Cascades – Mount Rainier National Park

First look at Mt Rainier

I have been reading about Chris Townsend’s latest trip to the Cascades on his blog and TGO.  As I have only been writing my blog for 4 months now, I never had chance to post up my weekend I spent before a business conference in Portland, Oregon in August 2009.

I flew to Seattle, and after a suitable overnight rest near the airport, I set off in my rental car to Mount Rainier National Park, about 2 hours drive east. The first day as I was a bit jet lagged, I decided just to drive around the park, looking at the scenery. Here are some photos of the first day.  The weather as I drove further up into the mountains became very foggy, I thought great I have driven all this way to have weather, like I get in the Lake District : )

I have not bothered to post up the first photographs as you can’t see anything.  After driving around for a while, it started to clear and turned out to be a nice day.

damage by torrents

It was clear that much damage had been done to the forests in the area, by I guess glacier melt water.

I was more tired than I thought, so I headed for the hotel via the visitor’s centre to look at some possible hiking trails.

Next day, I was up early, always the problem with flying to the West Coast, and parked up at the trail head for Crystal Peak area. The weather was glorious, I set off up the trail, which started off in the shade of the forest, but eventually emerged into the sunlight. The trail wound up alpine meadows in slow, long switchbacks with wonderful views.

Long,slow switchbacks

I stopped for a while for a long cool drink, and took in the scenery, opposite was Mt Rainier, magnificent at 14,411 ft (4,392 m).  Standing here, it is difficult to imagine that this is a volcano, I read later on to be the one of most dangerous in the world,because of its  proximity to a large population.  Mt Rainier has many glaciers and could produce a very large lahar, which is a mudflow composed of pyroclastic material, rocks and water. Geologists can show that 5,500 years ago one such lahar from Mt Rainier, produced a wall of mud 460ft high (140m) and covered an area of 130 square miles (330sqkm).

Please God let me get off this trail and back on my plane, before this happens again!

Mt Rainier

The trail eventually climbs to  rocky ridge at around 6000 ft (1800m), with equally stunning views.

Looking down from the ridge

From this point, you can see in the distance Mt Adam, another volcano.

Mt Adams

Once I had taken in all this scenery, I simply retraced my steps back to the car and took off south down to Portland Oregon.  A simply great weekend and well the effort, despite the jet lag.

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10 Responses to Cascades – Mount Rainier National Park

  1. Blogger Zed says:

    Looks fantastic. PCT as a retirement plan?

  2. The scenery is fantastic. What a great way to spend a few months !

  3. -maria- says:

    A perfect way to recover from jet lag, Mark! Looks fantastic.

  4. Maria, scenery was stunning and I think this alpine environment is even more stunning than the Austrian Alps and that is saying something ! Wish I could have stayed longer.

  5. Just found your blog tonight from James Boulter’s and have enjoyed reading it. Felt inspired to leave a comment on this page as we have done several multi-day backpacks in the Cascades over the years, and loved every minute of them!

    • How strange, I have just been looking at your blog via James’s blog 🙂 I only had a short time in the Cascades – fantastic scenery. I will have a further read of your posts.

      • I’ve actually been toying with the idea of putting some short photo posts on my blog about some of our more recent backpacking trips in the States. The earlier trips were before the digital age when we used to take slides – slides that we never look at of course because it’s too much faff getting everything out! Might get round to doing that now after your piccies brought back some happy memories!

      • Good idea,I only started my blog in August of last year. I have lots of photos of trips before I started the blog which I have not posted up – never seem to get around to them !!

  6. nice one Mark, looks like a fabulous trip. A pity you only got a weekend there

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