High up at Mount Rainier National Park’s Paradise Meadows, spring is a little bit slow to start. I like to think of the classic jazz melody, Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year. And, this year is no exception for the sleeping giant’s paradise playground. This week I spent a good part of a day exploring what trails were partially open. I say ‘partially’ due to the fact that mother nature still has much of the walking terrain covered in snow. Yes, snow! Don’t get me wrong, though. The roadways and parking lots are free of snow. It’s just the hiking trails that aren’t completely free of the white stuff, just yet. Give it a few more weeks, if the weather continues to be on the extra warm side, and conditions will be much improved. Last year, the trails weren’t completely open until mid August. Now, that was really weird.
I decided to amble up the short and popular hike to Myrtle Falls. I had my trekking poles with me to assist my balance over the patches of melting snow. Once at the falls, the rest of the trail is off limits due to the snow fields. The falls is spectacular right now, as one would imagine, with all the snow melting.
As I walked up and down the meadow trails, I took notice of the many, spring wildflowers that were in bloom. The meadows are awash with the first blooms of the season, namely Avalanche Lilies and Glacier Lilies. The Pink Heather are making a good start, as well. I spotted a few Bear Grass blooms, some very pretty, pink Penstemon, orange Paintbrush, purple Lupine, and Rosy Spirea. There are so many different species of wildflowers in the park; a flower identification chart would be very helpful when visiting. Here’s a few snapshots I took.
If you have a chance, visit the Paradise Meadows this month before all the lilies disappear. They were soon be replaced by lush amounts of Lupine, making for some gorgeous, blue meadows, along with wonderful fragrances. Of course, there will be myriads of other summer blooms, as well. Be sure to bring your sunscreen and bug repellant when planning to walk on the trails. Happy trailing!
©Peggy A Thompson