Hiking Twin Firs Trail in Mount Rainier National Park

If you love giant conifers in lush, evergreen forests, then you should check out the Twin Firs Trail, next time you visit Mount Rainier National Park. The trail is located in the lower forests of the park on the way to Longmire, when driving from the Nisqually entrance. You’ll have to keep a sharp eye for the rather small trail sign alongside the road. There is a small pull-over next to the entrance to the trail as well as another pull-over at the trail exit, not far down the road. Only a handful of cars are able to accommodate these parking areas; but, at the same time, you can be rest assured that the trail won’t be overcrowded. The trail may be short, but you won’t be disappointed in what you will find: giant Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar abound along with an abundance of lush, bright green moss and other moisture-loving plants. Below are a few photos from when I visited the park last week.

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

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Autumn Colors in Mount Rainier National Park

October is a magical time in Mount Rainier National Park! Subalpine foliage display shades of purple, pink, red, orange and yellow. Most notable are the color changes of Huckleberry plant leaves and Sitka Mountain Ash along with their striking, red clusters of berries. The best of nature’s colorful displays can be found at the Paradise Meadows at the 5400 ft level, a 19-mile drive from the Nisqually entrance of the park. Come back during mid-summer, and the meadows with be filled with a plethora of colorful wildflowers. Below is a sampling of eye-catching scenery I photographed October 1st.

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

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Those Hardy Dahlias!

It’s officially fall, and I can’t believe the dahlia garden in our local park is blooming better than ever! Such hardy flowers they are! Once they are cut down, I know that it will be months before we see any flowers blooming again. My photographing attention will turn strictly to the autumn leaves and their changing colors, which have already have begun. With that being said, here are the last of the dahlia photos I took this past weekend. I don’t know how much longer the gardeners will let them stay standing. Our rainy season is now is full swing. Enjoy them while they are still here!

As an added bonus, here is a colorful seed head of a Dragon Lily that I came across nearby.

And let’s not forget the pretty Autumn Crocuses that are in full bloom as well.

All photos property of Peggy A Thompson

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Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls

I was pleasantly surprised that one of my favorite local city parks recently had a name change, from Tumwater Falls Park to Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls, located within the city of Tumwater, Washington. The park is privately owned by the Olympia Tumwater Foundation. The park was closed for a while to make fish hatchery facility improvements as well as general park improvements. As a result, there is now a new Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife fish hatchery facility on the park’s grounds along with fish viewing windows to watch Chinook salmon entering the holding ponds. What a marvelous opportunity to see these migratory fish in action! And right now, during the autumn fish migration season, one can watch the salmon’s acrobatic actions as they navigate the numerous falls and fish ladders along this portion of the Deschutes River that ultimately empties into Capitol Lake, Olympia. An empty brewery sits adjacent to the park, home of the once regionally popular Olympia Brewing Company. The salmon fish run is active from September to mid October. Come and enjoy the fish and the falls and the trails!

Look closely and you can see the dark image of a salmon jumping half way up the waterfall.

Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls is open daily and is free to the public.

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

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Autumn Woodland Plants and Seed Pods

I love to walk in woodland gardens to watch how plants grow and change with the seasons. It’s fascinating to watch how plants change color, not just with tree leaves, but ground foliage as well during the autumn time. I love to photograph these changes. Sharp contrasts in colors make for some very interesting eye-appealing photos. With most flowers and plants withering and dying this time of year, I start to look for their seed pods. Many plants have some really fascinating seed pods and seed heads! And some are very bright and colorful! Here is an assortment of photos I recently took on a walk through a woodland garden.

Spores on the underside leaves of Hart’s Tongue
Variegated Hosta
Jack-in-the-Pulpit seed head
Jack-in-the-Pulpit seed head
Japanese Grass seeds
Magnolia seed pods
Maidenhair Fern and Bloodroot
Pacific Bleeding Heart plants
Arisaema species seed head

All photos property of Peggy A Thompson

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