Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hiking in Mt Rainier Nat'l Park

John and I went hiking yesterday, and while it's not food or gardening, I just had to post about it because it was so beautiful and exhilarating. I'm still hugging the experience and want to keep it clear in my memory as long as possible.

Mt. Rainier National Park is extensive (368 square miles) and offers hundreds of miles of trails. We hiked the Palisades Lakes Trail from Sunrise, which at an elevation of 6,400 feet, is the highest point that can be reached by car. Sunrise affords spectacular views of Mt Rainier (rising above at an elevation of 14,410 ft) and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range.

Here's John with the snow-covered tip of Mt. Rainier just discernible through the clouds behind him.

The trail cuts down along the northern side of the Sunrise precipice, and continues on through a series of valleys and ridges that are dotted with pristine alpine lakes. The first lake is Sunrise Lake--here's a view from the top of the trail:

More views along the the top of the trail:

After descending the precipice, the trail winds through several alpine meadows along the way to the first lake:

We ate lunch (tomato pesto and hummus sandwiches) at Clover Lake, which at 1.5 miles along the trail, is the second lake you encounter:

Some Gray Jays came to beg food from us; they were so insistent and adorable, we had to give in.

The hike continues on past 4 more lovely lakes until you reach the end of the trail at Upper Palisades Lake high camp... next time, we'll bring gear and camp there overnight.

The photos diminished as we hiked on and got into a primal, free-spirited, and light-hearted natural high that didn't prompt photo taking. Anyway, I wouldn't want to reveal the whole trail in the hopes that someday you can see it for yourselves, or at least create it in your imagination.

This trail makes a tidy day hike: 7 miles round trip, moderately rigorous--if you get an early start, you'll have plenty of time to tarry along the way.

Here are some other random shots:

Spot the froggy?

Pasque Flower mops

Lots of chipmunks here, although, none in photo

Mount Rainier again, just visible through the clouds in right of photo


  1. Rose,

    The scenery is so beautiful. It looks like you had a wonderful day hiking. Thanks for posting photos for those of us who spent our day in the city.


  2. That sure sounds like an ideal way and place to spend a day to me! I'd love a hike like that! Is there anything prettier than an alpine meadow? I don't think so... although those alpine crater lakes come close! :-) I love the photos of the Gray Jay eating from John's hand! And I do spy the little frog face peeping out from the water! :-)

    As for your mop-top flowers, I have absolutely no idea what those are! I've never seen anything like them! They're really pretty, almost like an ornamental grass. I took a quick look through my Rocky Mtn Wildflowers guide, but saw nothing like these. Those look like Purple Cone flowers around them, but your mop-tops' identity remains a mystery to me! Love them - and can absolutely see your reference to Dr. Seuss in them! LOL!

    Have you gone back to camp at Upper Palisades Lake yet? That sounds like a wonderful idea!

    Thanks for sharing this link with me!

  3. Laurie,

    We haven't been back there since, but we do hope to get some good hikes in this summer...we may just go back here again.

    Glad you liked the pics.



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