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Day 268 – Magnificent Mount Rainier, September 10, 2011

I’m sitting here writing my post on Sunday, September 11,
2011.  I generally right them the day of
or the day after despite it sometimes takes even longer to get them posted to
the Internet.  My regular readers have
probably noticed that I always write the post as if I am writing it the “day of”.  Today, I have to say that I just noticed I
mistakenly deleted all of yesterday’s photos this morning off my SD card.  The card was full and for some reason as I
started my hike this morning, I thought I downloaded yesterday’s photos.  This event capped off a remarkably crappy September
11, 2011 which I will post next.  Anyway,
this post will have to be without photos…very disappointed to have lost my only
fox photo and my picture of Chris and his dog Bear.  Oh well, it could be much worse.

So today, Saturday the tenth, I spent another day in Mount
Rainier National Park.  Only to get to the popular area of the park, known as
Paradise, I had to drive from the east side of the park around its southern
border and enter from the west side due to the central road being closed.  On my way to Paradise, which was nice but not what I
would have called it relative to some other places I’ve been, I
stopped for a hike to Narada Falls.  The
falls were very close to the parking area, so I continued along the trail to two
more falls that were somewhat hidden by the surrounding trees.  Regardless, I was walking along a dirt trail
by the water where I only ran into a handful of folks on the weekend, so it was
my type of three to four mile trek.

From this hike, we followed the winding road past several
roadside waterfalls until we reached Paradise, complete with a visitor center
and Inn situated beneath Mount Rainier.
Many trailheads started at this location, thus I can see why it is such
a popular destination.  Several are short
and paved while others lead to hiking on the snow and ice.  Guided trips to the summit may also be
booked.  Had I spent another day in the
park, I probably would have explored a bit more in this area.

From Paradise, I continued east to Reflection Lake.  My first stop at Reflection Lake was sheer
disappointment.  The surface of the lake
rippled in the breeze and no reflection of Mount Rainier could be seen.  I did, however, meet Chris, a Harley rider
from Bend, with his dog Bear who sat perched on the back seat of the motor cycle.  It was so awesome!  Bear was happy as a clam just balanced there
as he cruised into the parking area with a crew of friends.  He told me to give him a call when I got to
the Crater Lake area again, so hopefully he will find my blog and we can
connect.  Besides, I need another
picture!!

A little further down the road was Box Canyon.  The narrow moss-covered, rock canyon was carved
by the grey river that flowed some 180 feet below the bridge.  The scenery changed so much in such a small
area: canyons, glaciers, meadows, pine forests.
Quite amazing!

Due to the road being closed, of course, I returned the way
I came, so as I passed by Reflection Lake again, the surface was close to
glassy.  I took advantage of the
breezeless moment and snapped a couple of fantastic shots of Mount Rainier
glimmering on its surface.  I guess I will
have to return to get them again!

Between Paradise and Reflection Lake is where I spotted the
speckled grey fox with a white tipped tail.
Technically, I believe it is known as a red fox, but its colors
vary.  He essentially smiled for the
camera!  I’ll find another one someday.

I spent until the late afternoon in the park before heading
west.  I passed through Ashford which was
holding the Mount Rainier Festival that mostly catered to kids and then
through Elbe, home to an old historic, white church.  The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad, a
steam-powered train, launches its 14-mile roundtrip through surrounding forests
to Mineral Lake.  It was a cool looking
train, but it was a hot day with no shade for my precious mutt, so I continued
on to Tacoma for the night.  ETB

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