Monday, June 28, 2010

The View From Paradise

After getting back to the car from my Rampart Ridge hike, with very tired legs, it was time to head for my domicile for the next two nights - Paradise Lodge. The Paradise area was named by an early settler who was viewing the wildflower meadows with Mt. Rainier in the background. She reputedly said "This must be what Paradise looks like." At about 5,400 feet elevation, Paradise looked like winter in Maine to me on this June 27. Mount Rainier, looming 9,000 feet higher than this area, was mostly in clouds but I could see some of the massive glaciers on its flanks.

The first thing I did when arriving at 7:30PM was to ask how late the restaurant served dinner, which was last seating at 8PM. I checked in to my small room (with shared bath down the hall), washed up a bit, put on clean clothing, and went to the dining room. First order of business: a Moose Drool Brown Ale, brewed in Missoula, Montana! Then, dinner! After eating, I sat outside in the chill air, thinking about 100 degrees back in Virginia, and watched a heavy fog roll in. "That's the last I see of Mount Rainier," I thought. For the second time that day, how wrong I was. I went back inside and attended an hour long presentation on the geology of the area, conducted by a National Park ranger.

The next morning, I looked out my little window and was shocked to see brilliant blue skies! I dressed quickly, grabbed my camera, and went outside. Mount Rainier, all 14,400+ feet of it, was exposed from its blanket of clouds, and the jagged sawteeth of the Tatoosh Range, formed something like a million years ago when a lava flow encountered a glacier, were prominant to the south. Before getting hot tea - I am a hot tea fiend - and a cinnamon bun for breakfast, and starting on my first hike of the day, I snapped a bunch of photos from the road of the magnificent scenery. The last two photos shown here were taken from the road on the way to my first hike.

Here is a pararamic view of the Tatoosh Range from the road.

Closeup of part of the Tatoosh Range.

Mount Rainier, mostly out of the clouds

Avalanche chutes on one of the Tatoosh Range peaks

Mount Rainier framed by evergreens

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