Day 267 – Magnificent Mount Rainier, September 9, 2011
I think we drove close to seventy miles through farmland and
along the Naches River which runs through the trail laced Mount Baker
Snoqualmie National Forest before we climbed over Chinook Pass and rounded the
bend for a magnificent view of Mount Rainer.
The ice-capped Mount Rainier, a dormant volcano, stands at 14,411 feet
and towers over everything around it; lakes, evergreens, meadows of
wildflowers, and additional peaks.
After entering the park, we turned north and climbed the
winding road up to Sunrise, the highest point in the park accessible by
car. The road provided countless views
of Mt. Rainier, the Cascades, and the four mile long Emmons Glacier, the
largest glacier in the lower 48 states.
From Sunrise, we backtracked down the mountain and continued
south toward Silver Falls Loop, a three mile trail I wanted to hike today. The falls, which gushed through a slot in
ancient volcanic rock into an aqua blue pool below, were only about a third of
a mile from the roadside pullout. As
such I didn’t complete the three mile loop that appeared to turn into the
forest, but instead followed another trail that paralleled the Ohanapecosh
River, as I prefer hiking by the water.
The out and back trek was only about two miles, but plenty in the
shaded, yet humid forest.
I steered VANilla to one of the park’s campgrounds for the
evening and noticed the main road to many of the popular attractions I planned
on visiting tomorrow was closed for ten miles.
It looks like I will have to take a sixty mile detour…BOO. ETB