July 22, 2010

Paradise Area, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Probably the most famous and most crowded area of Mount Rainier National Park is the Paradise Area. Located at 5,400 feet elevation, it is one of the snowiest places on Earth. In fact, it used to hold the world record to recorded snowfall at over 1,100" of snow until Mount Baker in the North Cascades broke that record in 1999.

Glacier Lilies sprouting up where the snow has melted on Alta Vista. Mount Adams rises above the Tatoosh Range in the distance.

This past winter Paradise got almost 700" of snow. So, what does that do to an area? Well, how about several feet of snow still on the ground in late July?

There are a myriad of wonderful hiking trails in the area. But, unfortunately, they were all covered with snow. So, I made a 1.5 mile loop across the snow to the top of the Alta Vista hill for some spectacular views of the volcano, as well as, the surrounding mountains. I slid down the other side of the hill and the encountered the trail heading up to Camp Muir that the climbers use. There were people with big packs heading upwards, while I slid downhill. I followed that trail back to the visitor center.

Mount Adams (12,600 feet) poking above the Tatoosh Range

Staring into the crater of Mount St. Helens from Paradise. Notice the lava dome in the middle?

Paradise is famous for spectacular wildflower covered meadows in late summer. For now, all I could find were Avalanche (above) and Glacier Lilies, which are the first to pop up the instant that snow melts away.

I definitely want to get back there some other time when there isn't as much snow cover to explore the trails further. Maybe someday I'll even hike up to Camp Muir at 10,000 feet. Will I ever make it to the summit? I am not sure, I guess I'd better get extra adventurous soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic photos! I'm enjoying your site tremendously.