Seattle: Mt. Rainier

30 08 2007

On my third day in Seattle, I took a sightseeing tour to Mt. Rainier National Park. I chose a 10 hr tour package with Gray Line of Seattle.  The bus driver, an older gentleman, was also the guide. He really made the trip interesting and fun. I recommend this tour if you ever make it to the Seattle area.

I had hoped I would get to see a glacier while I was there; however, the closest one has receded just enough that you can no longer view it from the road. Now, it requires an hours hike which wasn’t possible on this trip.


In the photo above, the glacier is right around the bend as you look up the rocky glacier bed. I guess at one time the glacier wall came half way down this bed. That would have been cool to see! 

The park itself is beautiful. I happen to be there during the mountain’s “spring season”. The wildflowers were in bloom everywhere. The douglas firs were gorgeous. Their limbs swoop in a downward angle as though the weight of the snow had forced them into that position.


Something else that was interesting was the damage caused by 18 inches of rain the park received over 2 days back in November 2006. You can read all about it at the park’s website. They have some amazing photos of the damage. Take a look if you have some time.

What was interesting was how the mountain and mother nature made permanent changes to the terrain. There’s one river in particular that no longer travels down its original path. It changed direction when the swollen river became clogged with trees and boulders during the storm. It has maintained that new direction ever since.

The park service had to build a new bridge to cross the river’s new path in a place where it had taken out a section of the road. It’s too bad they couldn’t have used the perfectly good, existing bridge about 1/2 mile down the road. Now it crosses a nearly dry river bed.


During my tour, I got to see herds of deer, waterfalls, rivers, and amazing views but there’s one thing in particular I didn’t get to see aside from the glacier: the mountain peak! It stayed hidden in a dense foggy cloud the entire time I was in Seattle. 





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