Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mount Ranier on a Gloriously Sunny, Beautiful, Perfect Day

As mentioned in a previous post, Oscar and I recently took a trip to Mount Ranier National Park, on what was supposed to be a sunny day, and were unable to see the mountain since it was so gray and cloudy. We wanted to make the trip again on a sunny day, and since we had to travel a decent distance south to Ocean Shores for Oscar's half marathon Saturday July 10th, we thought it would make sense to go east towards Ranier before we headed home for the day. However, I was super sad to read that Friday and Sunday were supposed to be Sunny and clear, and Saturday was only supposed to be partly sunny with clouds. We were really sad we couldn't go on Friday. The picture below is actually our view of Ranier from the freeway as we were driving south on Friday evening.

The marathon in Ocean Shores was extremely gray and cloudy, so we didn't have much hope for Ranier. I called my sister to check the weather for me and she said it would be hazy with patches of sun. We'd almost given up the idea of going Ranier when we saw this spectacular view from the highway.

Apparently those few clouds you see at the base of the mountain were all there was, and they even cleared up for the most part as we went further east, getting better and better views along the way. Since we were coming from the west this time, we got to see a few beautiful lookouts along our way.

Even though it made almost an extra 3 hours of total travel time that day, we knew we'd made the right decision once we got to the park and saw this gorgeous view.

These views were included in my pictures of "Mount Ranier on a Cloudy Day." It's the area that used to be a large, flowing river that has since decreased significantly due to sediment buildup. The views here were definitely better with the sun.

I love these beautiful hills.

Our first stop took us to the Paradise Viewpoint. These were the stunning views that beheld us there.

I love this view of the endless trees interspersed with snow.

We were told that the Paradise Hotel and visitor's center parking lot was full, but fortunately Oscar was able to find a space. I really don't understand why it was so full since the view from the "Paradise Viewpoint" was much less crowded and much more beautiful, and you can't even walk to it from this parking lot.

This is the topographical map of the mountain from inside the visitor's center.

They had binoculars inside, and we could actually see a few people climbing the tops of these peaks.

I loved this frozen, snowy waterfall.

We had some gorgeous views as we came back down the mountain.

We saw a pretty creek.

A gorgeous mountain view.

And beautiful hills.

This is one of the reflection lakes. I think it looked prettier frozen.

This is the prettiest view of the lake, even though it doesn't have the peak in it.

I enjoyed the gushing water from melting glaciers.

As well as the plethora of sights of beautiful hills and mountains.

This waterfall is impossible to capture in a photo. This is a close up of one of the falls.

And this is a fuller picture of the waterfall, though you can't get the whole thing in one shot. It's super long and would probably be pretty impressive if you could get a closer view.

I snapped this pretty shot in this woodsy area.

On a clear day like this was, you can see Mount Hood near Portland, OR.

It was getting darker, so the pictures aren't as nice now. But they were still just as pretty to enjoy with our eyes.

I liked looking down into these views of water shaping the canyon below.

These were the views from the east side of the park.

Unfortunately the clouds started returning in the evening.

This is a shot going towards white river.

The sunrise lookout was our last stop, and by far my favorite lookout. It also had a hotel and yet was much less crowded than the Paradise area, which in my opinion wasn't nearly as pretty. We had to drive up and down 10 miles on windy roads, but it was definitely worth it for these great views.

You could see Mount Hood from here as well.

I just loved these gorgeous, tree covered mountains.

Such a spectacular peak view.

We couldn't stop taking pictures, though it was pretty cold up here. Luckily the clouds didn't detract from the pictures.

This is the western side of the Sunrise lookout.

There was still a frozen lake in this area due to the mountains blocking the suns rays from melting the ice.

I just couldn't get enough of these gorgeous hills,

this stunning peak,

and this cute husband!

The peak was so large here, it felt like you could touch it if you could only reach out far enough. It turns out, though, that we were only have the height in elevation as the peak is.

We're so glad we came to Mount Ranier that day! We had a lot of fun, saw some beautiful sights, and took fantastic pictures.

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