A day in Paradise

Trip Start May 06, 2010
Trip End Oct 14, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Monday, June 21, 2010

I went to Mt. Rainier National Park today.  Mt. Rainier is the tallest of the volcanoes in the High Cascades and dominates the landscape for 100 miles in any direction, at least on a clear day, which today wasn't.  It was very overcast most of the day with some fog and rain.  I'd say the weather was bad but I think it's what's expected around here.  My first stop was the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center for information about the park. 

After talking to a Ranger and getting some maps I headed to the Paradise Visitor Center to watch the movie about the park and see their exhibits.

Mt. Rainier National Park was the fifth national park created in 1899,  Since it has been a national park for so long it seems to have been maintained in nearly its natural state.  Unlike most national parks, much of the infrastructure was built before the CCC, although they did some work here too.

It was even more overcast when I left the Visitor Center so I headed for some waterfalls to photograph them.  The first stop was Narada Falls.  It's an impressive waterfall but between the fog, drizzle and the mist from the falls I didn't even take my camera out to try and get a photo.  Next was Christine Falls.  It's not that impressive of a waterfall but you can get an interesting picture of it framed by a bridge.  Then I went to Martha Falls.  It's way across a deep valley from the road so you don't get to see it up close.  Next was Falls Creek, which is right next to the road; you don't even need to get out of your car to get a close-up view.

The last waterfall I visited was Silver Falls.  It's the only one that involved a significant hike.  The forests here aren't at all like the forests I'm used to.  The Douglas Fir and Red Cedar are enormous.  Everything is green with moss and ferns everywhere.  And everything is wet.  The falls are impressive but I don't know that they're photogenic.  I'll have to wait until I see the pictures on a large screen on my computer.

It's probably morel season somewhere in the park although I don't know at what altitude or in what sort of habitat.  I didn't see any morels but I did see Chicken-of-the-Woods, coral mushrooms and some perennial polypores that were covered in moss.  The mushrooms seem to like this climate.  I didn't see any wildlife when I was hiking.  There were probably lots of animals around hidden in the plants.  I did see elk, deer, a couple foxes and a couple Ptarmigans while I was driving.  As far as I know, none of the animals have been re-introduced although some, such as the Spotted Owl, are endangered.

Maybe I'll have better luck with the weather when I return to the park tomorrow.
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Chuck on

Is the snow dirty looking ? I heard Rainier will make St Helens look tame.

wheresgordon on

Actually, the snow is dirty looking but that's because all I could see was the melting snow near the roads that has all the gravel in it. I'd assume the snow away from the roads looks fine.

I don't know how it would compare with Mt. St. Helens but Mt. Rainier has been active as recently as about a thousand years ago.

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