Sunrise at Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park

Sunrise at Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park

We continued our exploration of national parks with a road trip to Mount Rainier.  We had to hit the road at 4:30 a.m. in order to arrive at Sunrise for the sunrise at 6:50 a.m.  Our timing was perfect, and we pulled into the Sunrise viewpoint with two minutes to spare!

Sunrise at Sunrise

Sunrise at Sunrise

View of Mount Adams in the distance

View of Mount Adams in the distance

We breakfasted with a picnic in the brisk, clear air — hard-boiled eggs, small tomatoes, pre-cooked bacon, cheese slices, rice crackers, mango juice.  Snow-capped Mount Rainier loomed over our picnic table.  Then we drove to the Naches Peak Loop Trailhead where we stepped out for an early morning hike.

“I could walk forever with beauty.  Our steps are not measured in miles but in the amount of time we are pulled forward by awe.”
— Terry Tempest Williams, The Hour of Land

Here are some photos from the trail:

img_0123

Reflection of Mount Rainier in Tipsoo Lake

img_0127

img_0128

img_0137

Dewey Lake in the distance

Dewey Lake in the distance

And finally, we ended our visit to Mount Rainier with a gondola ride up Crystal Mountain where we had lunch at the Summit Restaurant.  We sat on the outside patio in the blazing sun so that we could enjoy the view.

img_0154

img_0143

Summit of Crystal Mountain

Summit of Crystal Mountain

Gray jays

Gray jays

Mount Rainier from the Summit Restaurant at Crystal Mountain

Mount Rainier from the Summit Restaurant at Crystal Mountain

Our visit to Mount Rainier National Park was about as perfect as we could have wished.

 

 

Advertisements

Daybreak Over Tulips

April 11, 2016

“Distinctive realms appear to us when we look and hear by poem-light.”
— Jane Hirshfield, Ten Windows:  How Great Poems Transform the World

Daybreak with fog, Skagit Valley, Washington

Daybreak with fog, Skagit Valley, Washington

Dawn in the Skagit Valley

Dawn in the Skagit Valley

My niece and I drove to the Skagit Valley this weekend to see the tulip fields in bloom.  She is a photographer, like me, and therefore was willing to hit the road in the dark hours of early morning so that we could be in place as the sun rose over the farms of this region.  We had lovely weather, and the beauty of the breaking day was just awesome.  Knowing that these golden minutes were fleeting heightened their beauty.  I think that Jane Hirshfield’s word, “poem-light,” perfectly captures the dawning day.

IMG_6572

IMG_6571

IMG_6559

IMG_6590

IMG_6583

IMG_6584

“A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn.
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.”
— Emily Dickinson

Cranes at dawn from the blind at the Rowe Sanctuary

Cranes at dawn from the blind at the Rowe Sanctuary

Sandhill cranes on the Platte River at sunrise

Sandhill cranes on the Platte River at sunrise

“Soon after the sun fires the horizon, the crane armies rise in stupendous celebration, crossing the black winter trees along the river . . . . an exaltation of life . . . when the sandhills rose in thunder, swirling and climbing and parting into wisps and strands in the fiery suffusions of the sunrise.”  — Peter Matthiessen, The Birds of Heaven: Travels with Cranes

Yesterday morning we got up at 4:30 a.m. to drive in the dark to the Rowe Sanctuary, where we had reserved space in one of their blinds on the Platte River.  We waited as quietly as possible for the sunrise, and then saw the cranes come to life.  They left the river in small groups, headed for the corn fields and their day of fattening up.

This was definitely a multi-sensory experience.  The cranes vocalized nonstop from our arrival before dawn.  Thousands of crane voices, rising to the new day.  Wonderful.

