It’s November here in the Pacific Northwest and that means SNOW for the mountain areas. We had some pretty good snowfalls already in the higher elevations of the Cascade Mountains, with a few inches at the highest ski resorts. It’s always a beautiful sight to see these first snows blanketing the higher elevations. I like the way the sun glistens off the fresh snow on the evergreen trees.
I took advantage of the lull between weather systems yesterday and headed for Mount Rainier National Park. I must have made the trip in record time. I attribute that to making mostly green lights through the suburbia part of the trip. There is just not a way to get to the southwest entrance of the park from the Puget Sound area without having to slog through all the traffic signals, either through Puyallap, or through the Parkland/Spanaway area. The congestion seems to get worse every year. I always feel sorry for all the tourists that have to put up with this traffic nightmare. I’m sure the businesses don’t mind one bit!
I made a side trip to the quiet, little hamlet of Mineral, just south of the town of Elbe. I never really explored this area before. Here is Mineral Lake, which is supposed to be one of the best trout fishing lakes around. Along with lunker fish, they have an astounding view of Mount Rainier. Unfortunately, I could not find an open spot to get a photograph. There are a few spots along the lake that offer a view, but all on private property along the lakeshore. There is a bed and breakfast, Mineral Lake Lodge, that claims to have an outstanding view of the mountain from their top balcony. It sounds like a really interesting spot. The only public access area I could find to stop and take a picture of the lake was at the public fishing area.
I didn’t hang around to explore any other part of the lake because I was in a hurry to get to the national park and get back home before dark. I arrived at the park soon after and made my first stop at Longmire. Boy, was it cold! I was glad I bundled up for the trip. Unfortunately, the mountain was not showing herself. Clouds were beginning to move in. I was able to get a few shots of glistening snowtops before the low clouds completely socked us in.
As I made my way farther up in elevation, I realized I was completely enveloped in the clouds. Light conditions were absolutely horrible for photography. One might as well have been shooting in black and white. It became so dreary and colorless. The park was absolutely still and quiet.
In the image below, the line you see running across, about half way up, is the road continuing upward. I continued to the juncture of Stevens Canyon Road, which is now closed until next spring. There was no sense in going any further, as the cloud situation was getting worse the higher I went.
I did stop by Narada Falls, though. The water flow was quite low compared to what one would see in the spring, and especially after our drought plagued year. I was happy to get a few good images of the very top of the falls.
If you do go to the national park, please be advised that you are required to carry tire chains in the car, now until early May of next year. Protect yourself against the elements and enjoy the beauty the park has to offer during the winter season.
All images property of Peggy A Thompson