2 On The Road Blog

On October 9, 2004 we moved into our Hitchhiker fifth-wheel trailer and hit the road as full-time RVers. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rainier National Park - East side

Yesterday we combined a day of sightseeing and an evening of visiting friends. The sightseeing was a trip to the east side of Mt.Rainier National Park. We stopped at Morton to get a loaf of bread because I had used all our bread to make sandwiches for our trip. Too bad I left the sandwiches in the refrigerator and we ended up buying sandwiches at the Sunrise Lodge at the park. Gees! Anyway when we stopped at Morton we saw these five motor officers at the gas station. We guessed they were headed off to escort a parade or funeral procession.

When we first started out, we could see some lenticular clouds over Mt. Rainier but by the time we got to a good place to take a photo, the clouds had dissipated. Bummers. Look up lenticular clouds on the Internet for some very cool photos.

..Our first stop in the park was the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center. Named for a riverside Taidnapam or Upper Cowlitz Indian habitation site, Ohanapecosh is thought to mean "standing at the edge."


They had some interesting mounts of typical animals found in the park.



Heck the chipmucks and the chickarees go across the road so fast you can't tell which type just flashed by!




This is a fairly large bird, maybe 6 to 8 inches tall.




















They had displays of the most common trees in the park, which are the Douglas Fir (not really a fir), the Western Redcedar and Hemlock.












Yeah, I'm guilty of calling every cone I see a "pine cone".










Our next stop was a short hike to Silver Falls. It was all downhill getting there so, of course, it was all uphill coming back.


























The photos of the falls didn't come out because of the sunny areas but you get the idea.














Right up the road from the Silver Falls hike is the short hike to the Grove of the Patriarchs. This grove of 500 to 1,000 year-old trees survived the clear cutting of the 19th and 20th century. The trail was mostly downhill at the start.







Then we crossed over a bridge. This was the bounciest suspension bridge I had ever been on. The signs requested that only one person at a time be on the bridge. I think it was because of the way it swung. Anyway the bridge took us to an island created by a split in the river.







There was very fine dust on the trails. Some if it is ash that fell when Mt. St. Helens erupted.















..The trail went between two fallen trees. The next two photos explain why they fell the way they did.




















































..It's really hard to see but seven trees grew upon the stump of a huge tree but three of them recently fell together.












This is a better photo of how the seven trees grew on the stump.






















Most of the trail on the island was on boardwalk so the plants didn't get trampled and the soil compacted.










Here's a downed giant with scores of trees growing from it. It is called a nurse log.












After the Grove of the Patriarchs we continued north on SR 123 but turn and headed east on SR 410.
What's really weird about this photo is that we could see Mt. Rainier real well but it just looks like clouds in the photo.









Looking the other way we could see the tip of Yakima Peak.
















Tipsoo Lake is at the base of Yakima Peak.
















...As we walked around the lake, Nolan found some butterflies to photograph.



























Our timing was off for seeing wildflowers but there were sure a lot of these seedheads from the Pasqueflower.











Don't they look like a mop or a wig on a stick? I touched one to see how soft it was but it disintegrated in my hand. Just fell apart like a dandelion seedhead.


















..The trail had these breaks in it. I'm assuming it was so the hillside could drain into the lake without washing away the trail.












Yakima Peak from the lake shore.














Tipsoo Lake from a viewpoint.















After Tipsoo Lake, we headed towards Sunrise, at 6,400', the highest car accessible point on Mt. Rainier. On the way up we saw a sign at a pull off so we stopped. Here's what we learned.



























What the signs told us to look at.











Cool, huh?















Further up the mountain we came to Sunrise Point. The following are photos of a sign telling us what we are looking at followed by a photo of what we saw. Put the photos of what we saw together and you will have a panoramic view from Sunrise Point.






































































































Hey that red car in the background looks familiar....















Yep it's our car.















...Ok you can't see it from here, but if you walked to the top of the hill, you would see Mt. Baker in the distance.













































...OK we made it to Sunrise. View of Mt. Rainier from the parking lot. We're about 7 miles from it.











..The Sunrise Visitor Center. Well really the front two sides parts are actually living quarters for park employees. They are separate buildings from the visitor center.











There's a reason the Sunrise Visitor Center doesn't open until July.






























View of the Ranger Station/Lodge from the Visitor Center.














Amazing aerial photo from the 1930's when the area in back of the ranger station was all cabins. The whole philosophy of national park management has moved away from providing lodging so the cabins have all been removed.