Sunday, May 14, 2006

The tallest of them all - Mt. Rainier

View of the drive to Mount Rainier

On our first morning in Seattle, a clear sunny day, we set off for THE mountain in the area - Mount Rainier.

Alder Lake - Comes on way to Rainier

Mount Rainier is the 5th oldest Natinal Park in United States. It is classified as one of the most seismically active volcano in the Cascade Range, second to only Mount St. Helens I guess.

National Park Entrance

It was easy to catch glimpses of the mountain from far off. Its height (14400 ft approx) is not much compared to Mount Everest (29000 ft approx). The reason it stands out is because the surrounding peaks and areas are not comparable in height. So it looks like this gargantuan presence standing above everything else in the skyline of Western Washington.

First glimpse of the mountain

Plus it is spanked by glaciers on all sides, actually about 36 miles of glaciers cover the mountain. These glacial valleys further cause the mountain to look even grander.

One good thing is that Mt. Rainier has not been converted to a ski resort and so it has not been commercialized. People can do cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing etc. on their own or some walks with the Rangers, but there are no lifts or marked slopes.

We approached the mountain from the Nisqually Entrance, from Longmire to Paradise. There was still lots of snow en route to Paradise, the snow falls being much more than usual this season. A lot of the trails were still closed but the visitor information centre at Paradise, where one actually gets magnificent views of the mountain, provided interesting information. There was a small documentary on the mountain also being shown.

As seen from Paradise

On way to Paradise, there were numerous lookouts where one could pull over to gaze at the mountain. There were a couple of short-distance trails also that were open and took to some beautiful viewpoints.

View of the opposite side from Paradise

An interesting fact is that the mountain was named so by an explorer Captain George Vancouver after his friend in the navy, Admiral Peter Rainier, but Rainier never visited this mountain named after him.

Another view of Rainier from one of the lookouts


travel plaza said...

Great blog you have!! Awesome pictures and content..Looking forward to more.

Pooja Aggarwal said...

Travel Plaza,
Thanks for visiting and all the nice words.Will be updating more soon.

Mridula said...

Pooja, I thought by looking at the pictures first that you were calling those beautiful places paradise but after reading your post I realized it is actually named 'paradise.' What an apt name. Even the first picture is very stunning.

Pooja Aggarwal said...

Well Mridula, Rumor has it that when the first travelers came to the place and saw the beautiful wildflowers with majestic Rainier in the backdrop, they just exclaimed "This is Paradise" and hence the name.

Prashanth M said...

Beautiful snaps...