We are in Mount Rainier National Park with two of my sisters and a cousin and their families. For the last 3 days, we have been seeing the park around Paradise. What an appropriate name! We have also enjoyed seeing one sister's new property, 8 acres adjoining the National Park with two cabins up the hillside. It's a lovely place and I am sure they will enjoy it for many years.
Mount Rainier is a magnificent large mountain peak, about 14,400 feet high. This is the largest mointain in the lower 48 states in volume although 4 others have higher elevation. But it is one big mountain, and not "just" a part of a larger mountain chain.
We spent time hiking around Paradise and more. The first trail took us to the view of the Nisqaully Glacier, and the headwaters of the River. The glacier has retreated from its traditional size but there is still a lot of it. The water coming from the glacier is grayish as it contains bits of rock scoured off the mountain by the glacier as it moves down the mountain.
They are doing lots of work here. The Nisqually Vista trail was open Sunday when we walked there, but closed the rest of the week as they rebuild the trail. And there is major rebuilding of the road from Longmire to Paradise, so there are frequent delays, but they say that you won't be delayed more than 30 minutes. Maybe. But the work needs to be done. It's a multiyear project to rebuild the road.
On Monday, we took the ranger led hike to learn about the geology of the park. Who knew that Mount Rainier was just 6000 years old? The Tatoosh Range just south is several million/billion years old in comparison. Then we walked the Skyline Trail to Myrtle Falls, then continued around to 4th Crossing Trail and back to Paradise, about 2 miles.
On Tuesday, we walked to Christine Falls, which is a really nice series of falls separated by swirling pools. You can see the bottom of the falls from the road, but if you walk up the trail to Comet Falls about a quarter of a mile, you get a much better view of them. They reminded us of Devil's Bathtub in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. We had lunch at Paradise Inn which is the spectacular inn located at Paradise and built in 1917. After lunch, we walked to Narada Falls, which is a sheet of water falling perhaps 100 feet. It reminded me of Burney Falls in California. They were taller but not as wide, and didn't have the extra feature of the mix of water, but still a great waterfall to view. I enjoyed the rainbow at the bottom of the falls.
The wildflowers have been spectacular. The season is a week or so late, and there are lots to see. We started by seeing the Avalanche Lilly and Beargrass, then progressed to so many different varieties that it is hard to name a few of them.
We are staying at Mounthaven RV and Resort in site 10. Two families of us are in trailers/campers and one in a cabin. It is a great place, recommended. It's not fancy but the RV spots are fine, and everything, including the Wi-Fi, works. Well, the Wi-Fi mostly works, better than in most RV parks. There is no Verison cell coverage. The only problem is that there is only one toilet and one shower and one washer/dryer for all of the RVers to use, and it has gotten crowded.