I know it’s been FOREVER since I put up a new post, and I know you’re DYING to see how we’ve managed to fit everything in to the one-bedroom apartment, but that’s going to have to wait for another day, because I want to show you the pictures from our trip to Mt. Rainier, yesterday.
Franke Tobey Jones has a great little 21-passenger bus, and Gary, the driver, picked us up right outside our building at 9 o’clock sharp for the ride up the mountain. We had no idea what the weather would be like up there, so we dressed in layers, and took sun hats, and off we went.
We rode for about an hour and a half – first through cities and towns and on interstate – then through villages – and finally through towering forests with lovely wildflowers growing at the base of the trees.
Eventually we came to the entrance to the National Park. Of the 17 people on board, including the driver, we had 6 Golden Eagle/Golden Access passes, so we all got in free (each pass allows the owner and three other people to accompany them).
There are several park “villages” or inns on the mountain, and we passed one large one on our way to Paradise – which is as high as the bus could go.
Many little mountain streams were carrying snowmelt down the mountain through stands of old-growth forest.
This is the beginning of the Nisqually River that flows through Tacoma and empties into Puget Sound.
(Sorry for the blur on some of these pictures, but I was taking them through the bus window and I sometimes got a reflection.)
At one point the road crossed the river on a bridge that was high enough above the riverbed that Big Al declined to look out the window.
They’ve had a very late spring, so the real rushing torrent of snowmelt is only a trickle, still, in the middle of July.
The clouds were still hanging low in the trees and we began to despair of getting a good view of the top of the mountain.
There was still snow on the ground in patches and under the trees as we climbed higher and higher, even down below the treeline.
And then, just as we reached Paradise, the sun broke out! That will definitely preach!
We walked through the parking lot to the lodge where we had lunch with a wonderful view.
Sorry, I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of the beautiful blue sky, the alpine meadows, and the great snow-covered mountain.
This is the view back across the valley where the clouds were still hanging.
You can see there’s still an awful lot of snow on the ground, although we got downright hot in the sun, and were glad to have our hats.
The fields of lupine with paint brush reminded me of nothing so much as blue bonnets and paint brush in Texas in March.
About 2 o’clock we reboarded the bus for the ride down the mountain.
The ride down the mountain was like a movie running in reverse.
Back across the bridge, but this time looking up the mountain the way we had come.
I was intranced with the ferns growing in that alpine forest. I think of ferns in damp, southern marshlands.
I was able to snap a picture of one of the many waterfalls rushing down the cliffs at the edge of the road.
There was a little more sun as we went down, than when we were going up.
The rest of the ride was uneventful and we arrived back at Franke Tobey Jones close to 5 p.m. A really great day!