Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mount Rainier Roundabout

This mini-road trip post is more than a week overdue, but I'm simply not used to dealing with pictures that come from an actual camera.  I'm getting better at using Jon's Lumix rather than my slightly-crummy-but-still-kinda-fancy Android camera apps all the time.  Even though it's more work to charge the camera, upload tons of photos, locate all of the decent ones, and then adjust/edit them, it's worth the effort for clearer and closer shots.

Don't you agree?

On our pre-4th of July Saturday, we loaded up the car with snacks, water, hiking gear and dogs, and high-tailed it to Mt. Rainier for our first up-close-and-personal with the monstrous mountain.  And it is a serious monster of a mountain, people.

It took me nearly a week to weed through the one hundred photos I took on our little jaunt, so that is what I'm sharing with you today.

Our intention on this trip to Rainier was to do a couple hours of hiking (and maybe find a meadow).  We were met, instead, with snow packed 10-feet high in the upper altitude areas and Paradise where we had aimed our sails, so to speak.

In the end, we had ourselves a several hour drive with unfettered picture-taking and a few romps in the snow.  Locating my idyllic wildflower meadow is just going to have to wait until the end of August when we return for some weekend camping.

I can't really complain, though.

And neither can Ennis.  He loves snow.  He's like a snow-crack addict.  What you don't see in this picture is his head and fur completely wet from shoving his face into the icy snow and rolling around like an out-of-control barrel.

What a freak.

We followed Jon's trusty phone GPS navigator on a route toward the NE side of Mt. Rainier National Park, through Enumclaw.  This takes you down to the Stevens Canyon Entrance on the SE side of the park, and the road loops all the way around the mountain.

There are some great little turn-offs and places to stop and admire the lakes, trees and spectacular view...

Okay, well, the snow may have impacted the view just a little.

This stop happened to be where I almost committed a felony.  Important travel tidbit: Under no circumstances are you allowed to feed the wildlife in a national park.  Jon informed me of this several times, but I found it hard to listen.

I mean, you can't tell me it isn't tempting to grab the first food item you can find and throw it out of the car when this little baby comes out onto the road, begging ever-so-sweetly for some handouts:

Yep.  That would be a fox.  A real honest-to-God fox—fluffy-puffy tail and all!  We pulled up with one other car already around, and even when more and more started pulling up onto the shoulder, he wasn't too phased.  I swear I almost "accidentally" dropped my bag of almonds out the window, but I decided to just snap two dozen pictures of him instead.  He was easily no more than 10 feet from my car door.  I almost boober-napped him, he was so adorable!

Opting against arrest and leaving Mr. Fox to attend to his growing legion of fans, we carried on towards the mountain.  At this point, we were still holding out hope that a hike would be possible; even though we knew there'd be excessive snow, we weaved up to Paradise—one of the most popular spots in the park—to see what we could manage.

Turns out, it wasn't the snow that put an end to our hiking dreams.

Aw.  Sad day.  No more snow fun for doggies.

Probably for the best; it was a bit too crowded for our taste.  (Culprit:  Lions Club International held their annual parade in Seattle that weekend, hence the reason for so many individual tourists and families from abroad busying-up exploring the trails.)

That's okay!  We don't need trails!  We can create our own fun!

Okay, maybe not tons o' fun, but what else can you do in a parking lot surrounded by snow?

Anyway, driving down from Paradise, we escaped the snow and discovered some lush, green areas around where the popular camping grounds are located.

By this time, we'd already been out-and-about for six hours and counting (with a 2-hour drive home ahead of us), and our lack of hiking made me succumb to laziness.  Rather than searching for more places to snap photos of pretty things, I decided to do the best I could from the window of the car.

Eh.  That'll do.  Until next time, anyway.

(If you want to see some real Mt. Rainier photography, check out this stunning collection from professional wildlife and wilderness photographer, Jon Cornforth, here.)

*All images property of The Sleepy Peach

1 comment:

  1. It's such a good thing I wasn't there when you saw that fox! My high shreiks of excitement would have frightened him off, ruining the fun for everybody. I'd have been tempted to chase him though (a la that sea otter in Forks.)

    Regardless! Sounds like such fun! When I visit at the end of September, the weather will be nice and mild, and you can take me for a hike. =) Can't wait!