Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mount Rainier

DAY TWENTY-FOUR (Tues., July 16th): Nothing can describe the massiveness, the power, and utter presence of Mount Rainier. It is 14,410 feet high, it has 27 glaciers on its flanks, and it LOOMS over you. And it is an active volcano. It has built up over time due to lava flows. There is a nagging concern over what would happen if there were even a relatively small eruption which would create a "lahar"  - a massive slide of mud and rocks caused by the intense heat melting the glaciers. It would flow down into  the Tacoma and Seattle area - densely populated. This was mentioned by both the ranger at Mt St Helens and in a film we saw at the Mt Rainier visitor center.

We drove first to the Sunrise Point overlook for our first view of the mountain, and then came back to the Paradise Visitors Center on the other side of the mountain. Mimi just wanted to climb to the top! We actually had a chance to talk with two women in the parking lot who had done just that the previous day. They explained the equipment needed and pointed out the route they took. 

We were exceptionally fortunate to see Mt Rainier clearly. It is usually shrouded in mist. Today was clear and bright in the a.m., then it clouded over and rained briefly - it sort of sprinkled as we were taking a hike up the Skyline trail. Nothing serious. It was a steep climb at first, and Mimi ran (literally) ahead while Ellen and I plodded on. We went by beautiful fields of avalanche lilies - new to me. Then we came to a snow field and I bailed out - too risky for slipping and wrenching a knee. Mimi went on and Ellen followed. They went a fair way further while I sat on a boulder, but felt sorry for me and came back much sooner than Mimi would have preferred!  Mimi completed her Junior Ranger work here too. She has three badges now, I think.

We did not get to Fort Lewis. You have to go through quite a rigamarole to get a visitor's pass. I considered going back the next morning but decided against it. 

avalanche lillies

Mimi & Ellen forge ahead

Mount Rainier in its glory
Tonight we are at the Shelton Inn in Shelton, WA. Wed - Olympic National Park!

No comments:

Post a Comment