October 10, 2020

Mount Rainier

by Rosemary

Mt. Rainier is an active volcano that last erupted more than 100 years ago. It is considered extremely dangerous; a major eruption would be deadly and would likely send smoke and ash throughout the entire area between San Francisco and Vancouver, BC.

The indigenous people called this mountain Tacoma or Tahoma. The ubiquitous George Vancouver named it after his pal Peter Rainier.

On our way up, we stopped at the Riffe Lake Overlook.

I liked this couple, driving through the park on a cool day with the top down.

There are beautiful views around every bend in the road.

The forest is lovely, but it can be hard to see when all those trees get in the way.

There are 25 glaciers on Mt. Rainier, although they are melting fast. The one most visible from the road, Nisqually Glacier, is shrinking 120 feet per year.

Nisqually Glacier drains into the Nisqually River. At this time of year, there isn't much water in the river. The width of the riverbed and the huge driftwood hint at the power this river will have when it fills with rain and meltwater in the spring.

Small as it looks now, the river runs pretty fast, and the bridge isn't much more than a log. We decided not to cross.

It's not possible to drive any closer to the top than an area called Paradise, about 15 miles from the summit. Here are sightseeing paths, colorful meadows and hillsides, small waterfalls, and the trails that lead serious hikers and climbers to the peak.
(This quotation is engraved on the staircase.)

At some point on the way home, the car decided Steve had done too much driving.

We were here in early October. The day was sunny; despite a prediction of 50F, the temperature was around 65F.