I had not been to Mt Rainier ever since I had made Seattle my home, and so Bryan and I made a day trip out there today. We first stopped at the Sunrise Viewpoint to the northeast, and then drove around to the Paradise Viewpoint to the south. From there we hiked up the mountainside for an hour or so, to take a closer look at the mountain.
Mount Rainier is the highest mountain of the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest, and the highest mountain in the state of Washington. Elevation: 14,411′ (4,393 m). Last eruption: 1894.
Glaciers are slowly moving masses or rivers of ice formed by the accumulation and compaction of snow on mountains (or near the poles). The Sunrise Viewpoint is northeast of the mountain, and Paradise Viewpoint to the south.
This is the view of Mt Rainier and its summit, after walking up just a few hundred feet from one of the trails starting at the Sunrise Visitor Center. This is at 6,400 ft (1,950 m) elevation, the highest point that can be reached by vehicle at Mt Rainier National Park.
The Alpine style day lodge at Sunrise Visitor Center.
Here is the view of the mountain from the south, from the new Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center (at the Paradise Viewpoint). Elevation here is about 5,400 ft (1,645 m). The trail on the right goes up, up, up to where the brilliant green ends. The trail is very, very steep at its start, even though it does not look like it is. Further up, we found large patches of snow to step onto. With a lot of summer weather remaining, maybe a lot of it will still melt.
A waterfall of melting snow on the rock face on the south side of the mountain. To the north face of the mountain, the Whitewater river springs from Emmons glacier – a milky white river, running very low at this time of year.
This ‘paint by numbers’ view is found looking south, after we had walked up for an hour or so from Paradise Viewpoint. Look for the faint outline of Mount Adams in the distance, top right.
A yellow sub-alpine flower that I don’t know the name of, with a happy bug on it.
Mr Chipmunk saying hello. Chipmunks are small, striped rodents of the family Sciuridae, same as the one that tree squirrels and ground squirrels belong to. They hibernate in winter, but wake up every few days to feed on stored food (rather than fat reserves).
Another wildflower from the Paradise Viewpoint. I will have to look for its name online!
Here is the scary part of beautiful Mt Rainier, stratovolcano mountain that it is. A large eruption will result in debris flows (the red), and destructive mudflows called lahar further down (the yellow). It is amazing how far away from the mountain, communities alongside the rivers, and in the valleys, are at risk. The city of Seattle at the very top of the picture will come out OK, it seems (but Seattle has tectonic plates in the Pacific, and the economic fortunes of Amazon to contend with).