When you only get up to the mountain once or twice or year you’re so impressed by its sheer height that all you can do is try to capture some of that majestic height, all the while knowing that it’s impossible to convey it with a two-dimensional photo.

However, when you spend a week on the mountain camping, especially in an area where you don’t see the top of the mountain every day, you start seeing other aspects of the mountain, particularly if Hao has graciously bought you a copy of Plants and Animals of Mountain Rainier and the Cascades the Saturday before your trip. (I didn’t have to read very far to discover that I’d missed an awful lot on my sporadic treks to the mountain.)

Camping and hiking next to the Ohanapecosh River, of course, also made it impossible to ignore the many rivers which originate in the mountains glaciers. Being awed by the power of the river isn’t quite the same as being able to capture that power in photos, but it did inspire me to at least try to capture some of that power.

Silver Falls is one of the more popular destinations from Ohanapecosh campground so naturally it was one of the our first destinations.

Silver Falls

Not sure this photo wouldn’t have been stronger if shot from below the falls, but HDR certainly made it possible to get a better shot than I could ever have gotten before.

Although Silver Falls was impressive I really preferred an unnamed falls above it. A solid granite rock blocked the river, forcing it to take a 90° turn to the right to skirt the rock. In doing so, it created a distinctive rectangular area where the waters constantly churned.

Ohanapecosh River

Not too far below Silver Falls the river took on a totally different nature, almost calm and serene, like the mountain itself.

Ohanapecosh River

Though the Ohanapecosh River is the dominant feature here, you spend more time immersed in the Old Growth Forest than walking beside the river. When you’re hiking it’s far too easy to overlook the magnificent trees because you’re just worried about catching your breath and watching for rocks and roots on the trail, but you only have to pause and really look around, and up,

Fir Trees

to remember just how magnificent these old-growth forests are.

And sometimes, if you look around while pausing to catch your breathe you notice magnificent boulders and rock formations in the middle of the forest.

Boulder in the Woods

If I had several more lifetimes to live I could almost imagine becoming a geologist just so I could understand how huge slabs of rock like this end up in the middle of an old-growth forest. Until then, I guess I’ll have to settle for the magic of it all.