Not Just Snow

This year’s increased snowfall has enhanced the beauty of Mt. Rainier’s many rivers and waterfalls.

Innumerable small falls line the road to Paradise.

Small Falls

Paradise Creek

Paradise Creek

seems more river than creek.

Narada Falls seems more magnificent than usual.

Narada Falls

Further down the mountain, Christine Falls

Christine Falls

causes traffic jams as drivers pull off the road to photograph it.

Rainier Wildlife

While I didn’t see a lot of wildlife on Mt. Rainier, particularly the ones I most wanted to see, I did enjoy those I did see. Most of the wildlife pictures I took were in camp the first four hours, before Tyson and his family, and host of other people, arrived at the camp.

I was greeted by this Stellar Jay at the entrance to Cougar Rock Campground

Stellar Jay

but I didn’t notice until I brought it up on the computer that it had been tagged, as indicated by the metal band on his leg.

Strangely, the only other bird I saw in camp, this Gray Jay (aka Robber Jay)

Gray Jay

was also banded. Perhaps that explains why they were actually quite shy, particularly for a Robber Jay, one of the boldest birds I’ve ever observed previously.

Although I saw several Stellar Jays in the three days we were there, the only other bird I observed was another favorite, a Varied Thrush,

Varied Thrush

the first time I’ve ever observed one in its native habitat, and outside my backyard.

Although I would really have loved to get a picture of the foxes and bears that all the campground signs said not to feed, all I managed to get a picture of was this chipmunk, who seemed content to find all of his own food:


In another year, when we could get closer to the mountain, I’m sure I could have gotten a picture of a Pika or even a Mountain Goat, but I certainly saw more wildlife than I would have seen if I’d stayed home typing on this computer.

Rainier’s Flowers

Unless there’s a real heat wave in the near future, I suspect there are going to be an awful lot of disappointed Mt. Rainier lovers because there’s so much snow

Paradise Meadows

at Paradise that the flower meadows are, to say the least, disappointing. And from what I was told, it’s even less promising at Sunrise on the north side of the mountain.

There were so few areas free of snow that I wondered if the rangers had actually cleared some snow so that there would at least be meadows directly around the visitors center. So, for instance, we were able to enjoy the lupine


and Veronica


while we ate our lunch on the patio. There was even one small Indian Paintbrush showing, but I found the best displays far below Paradise


Indian Paintbrush

while walking beside the road. In fact, I would venture to say that the very best flower displays were along the lower roadways. If I hadn’t been following Tyson and Jen, I would have stopped and gotten some shots of beautiful Tiger Lilies I saw beside the road on the way home.

Some of the best flowers could also be found along the trails, where I found a long stretch of Bluebells,


and even more impressive, white banks covered in delicate Avalanche Lilies.

Avalanche Lily

Down at Longmire, we ran into fields full of bright yellow “dandellions” and Daisies,


which seemed to best reflect the day’s sunshine.