 

Eternity Now and Forever

March 13, 2015

“Now is eternity; now is the immortal life. . . . Time has never existed, and never will; it is a purely artificial arrangement.  It is eternity now, it always was eternity, and always will be.”
— Richard Jeffries, The Story of My Heart

Dawn at Green Lake

Dawn at Green Lake

IMG_0651

 

A Cathedral of Anticipation

September 15, 2014

Watching the sunrise at Sunrise Point, Mount Rainier

Watching the sunrise at Sunrise Point, Mount Rainier

“But a summer morning when the sky first glows is a cathedral of anticipation.”
— Verlyn Klinkenborg, The Rural Life

Cascade Mountains from Sunrise

Cascade Mountains from Sunrise

Cascading Cascade Mountains at dawn near Sunrise, Mount Rainier

Cascading Cascade Mountains at dawn near Sunrise, Mount Rainier

Early morning departure.  Driving in the dark.  Arriving at Sunrise Point on Mount Rainier just in time to watch the sun rise over the Cascade Mountains.  Clear skies at dawn.  It’s worth sacrificing sleep to experience this glory even without the drama of illuminated clouds.

The dawning day at Green Lake

The dawning day at Green Lake

Another November morning, pink and gray,  at Green Lake

Another November morning, pink and gray, at Green Lake

“A human being would certainly not grow to be 70 or 80 years old if this longevity had no meaning for the species to which he belongs.  The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage of life’s morning.  The significance of the morning undoubtedly lies in the development of the individual, our entrenchment in the outer world, the propagation of our kind and the care of our children.  This is the obvious purpose of nature.  But . . . whoever carries over into the afternoon the law of the morning must pay for so doing with damage to his soul.  Moneymaking, social existence, family and posterity are nothing but plain nature — not culture.  Culture lies beyond the purpose of nature.  Could by any chance culture be the meaning and purpose of the second half of life?”
— Carl Jung

I am preoccupied with thoughts of old age.  I am well past the morning of my life, and I have a strong sense that the afternoon is waning, too.  This year, I am on the threshold of turning 60, and I feel that I am entering the evening of my life.  I may be getting a late start on embarking on a new path for the second half of my life.  I didn’t give birth to my daughter until I was 34, and I want to keep working at the library for another 6 years or so, and that means I’m still given over to moneymaking, etc.

But I agree with Jung that staying engaged and growing means changing my attitude and the mechanics of my life.  I feel lucky to feel passion for photography, watercolor painting, and blogging/writing, all of which absorb me and delight me.  I also admire people who immerse themselves in other people — helping and enjoying family and neighbors and strangers.  They, too, seem to lead purposeful lives as they age.  There are many possible paths for navigating the afternoon and evening years.  What is yours?

Watching the sunrise at Sunrise Point, Mount Rainier National Park

Watching the sunrise at Sunrise Point, Mount Rainier National Park

My niece, who is visiting from Israel, wanted to see some of our country’s national parks, so that was all the excuse I needed to made a day trip from Seattle to Mount Rainier National Park.  We were on the road at 3:00 a.m. so that we could be at Sunrise Point in time for sunrise at 5:22 a.m.  It was worth the early start.  Sunrise, at 6400 feet, is the highest point reachable by car in the park.  Mount Rainier with elevation 14,409 feet, looms majestically and dominates all views at this point.

The cascading Cascade Mountains

The cascading Cascade Mountains

IMG_3316

I simply loved the cascading shades of blue vanishing to white on the most distant peaks of the Cascade Mountains.  It was easy to see why the Cascade Range got its name, but when I read more about it, I was surprised that neither the explorer Vancouver nor Lewis and Clark called these peaks “Cascades.”  The first reference to Cascade Range came in the writings of botanist David Douglas.

Landscape at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

Landscape at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

Wildfowers in the apline meadows at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

Wildfowers in the alpine meadows at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

We didn’t do much exploring on the trails at Sunrise because they were still covered with snow, but the meadows were full of wildflowers.  I will share more photos of the wildflowers in tomorrow’s post.

Melting snowbank

Melting snow bank

IMG_3374

IMG_3381

IMG_3341

The trails along the Naches Peak loop were also blocked by patches of snow, so my plans to take my niece on this hike were thwarted.  We salvaged the day by indulging instead in a touristy trip up a gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort.  I had never taken the time to do this before, and it was fun.  The views from the summit were stunning.  We could see Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens, and, of course, Mount Rainier.  Altogether a wonderful day trip.

The gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort

The gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort

First vistas as you exit the gondola at the summit

First vistas as you exit the gondola at the summit

The gondola rode higher than the tree tops!

The gondola rode higher than the tree tops!

View with Mount Adams

View with Mount Adams

Wildlife sighting!  A chipmunk.

Wildlife sighting! A chipmunk.