Friday, September 23, 2011

Comet Falls and other Mt Ranier Waterfalls on a Crystal Clear Day

On August 1st, Oscar and I decided to drive down to Mt Ranier so we could hike to Comet Falls.

Since we had already seen beautiful mountain views the last time we came, we didn't need to wait for a clear day. But we got lucky and had by far the clearest day I've ever seen at Mt Ranier. There are a few clouds around the base of the mountain in this pic, but there was nary a cloud in the sky by the time we got there.

I tried finding Christine Falls both times I visited Ranier before. This time I had the help of GPS coordinates.

It turns out we drove over it without even realizing it was there on our previous visits.

As we began our hike to Comet Falls, we could see several more drops leading down to Christine Falls.

We had a few glimpses of the mountain on this brilliantly clear day.

There was water coming out from everywhere. Summer is like Spring in Mt Ranier since it takes so long for the snow to melt.

This is Middle Van Trump Falls.

My guidebook says there are 3 falls - Upper, Middle, and Lower Van Trump Falls, but the latter can't be seen due to the shape of the canyon. So I'm not sure what this other falls qualifies as if not one of the Van Trumps.

Upper Van Trump Falls is quite impressive! I'd told Oscar we were hiking to a 5 star falls (the highest rating my waterfall book gives), and he actually started hiking back down the trail after taking pictures of this one. He assumed this was the one we hiked up to see.

But fortunately I knew that less than 1/4 mile later was beautiful, 5 star Comet Falls.

It's very obvious from the "shooting star" way the water falls why it would be called "Comet" Falls.

After hiking back down, we continued our drive around the park to search for more waterfalls.

Though we'd taken pictures from this viewpoint before, Oscar couldn't resist doing it again on such an incredibly clear day.

The mountain almost looks photo-shopped in.

We went on to find Ruby Falls. There's an upper falls you can see from the highway, but without our guidebook we wouldn't have known to hike down to the lower falls.

We'd seen Narada Falls before, but it was cool to see it from this viewpoint.

This viewpoint was one of our favorites from our last trip, but it was even better this time around. The picture is much less hazy.

This is Martha Falls, and our book told us we could join up with a trail that would take us up close to one of its main drops. But no matter how hard we looked we could not find it, even with GPS coordinates. We didn't have any more success trying to bushwack. It was several more miles before we saw the "Wonderland Trail," and we weren't up for hiking several miles back just to get a closer view.

Here's a mountain viewpoint we saw on our way out of the park.

And here's Skookum Falls, which was dried up considerably. Fortunately we'd taken a much better picture the first time we drove down this way when the waterfall was much bigger.

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