Monday, August 29, 2011

Up at Sunrise

Up at sunrise yesterday morning to try again at getting to Sunrise at Mt Rainier.

Mt Rainier from Sunrise Nature Trail

Oddly, I didn't have a problem getting up early, I even drove. My daughter, on the other hand, thought she might want to go another time. 

It was a peaceful and beautiful drive in the early morning. It takes about 1-1.5 hours from our house to get there.

Mt Rainier and Cascades from a lookout on the Sunrise Rd.

Erigeron peregrinus  (mountain daisy) & yarrow

We stopped at just about every pull-out and view-point along the road into Sunrise (mainly to let people pass us as I was going about 20mph).


The night before, we made and packed lunches, snacks and water, placed out the binoculars and camera for the morning. As we stepped out of the van at a look-out on Sunrise Rd, we realized we forgot sunscreen and insect repellent as the swarms of mosquitoes honed-in and planned a strategic attack. 

We would have liked to stay longer as there was a trail, flowers and great views of the Cascades. We could even see a great view of Mt Adams this morning!

Chipmunk at Sunrise Visitor Center

Lupinus latifolius (Lupines / bluebonnets)
When we pulled into the Sunrise parking lot it was not even half-full. The weather was sunny and warm.
We still had an hour before the gift shop and interpretive center opened so we took one of the easy hikes up the Sunrise Nature Trail (if you want to call a 300 ft elevation change in less than a mile easy). The wildflowers* are amazing and so were the views.

Castilleja parviflora (Magenta Paintbrush)

I can get my central Texas "fix" by observing the sub-alpine  "Bluebonnets" and Paintbrushes here in Mt Rainier National Park.


For some odd reason, I have Julie Andrews pictured in my head with arms out-stretched in a blue frock.


Emmons Glacier view

We unanimously opted to have lunch in the van instead of the beautiful picnic area to avoid the insects.

After lunch we visited the interpretive center and took a short (and easier 1/2 mile round trip) hike down slope to the Emmons Vista Overlooks for a view of the Glacier and rock-slide.

Emmons Vista (one of the overlooks).

Upon exiting Sunrise, the parking lot was packed and there was a waiting line to enter the park. Coming back down the mountain, we noticed that there were parts on the road that had recent rock-slides  that were not there on the way up.

Overall, we spent 4 hours in the Sunrise section of the park.
We learned that hiking shoes are probably better than tennies and always come prepared. So...
Our plan for the winter is to get the proper hiking supplies, keep them in the backpacks and plan hiking day-trips for next year.

Till next time...


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