While this was going to be a post about sea kayaking the Skagit River Delta (so much to get out and do here!), with my waterproof camera and photos gone overboard, I'll share with you about hiking to Spray Park on Mount Rainier instead. And with the alpine wildflowers coming to their peak in August, I can't think of many better destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
After parking at Mowich Lake on the west side of Rainier, we hit the trail and meander a couple miles through forest. At the junction/spur to the Spray Falls viewpoint, we take the short detour for a look-see.
My cousin and I go gaga taking pictures of the mountain, the meadows, and the wildflowers. Because heavenly hardly describes how spectacular it is to walk amidst all this alpine glory.
With avalanche lilies crowding each other in their short, sweet burst of alpine summer, a breeze catching one catches them all. As I stand in a riot of lilies that quiver en masse in the light wind, I sense their life force straining to capture every second. Maybe it's the altitude and I'm drunk with awe from the beautiful setting, but I swear they are alive, just like me.
Once we get up into the meadow area, we just can't stop going higher and higher, scrambling another mile or so up the trail and over patches of snow to get even closer to the mountain. Some clouds have rolled in again, but it's still marvelous up here.
|Looking down mountain|
Hardier plants persist up here above timberline, but Indian paintbrush provide splashes of color in the more barren landscape.
Ultimately it's time to head down because we can't stay up here forever. Even though, at this moment, I wish I could.
Have you been up to Spray Park recently? We'd love to hear about your trip there (or another favorite wildflower hike) in the comments below.
When You Go
The hike to Spray Park is about 6 miles roundtrip, with an elevation gain of 1,300 feet. However, I'm pretty sure we went another mile at least and another several hundred feet higher. Take plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent; those pesky mosquitoes are also in a frenzy to soak up as much blood as possible in their short little life. The season is relatively short to hike up here, from mid-July into September and, possibly, October. Thanks to my cousin Andy for some of the shots in this post!