Sun 7 Dec 08

Some pictures from a week ago at Mount Rainier National Park. Jordan and I rolled out of Yakima with the intention of making the quick drive to Paradise from the east via Stevens Canyon Road. With precipitation-free skies and reasonably warm temps I expected the road up to be in good condition and didn’t give a second thought to seasonal closures. When we reached the park entrance though we were met by a locked gate. Oops. OK, plan B. We decide to drive up to Sunrise instead of Paradise; only a slightly longer drive, just as scenic, and someplace new for Jordan. Twenty minutes later we reached our second blocked road. OK, plan C. I knew Paradise is open year-round from the Seattle side, so we backtracked and drove all the way to the other side of the park. Four hours in the car. In the end it was worth it though as we arrived to a beautiful day with sunny skies and afternoon temps in the fifties (at elevation 5400 ft, no less). Pictured below: left – Myrtle Falls.

Plenty of muck and slush on the trail. We followed the skyline trail up (terrific views of Mt Adams and Mt St Helens) before slogging across a sloping snowfield to Panorama Point (elevation 6800 ft). From Panorama Point we hiked a little further up to Pebble Creek before running out of daylight and calling it a day.

A sign pointing out the hazards of the Muir snowfield. Given the weather, I think any open crevasses were probably out in plain view (not hiding under fresh snow or obscured by poor visibility) and there were skiers aplenty enjoying the slopes (you can see a couple of snowboarders and bootprints a plenty in the background of the picture where I’m chomping on an apple).

The drive home was significantly quicker minus the backtracking and plus a big shortcut on a national forest road.