Back to Mt. Rainier

We got lucky last week on our latest visit to Mt. Rainier, managing to duck both the smoke and the clouds.  We hiked another part of the Wonderland Trail, a section heading west from Longmire.  The trail began in deep, Old Growth Forest

with ferns, fallen trees and bubbling springs.

After a couple of miles the Old Growth Forest gave way to 2nd Growth forest and open meadows

dominated by deciduous trees and shrubs, providing some beautiful Fall colors,  

which complemented Mt. Rainier’s fresh dusting of snow. 

Lake Louise

Although our weekly trip to Mt. Rainier ended this week because of dense smoke from numerous wildfires, we did manage to walk another piece of the Wonderland Trail by walking from Reflection Lake to Lake Louise last. week.  Unfortunately, my Sony camera suffered a malfunction at the beginning of the hike, and I had to resort to my iPhone 11 to take pictures.  

We had actually spotted Lake Louise on our Reflection Lake hike last year but had never visited it.  It’s a rather short hike from Reflection Lake, all downhill, except for the climb back to Reflection Lake.

It was the perfect hike for a hot day descending through a dense forest and crossing several creeks that feed the lake.

From the lake we could see the overlook where we headed next; it’s a lot higher than it looks in the picture.

This shot from the Overlook gives a much more accurate depiction of how far we climbed from Lake Louise.

Luckily, we reached the high point of our hike by noon and could enjoy the lush meadows that make up the High Lakes Trail.

Back to Rainier

We continue to have beautiful weather in the Pacific Northwest, and we’ve done our best to take advantage of it by trying to hike on Mt. Rainier once a week.  After our hike on the southeast flank of the mountain, we decided to hike the northeast flank.  Worried that there would be too many people hiking the main trail, we took another trail we had never done before and were pleasantly surprised — though we still saw more people than we expected.

The lack of recent rain was beginning to show as the trail was quite dusty and flowers next to the trail were looking parched.

This emerald lake hundreds of feet below looked mighty inviting, 

but we settled for a lunch stop at the much closer Shadow Lake.

Not sure where all the Canada Jays were, but the only wildlife we saw on the trail was this bold, little chipmunk.

Flowers galore, but none more striking than this Magenta Paintbrush,

Which isn’t to say that I ignored all the other flowers

even some that didn’t quite look like flowers.

Snow Lake

This summer certainly hasn’t been as exciting as I would have wanted, but we haven’t been locked in the house throughout the sunniest days of the month.  Nope, we have ventured out to Mt. Rainier twice in the last two weeks, though we’ve tried to avoid popular locations.  Our first outing was to Snow Lake on the south-eastern side of Mt. Rainier, giving us a different look at the mountain than we get from home.

Although flowers weren’t as abundant as I imagine they were at Paradise, they were still lots of flowers.  I stopped to photograph this flower that none of us could identify on our way up to the lake. 

I’m glad I did or I would never have noticed this grouse family, which was foraging right behind me.  Leslie and Paul who were just ahead of me never even noticed them, though they couldn’t. have been more than two feet from the trail.

We were rewarded at the end of the trail by a small, but beautiful Snow Lake.  

The trek back to the parking lot was made easier by the abundant flowers,

especially since taking shots of them gave me an excuse to take a short break.

It was a surprisingly beautiful hike, but it came at a price: the entire two miles were up and down, with hardly a level spot on the entire trip. 

Once we reached the parking lot it seemed like a small price to pay for such beauty.