma woodblock artist, Chandler O’Leary, created her own limited edition fine art book with views of Mount Rainier — it’s called Local Conditions.

On a recent clear summer day, I took my niece on a drive to Mount Rainier.  The air was calm and clear, so our views of Mount Rainier were spectacular.  We enjoyed the golden glow of the peak at sunrise at Sunrise, distant views from the road, reflected views in Tipsoo Lake, and a high view from the Summit House Restaurant at Crystal Mountain Resort (accessible by gondola ride).  I had also just seen a high altitude view from my airplane window when I was returning from Minnesota.  Let me share these views of Mount Rainier here:

Floating in the clouds, Mount Rainier from an airplane window

Floating in the clouds, Mount Rainier from an airplane window

Gold-tinted mountain at sunrise from Sunrise Point, Mount Rainier National Park

Gold-tinted mountain at sunrise from Sunrise Point, Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier with alpine flowers, Sunrise

Mount Rainier with alpine flowers, Sunrise

View of Mount Rainier with White River from Crystal Mountain Resort

View of Mount Rainier with White River from Crystal Mountain Resort

Mount Rainier reflected in Tipsoo Lake

Mount Rainier reflected in Tipsoo Lake

“The mountains are playing at standing on their heads, and their reflections are even lovelier than the reality.  The water’s depth and mystery impart vibrancy to the images, and the trembling of the surface conjures visions at the edge of a dream.”
— Sylvain Tesson, The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga, translated from the French by Linda Coverdale

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow-capped peak of Mount Baker viewed from Artist Point

The Mount Baker Scenic Byway dead-ends at Artist Point, about 58 miles from Bellingham.  The road gains elevation in a series of hairpin turns and curves.  There are snow patches everywhere, including a tall bank of dirty snow in the parking lot.  The entire area at the end of the road is called Heather Meadows, and this low green plant provides the ground cover along with huckleberry bushes.

Winding Hwy 542 as it nears Artist Point

Greeted by a tall bank of dirty snow at the edge of the parking lot at Artist Point

Hikers have a choice among several trails that start from the Artist Point parking lot.  One thing I love about the Mount Baker Scenic Byway is that you can see some spectacular scenery without much effort, just a short trek from the car.  But if you want a more strenuous workout, you can hike some of the longer trails in the network.

I wasn’t prepared for a long solo hike, so I simply walked a short distance to Huntoon Point.  The views of Mount Baker were just stupendous.  At 10,781 feet, Mount Baker is the third highest peak in Washington State (after Mount Rainier and Mount Adams), and it is snow covered all year long.

View of Mount Baker from Artist Point

A distant view of the Cascade range from the trail at Artist Point

A glacier on Mount Shuksan

Two snags amidst the heather and huckleberries

Looking across to Table Mountain and a distant trail

If you look closely, you can see two hikers (the dark specks) on the trail.

Mount Baker with contrail

Moss-covered public phone outside the Visitor's Center in the Hoh Rain Forest

On my day-off work this week, my husband and I took a road trip to the Olympic Peninsula to visit the Hoh Rain Forest, a temperate rain forest in our state that averages over 12 feet of rain per year!  We caught the Edmonds-Kingston ferry across Puget Sound to the Olympic Peninsula.  It hadn’t started raining yet.

On the ferry crossing to the Olympic Peninsula

One of the Olympic Mountain peaks

As we drove Hwy 101 north and west, we left any sun breaks and saw low-lying clouds caught in the trees on the mountain slopes.  By the time we reached Lake Crescent, it was raining.  From then on, our windshield wipers got a real workout.

Clouds caught on the mountain slopes near Hwy 101

It was still raining when we arrived at the Hoh Rainforest.  We hiked the Hall of Mosses trail, a 3/4 mile easy loop, where we were surrounded by immense trees, ferns, mosses and lichens.

Hall of Mosses trail

Ferns growing out of mosses on the side of a tree

Mosses and ferns

This fallen tree was 190-feet long!

Even the river was full of green plant life.

Some of the prettiest scenery on our drive was the section of Hwy 101 along Lake Crescent.  This was a trip where the journey was as satisfying as the destination.

Magnificent tree on the western shore of Lake Crescent

Low clouds over Lake Crescent

Sign at the entrance to Glacier National Park

Viewpoint at the first bridge, just inside Glacier National Park at St. Mary's

The eastern side of Glacier National Park is accessed in St. Mary’s.  Because of highway construction, we could drive the Going-to-the-Sun road only as far as Logan’s Pass.  Because of the high winds, we cancelled our planned hike to Hidden Lake at the pass, but we did stop at the usual tourist spots along the way to the summit.

The eastern side of Glacier National Park is dominated by St. Mary's Lake.

Fall colors in Glacier National Park

Glacier Park peaks with glaciers

Sunrift Gorge

Fall colors in Glacier National Park

Worker directing traffic around the construction project at windy and cold Logan's Pass.

We follow a pilot truck through the construction zone to the summit at Logan's Pass

High winds at Logan's Pass. The Visitor's Center at the pass had no electricity or running water, as staff prepared to close for the winter. It was cold.

Cloudy skies at Logan's Pass

Sunrise enroute to St. Mary's entrance to Glacier National Park

We got up early for the drive from East Glacier to the entrance of the national park at St. Mary’s. . . just in time for a colorful sunrise!

Pink and purple clouds in a colorful Montana sunrise

Pink-tinged peaks in Glacier National Park

Morning sun lights the glacier at the peak of this mountain

Sunrise from Hwy 40 between East Glacier and St. Mary's