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:

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Reflection of Mount Rainier in Tipsoo Lake

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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.

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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.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildflowers Near Mount Rainier

September 14, 2012

Beargrass in the meadow by Tipsoo Lake near Chinook Pass

The wildflowers are definitely one of the highlights of hiking the Naches Peak Loop Trail near Chinook Pass on Hwy 410.  They peak in late summer, so this is still a great time to go and see them.  Here are some photos of the wildflowers I saw along the trail:

Beargrass

Paintbrush

I believe this is rosy spirea.

And I believe this shrub is mountain ash.

Mountain ash with Mount Rainier

The colorful red berries of mountain ash

Meadows with Queen Anne’s Lace and lupine, among other wildflowers

Lupine

Foliage of lupine

I am not sure what this is — perhaps yellow dot saxifrage or slender mountain sandwort? Does anyone know?

It looks like this shrub is growing matchsticks!

Possibly Cascade penstemon?

Pen and ink sketches of wildflowers from my Moleskin journal

Watercolor sketch of magenta paintbrush

Another watercolor sketch of paintbrush

 

 

Mount Rainier reflected in Tipsoo Lake near Chinook Pass on Hwy 410

I just had to take advantage of these last sunny days of summer to head to the mountains for a day hike.  I love the Naches Peak Loop Trail for its stupendous views of Mount Rainier and its wildflowers as the trail meanders past several tiny sub-alpine lakes.  This is an easy hike.  Heading out on the trail just ahead of me was a family with a toddler in a backpack and a two-week old baby in a sling.  I parked in the lot by Tipsoo Lake and headed clockwise up the trail so that I would have Mount Rainier in full view for the last part of the hike.

Here are some photos:

 

The sub-alpine meadows are studded with beargrass.

Tall trees with long shadows cast by the morning sun.

Lush green along melting rivulets

Beargrass and Queen Anne’s Lace with the Cascades in the background

The trail passes along several small lakes

Shards of ice and ground frost in the shady stretches of the trail

Busy bees, butterflies and birds along the trail

Tree silhouettes

Looking down on Dewey Lake from the Naches Peak Loop Trail

The Cascade Mountains with cascading blues

If you walk the trail clockwise, you’ll have this view of Mount Rainier on the latter part of the loop hike.

The trail passes yet another lake.

A weathered snag

The final stretch, heading back to Tipsoo Lake

Trail sign with Mount Rainier on the horizon