Friday, July 26, 2013

Paradise, Mt. Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier from Reflection Lake

 Last week we went to the Sunrise side of Mt. Rainier National Park, the weather did stay nice so this week we went to the Paradise side.  The picture above was taken at Reflection Lake.  There were small fish in the lake that we later identified as Brook Trout.    There were almost no clouds in the sky and it was bright sunshine.  The temperature got to 86℉ and was really too hot for strenuous hiking. 

First we stopped at waterfalls along the way.

Christine Falls

Narada Falls

If one is lucky and happens upon Narada Falls (see the Thursday postcard, #52 from 16 August 2012) like we did this day, at the right time with the right amount of sunlight the water acts like a prism and forms a rainbow. 

Sunshine Creek Falls

Lower Myrtle Falls
There was still snow at this waterfall.  The stream flowed under the snow and ice and reappeared some distance below.

Unnamed falls by small bridge

We stopped at a little bridge and walked down a bit to see these beautiful falls.  There was a series of falls above and below this point and a trail that led down but we just stopped to enjoy this one.  A small snow bank offered a chance to do a balancing act.

Our main hike of the day was supposed to be to Bench Lake and Snow Lake for a total of about 2.5 to 3 miles round trip.  We did make it to Bench Lake but the combination of heat, up and down steps, and thousands of pesky bugs proved to be too much to go the entire distance to Snow Lake.  I think I had a sign pinned to me that said “Dinner” just for bugs.  One other lady hiker who passed us said she thought her sign said “Blood Bank.”  Bob and I were each using a natural bug repellent and not Deet (a poison).  Mine was a liquid roll-on his was a lotion.  His seemed to work a bit better than mine so I will try it next time. 

Bench Lake
This trail has a sandy surface and is fairly easy to walk on but there are lots of the stairs and I find them difficult and tiring.  They look nice and give the illusion of being helpful to the hiker but in reality they are very hard on the knees and upper legs.  Trekking poles are necessary especially on the down stairs. 

We saw lots and lots of wildflowers, some we had not seen before, and a variety of wildlife.  The bear we saw was too far away for a picture but clearly recognizable as bear.  We also saw deer, elk, a Douglas squirrel—red not gray, birds, fish and a marmot. 

Avalanche lilies, 1

Avalanche lilies, 2
We were excited to see a couple of Avalanche lilies then happened upon an entire hillside covered in hundred of them.   They are another of the flowers that appear shortly after the snow melts.

Tiger lily
Pink Monkey flower

Cow Parsnip, 1

Cow Parsnip, 2

Broadleaf Montia, buds

Broadleaf Montia, open flower 

Shooting stars
Hummingbird and Fireweed
Just as I was taking a photo of the Fireweed a hummingbird zoomed in for a taste of nectar and the result was this photo.  

Rosy Spirea

Daisy – Heartleaf Arnica

Bog Orchid

Pearly Everlasting


Dinner at the Longmire lodge completed the day, or so I thought.  As we drove away the setting sun caught the mountain and it turned pink.  Looking back at Mt. Rainier from Elbe, Washngton most of the pink had faded but this was the first good stopping place after leaving the park.

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