Monday, June 29, 2015

Mt. Rainier, Wonderland Trail and Box Canyon

For location reference in the park we have been using the Stevens Canyon Entrance as it is closest to us in Packwood.

  We took the Stevens Canyon Road  10 miles up from the entrance to the Wonderland Trail and hopped on the trail for an out and back and then walked around the Box Canyon area on our return which is where we had parked the car.  The Wonderland Trail goes all the way around the park, 97 miles, so you can hop on at various points.

We hit the trail about 7:30 and were so happy we did not wait any longer, it was pretty warm already.  The high for the day in Packwood was 98!

The Stevens Canyon Road crosses over the Box Canyon of the Muddy Fork of the Cowlitz River:

The river flows 180 feet below the bridge:
 On the Wonderland Trail:

Note the beautiful water carved stone on the upper falls of this creek.  



Another beautiful nameless creek




 View of Rainier from Box Canyon:

One of two tunnels on Stevens Canyon road:







Friday, June 26, 2015

Skyline Trail, Mt. Rainier, WA

We drove back up to the Jackson Visitor Center yesterday to hike the Skyline Trail.  Knew it would be a bit tough, but it is so beautiful!  The loop trail starts at the visitor center and does a 5 1/2 mile loop...with an elevation gain of 1700 feet.  The left "side" of the loop is very steep and I would use poles and think twice if you have bad knees.

Once again, a picture perfect day!  So exciting to get up there and turn away from the mountain to see Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens all in one lovely panoramic view!!

On our way up to the visitor center we stopped at one of the Reflection Lakes:

 Off we go on the trail:
 There were lots of marmots out enjoying the morning sun:)


 Above the meadows we had to step stone across a couple of small streams:

 And we had to cross a few patches of snow like the people in the pic below.  If you look at the horizon you can see white capped Mt. Adams on the left, just to the left of center a very small, faint, white triangle is Mt. Hood and on the far right with very little snow is Mt. St. Helens.

Mt. Adams

Mt. Hood

Mt. St. Helens
Here we are at the highest point on this trail, 7100 ft.  While we were eating our lunch here we heard a rumbling that lasted for a while!  We could not see anything sliding or falling but were told it was probably either a rock fall or a glacial shifting which are very hard to spot.
 You could go higher as these folks are doing:

Mike hugging the rock wall for some shade:




 Back down through the meadows. What a day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mt. Rainier National Park, WA

We are staying in Packwood near Mt. Rainer for a week to check out the park.  We drove up onto the mountain today to go to the Henry M Jackson Memorial Visitors Center and ask about hikes and it was like being in Glacier NP....just awesome! I can already tell we won't have enough time here and will have to return.  It is beautiful!  Oh, and Mt. Rainier has about 26 glaciers!



We saw several waterfalls on our way up the mountain:



 The entire area is like a huge garden, dozens of different types of wildflowers everywhere!










The Grove of the Patriarchs Nature Trail takes you to an area with the oldest trees in the park.  They rival the redwoods in size!



Douglas Firs
 Mike is looking at a giant cedar:
 All the trees you see here are growing out of the tree trunk of a fallen tree.  But there are several different kinds of trees!

 These pics are from the Silver Falls Trail and all these beautiful falls are along about a 1 mike stretch of the Ohanapecosh River.


 Not long after getting back to Packwood we were visited by 3 young buck elks at our park.  Looks like this could be a daily thing:)