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.
It was clear that much damage had been done to the forests in the area, by I guess glacier melt water.
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.
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!
The trail eventually climbs to rocky ridge at around 6000 ft (1800m), with equally stunning views.
From this point, you can see in the distance Mt Adam, another volcano.
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.