Tag Archives: Mount Rainier

Moonglow Awesome

I had what, for me, is a rare opportunity recently. During last month’s Supermoon, I had the chance to go for a night hike in the hills around Mt. Rainier. It wasn’t a long hike, only 3 miles and a 500 foot elevation climb. But that’s a lot for me. I walk most days, but 1-2 miles on flat, asphalted surface. Not rocky, rooty dirt paths that are going up and down.20140808_200132

We saw deer feeding, mountain meadow lakes and wonderful wildlfowers. Hmmm. Painted Ladies were one of the flowers. I don’t remember the others.

We didn’t do this hike in an hour, or even two. It took us four hours. Mostly because we started early, then stopped at the halfway point with other hikers until full dark had settled over the land, so we could see moonglow on the mountain. I wish I could describe the look of moonshine on Mt. Rainier. I think I’ve seen pictures of it, but none of us were professional photographers with the equipment for night shots. There was an…effervescence to the mountain. It was awe-inspiring and a memory picture I hope I never forget. 20140808_210242

The second half of the walk was done by moonlight, which is a little intimidating for a klutz like me. There were a few spots where the trees were so thick, we had to use the flashlights, but mostly, we navigated by nature’s own light. And no one fell. I’ve never done anything like that before and it was one of the coolest things EVER.

This picture isn’t very flattering, but I honestly don’t care.20140808_205407 I was having SO much fun! And I hope you all get or have gotten the chance to see just how glorious this place we live is, whether it’s on a mountain peak or in our own backyards, eh?

Mount Rainier

We’ve been a little water-logged and chilly here in the Pacific Northwest. Even so, on the first really nice, sunny day we got, did we stay home and enjoy the warmth? Nope. Instead we headed for one of our favorite local places. Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in the Cascade Range. It may seem silly to leave 60 degrees Fahrenheit warmth and head for the 24 degrees it was at Paradise, a traveler’s mecca at an elevation of 5400 feet above sea-level. Maybe it was crazy, but it was a beautiful drive, a beautiful walk, and a relaxing day.

mtrainier6(photo compliments of Doug Benedetti)

So I thought, in amongst some pictures of the mountain (not all taken in the same visit), I’d give you a few facts about it.

Height:  14,410 feet above sea level (4,392 meters). It’s the highest mountain in Washington State and the 21st in the world.

mtrainier3(Taken from the visitor center at 5400 feet, looking at the peak.)

In 1792 Brittish Capt. George Vancouver named Mount Rainier after a friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. The Native American name for the mountain is “Tahoma” which means…Well, I found a lot of definitions for Tahoma and I’m not sure which one is right. The one I like best is “mother of waters”. I’ve also heard that it means  “great white mountain” and “the mountain that was God”.

It is considered an active volcano. It’s last eruption was approximately 150 years ago. It spawns 6 major rivers (Nisqually, Puyallup, Cowlitz, White, and Carbon rivers). And it has 25 named glaciers on it, the longest and thickest being the Carbon Glacier, 5.7 miles long and 700 feet thick.

mtrainier2Jim Whitaker, the first American to conquer Everest (1963) trained on Mount Rainier.

In the winter, you can sled, ski, and snowshoe. In the summer, the sub-alpine wildflower meadows are awesome hikes. mtrainier5

Each year thousands of people climb, or try to climb Mount Rainier. The last year I could find data for was 2010, when 10,643 tried and 4,920 successfully completed the climb.

And here in the Pacific Northwest, the saying, however corny, is that if you can see the mountain, it’s not raining. If you can’t, it is or is about to rain. Duh! 🙂

But oh, what a view!