Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mt Ranier on a Cloudy Day

Mt Ranier is the highest, most stunningly beautiful mountain in Washington. It's the most heavily glaciated mountain on the US mainland, and it's only visible from Seattle and the surrounding area about 100 days of the year. It's only visible in total clarity about 30 of those days. My favorite place to see it is above the clouds when you're in an airplane, like in the picture above.

Since Mt. Ranier national park is a couple of hours away, we had to plan the trip in advance and Oscar needed to have the day off work. But since you can't always predict the weather, you never know if you're going to be able to see it or not.

We picked this day since weather predictions had been saying it would be sunny every day we checked it of the previous week. However, the day arrived and accuweather.com claimed that it would be party cloudy. But, since it said the sun would come out by 2:00pm, we figured we'd time it so that we'd arrive during that sunny, clear time.

Unfortunately, it never cleared. It was very cold, and we got brief glimpses of sun. We could not see the mountain at all, even though we were incredibly close to it. But, we still saw a lot of pretty stuff. The fog and mist gave the area a pretty dark green and blue color, the waterfalls were flowing heavily due to recent snow melting (the snow doesn't start melting there until June!), and we saw some pretty frozen lakes. Eventually we went back on a sunny day, but I think the pictures from this trip are still worth sharing.

Here we are at the first lookout. We still enjoyed the pretty trees and hills.

The sun was trying to come out.

But it never did.

At least the fog and clouds still look cool.

Oscar and I stopped off for a short hike at a nature preserve.

This stuffed mountain lion they had in the visitor's center was a bit scary!

You can see this waterfall from the main road.

The second lookout was quite pretty, and it's a cute shot of me!

There were a lot of short waterfalls on the side of the road we were driving. They looked really good despite their size because the flow was so rapid.

There was still plenty of snow while we were there.

Here I am at the next hilly lookout.

And I love this picture of me at the next waterfall.

Oscar enjoyed seeing the endless rows of trees.

It was pretty to look deep down to the water coursing through the ground and shaping the rock along its way.

These are some more of the many small waterfalls we passed. Oscar takes good waterfall pictures.

This was the beautiful frozen lake we passed. It wasn't nearly as pretty when we saw it again on a sunny day.

Narada falls is the most impressive waterfall in the park. We had to hike a short but super steep trail to get this view of it. You can see from the comparison picture that the flow isn't typically as intense as it was the day we saw it.

Oscar thought it was hilarious that this lady parked her walker between the cars as if it were a vehicle requiring it's own parking space.

And these final pictures are of the area that used to have an large river running through it. Now the river is very small due to large sediment deposits occurring as late as 2006, but it's still interesting to see.

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