In a New Light

When you’ve lived in Mt. Rainier’s presence for 77 years like I have, it’s easy to assume you know it as well as you do the back of your hand.  That assumption might even be reaffirmed by taking the same spectacular hike every year for several years in a row.

When we talked about spending the day on Mt. Rainier, I wanted to take our usual hike from Sunrise, but Leslie and Paul wanted to do the Naches Peak Loop Trail on the east side of the mountain, a trail I’ve never taken. Though I still want to repeat the Sunrise trek some time this year, by the end of the day I was glad we had taken a new trail.

In our first sighting from the east side of the mountain, Rainier was almost obscured by massive ramparts

something I had never noticed before.

Nearer the top of the Naches trail, the ramparts disappeared, and Rainier seemed its usual serene self,

but, as we completed the loop and dropped in elevation, those ramparts seemed even more formidable than they had from a distance.

After our hike, we completed the loop around the mountain where I took this picture almost directly south of Rainier

and got an entirely different view of the ridge line.  It turned out that I didn’t really know the mountain quite as well as I thought I did.

If forecasters are right, the mountain will change even more radically with Climate Change.  It’s clear that many of the glaciers are already receding and will continue to do so.  Personally, I hope I’m never around to see Rainier without glaciers.  It would be like seeing Mt. Olympus without its Gods.

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