Monday, September 14, 2015

Sunrise Lodge, Mt. Rainier

What is a visit to Washington without getting up close and personal with Mt. Rainier? The day before my mom left, we did just that with a hike starting from Sunrise Lodge (northeast side of the mountain). The weather forecast projected rain, but the webcams still showed clear skies for the northeast side. After triple cross-checking the weather and webcams throughout the early morning, we finally decided to risk it and make the drive to Rainier.

We were in luck as the change in weather was moving in slowly, but never became inclement for us. In fact, the high cirrus clouds made for more dynamic photos!

Mt Rainier from the road to Sunrise Lodge

Mom and me along the hike

Looking out at the meadows below

More meadows with Rainier in the background

My hiking companions

Posing for a photo along the trail

With the impeding change in weather came the winds. As we made our way along the trail toward Mt. Rainier, the winds kicked into high gear and were blowing at what must have been 40 mph gusts. The harsh forces were a reminder of why there is so little vegetation at these high elevations.  Fortunately, we didn't have to endure the gusty conditions for the entire trail. The return route was on the leeward side of the mountain flank we walked along and provided protection from the winds.

Lots of triangles

We even saw Bruno Mars on the trail! Haha!

Out of the wind and on our way back to the lodge.

Can't get enough of this view!

While eating lunch, we had a visit from some of my favorite birds--the Gray Jays! I've never seen such a consistently curious species of bird. If they think you have food or hear the slightest rustle of someone in a bag, they come out of the woodwork to see what goodies they can snag. Below are some photos of them checking out our lunches.

Using Craig as bird bait (photo: L. Sells)

 Mom is just like Snow White with animals!

Rainier and cirrostratus clouds warning of a change in atmospheric conditions.

Post card views as we wave goodbye to the mountains.