Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Northwest Images: Mt. Rainier, Many Shades of Awesome

Iconic. Majestic. Powerful.

What other words would you use to describe Mt. Rainier?

For those of us who live near the Cascade Mountains, snow-covered volcanoes are our compass.  From Mt. Baker in the north to Lassen in the south, we gauge our location by the craggy, singular peaks on the horizon.

Rainier (Tahoma to the original Native Americans here) is the Big Kahuna of them all. It's the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states. It's also
the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States; if it sat side by side with K2, the world's second highest mountain, it would rise higher in the sky from its base.
From Paradise
From Chinook Pass

That's a lot of mountain.

Of course to those of us who live within its viewshed (which is most of western and some of eastern Washington), it's simply The Mountain.

From Sunrise area
We climb, ski, ride, and hike Rainier's slopes. We get married in its shadow, have family reunions, celebrate life's big moments. It stands sentinel to our lives here.

From Crystal Mountain
Destination Muir Snowfield
From Mt. Fremont Lookout
I could go on, tell you more about Rainier's history, geology, wildlife, and more. But there are lots of good sites for that, starting with the Mt. Rainier National Park website.

Mostly I just wanted to attempt to articulate how much this mountain means to so many people here in the upper left corner of the USA, especially those of us born in its shadow. It inspires awe, wonder, fear, joy, and a sense of stability (although geologically it's anything but stable). 

Rainier is our touchstone.

From Spray Park
From the Bainbridge Ferry
From above Paradise

While I've never reached Rainier's summit (like many I know), I have skied its snowfields and hiked its trails.

Going to shoot

How about you? Have you climbed Rainier? Hiked the Wonderland Trail (or portions of it), ridden the RAMROD, or just enjoyed a stroll through its wildflower-strewn meadows? What are your favorite memories of Rainier?

Jump in with a comment below!

Also, think about giving back to The Mountain/national park, via a donation to a worthy organization like the Washington's National Parks Fund, or joining a trail maintenance crew through an organization like the Washington Trails Association

Happy trails and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons!

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JoJo said...

I miss her so much. I lived in Bonney Lake for 12 years and she just towered over the town. If you visit my blog sometime you'll see my header photo of Mt. Rainier with the biggest lenticular clouds I've ever seen. It was taken in Dec. 2008 right before we had all those snowstorms.

Anonymous said...

First time on the summit was 4 July 1975, 40 years ago, think its time to make an anniversary run to the top. Its a beautiful mountain, full of history, challenges, and life.

Laurie Ward said...

Thanks SO MUCH for sharing, Jill. You're an artist in many ways. Laurie

Anne said...

What does it mean to me? Home. You may not remember this but when we were young and before you were born we would meet the Yakima relatives at Lake Tipsoo for mini-reunions. Or maybe your little curly-haired self was there for one or two of them before we moved south.

jill said...

Gorgeous photo on your blog!

jill said...

Go for that summit again J!

jill said...

Aww Laurie, you flatter me, thanks!

Anne, of course I remember the Tipsoo picnics!

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Lovely to see the mountain again and to remember a time when it was a daily feature. ("The mountain's out.")

These days The Mountain here (Fuji) is nowhere near where I live but I hope to see it at least once before we leave.

Lesley said...

Gorgeous photos. I'll share with friend Bill, as he and his kids may make another trip up to the summit in about 10 days.

alpine lily said...

Love this tribute to The Mountain!