I’m still working on all of the pictures I took at Paradise earlier this month. This is a rosy spirea. This year they were just a bit past their prime. Here is one from last year. Its not quite as close-up, but the details are pretty good.
One of the more breathtaking (and, for me, breathless) loop trails that I hike at Mount Rainier is to go up Golden Gate trail to the skyline trail to Panorama Point.
Skyline Trail is well named.
The lower skyline trail is permanently closed, except for those adept with ice axes. So up one goes even farther.
There is a spot on the Upper Skyline Trail that has much better views than Panorama Point does:
But Panorama Point has a potty (as well as crowds of the many folk who hike directly to and from it starting at the visitor center.
I never go into this hike thinking I will make it, I give myself permission before I start to just go as far as I can and enjoy the beauty that I see, but I always do.
If you ever get a chance to go to Paradise, this is a great loop since many do not go beyond the there and back to Panorama Point, so you have less crowded trails. By hiking up Golden Gate in the morning you get shade for the steepest uphill. When you get above the tree line there is usually a nice breeze for the (not entirely insignificant) remainder of the uphill. There is some scree scramble but not too bad. If it helps you to gauge: I hike in hiking shoes (not boots), carry a mono-pod/hiking stick and don’t have exceptionally good balance. I am a bit nervous, but have never had a problem.
Strange name, but beautiful flowers. The alpine version is smaller than the description on this US Forest Service site. They seem to like little streams. These photos were taken above the treeline along the Skyline trail near Paradise on Mount Rainier.
It is good to take a few days away, where you can’t be reached with casual day-to-day communications. A few days when your job is to breathe in the mountain air and smell of wildflowers, and see the beauty in distant mountains and up close in the intricate pattern of dew drops on wildflowers.
We just returned from Paradise.
Every year we go to Paradise on Mount Rainier for several days. Every year it is the same, but every year it feels different as well.
Some of that is the way the season plays out, was there a large snow pack? was spring early or late? Is the weather hot or cool, clear or cloudy? Is there smoke from wildfires?
But some of it is what we bring to the mountain inside us.
This past year has seen several changes in our lives, including the death of two people dear to us and a great deal of upheaval from other sources. I am not gifted at dissimulation, and when asked how I was, I said “okay”. It was an honest answer, but it seemed to surprise the asker. I realized that the expected answer was probably “great!” After all I was in a magical place with good friends.
As I walked things out I realized that if I was truly”great!” after the events of the past year I might be considered a bit of a sociopath. In days of yore we had rituals for the loss of loved ones, including periods of time set aside for grieving, you wore black to let folks know that you were in mourning, so they realized that you weren’t “great!”
The meadows worked their magic on me. I can’t say that I went up “okay” and came back “great!”, but I did come back okay with being “okay” for now.