It’s wildflower bloom time in Mount Rainier National Park. There are hundreds of species of wildflowers in the park, and the most concentrated areas of them are in the subalpine Paradise Meadows. The image above shows colorful Magenta Paintbrush in the foreground.
This particular hike took me higher in elevation than I’ve ever attempted before, approaching the alpine region where one encounters snowfields to cross. This is where I stopped, as I did not want to risk any slips or falls on the slippery, melting snow. I encountered many groups of hikers, all geared up to trek to the mountain base camp, Camp Muir. Mountain climbers from all over the world come to Mount Rainier to train for other mountainous expeditions. It is a mountain to be taken very seriously. Because it is so tall (14,410 ft). the mountain creates its own weather; conditions can change in the blink of an eye. Every year, many climbers require rescue and some even perish.
So here are a few snapshots I took, looking behind me as I ascended. The first image show part of the Tatoosh Range, which is in the opposite direction. The second image shows the Nisqually River Valley. The headwaters of this river form from the Nisqually Glacier.
Here is a magnificent view of the mountain from the Glacier Vista viewpoint. Hike up a bit further to see equally magnificent views of the Nisqually Glacier.
Along the way I encountered lots of wildlife. Amidst the craggy rocks lives the Hoary Marmot. You can hear them calling to one another with whistling sounds. They don’t seem to be afraid of humans, either.
Another very common sight is the very cute Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel.
Another denizen of the subalpine regions of the park is the Blue Grouse. You have to be keenly observant and have sharp eyes to see these guys, as they blend into their environment. I happened to spot this guy in the distance, milling around in the foliage. What attracted my attention was some sort of quiet, peeping sound I was not familiar with.
One last view of the mountain!
If you want to attempt any high elevation hiking in the park, even if just for one day, please be prepared with the proper gear: hiking boots/shoes, trekking poles, water, energy bars, hat, outer wear, sunscreen, whistle, first-aid kit. And, please check weather conditions before heading out. Enjoy the summer and your national parks!
All images property of Peggy A Thompson