Mount Rainier National Park

This was my primary destination for the day.  I had forgotten how big and impressive it is from a distance.  The first time I saw it today was when I got off the highway over near Yakima.  It can also be seen quite clearly from Seattle, which is 54 miles away, as it rises well above the horizon.  It is an imposing sight.

At 14,411 feet Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in Washington State (there are some even taller ones in Colorado and California).  I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in Colorado in a few weeks so I should be able to show you those at that time.  California is on my list for next year, as is Alaska which has the highest mountains in the United States.

The main Visitor Center for Rainier is located up at 6,400 feet (the highest they let you drive) in an area called Sunrise, which is where I took the bottom photo.  There is also a parking area called Paradise, which has an elevation of 5,400 feet, and is where I took the photo in the post below.

I only went through the east side of the Park today.  Tomorrow I plan to go through the south side of the Park on my way down to Mount Saint Helens.

Cave on Mount Rainier?


This is another picture taken with my new camera.  The “cave” is above the big gray spot near the center of the mountain in the lower photo in the post above (did you follow all that?).

I think this looks like a cave, possibly a base camp shown on the official Mount Rainier site map.  But a person in the Visitor Center said it is just a fluke of how the snow and ice have broken away and shifted, exposing a small portion of the mountain itself.

Color me skeptical.

Using binoculars (and even with the naked eye) you could see various places where there have been mini avalanches.  Believe me, you are seeing a LOT of snow!

Yakima Canyon, Washington



As I traveled south from Leavenworth to get to my first “official” set of scenic roads for the day I took some other scenic back roads and passed through Yakima Canyon.  I took the top picture with my cell phone camera, which is how all the other pictures you have seen thus far were taken.  When I stopped to take a picture of the river I saw a guy walking back to his truck (if you have good eyes you can see him on the left side of the picture, wearing a maroon shirt).  He was carrying a camera with a very substantial zoom lens.  He had been taking pictures of a bald eagle, apparently bring food back to her young’uns in the nest.

I am particularly pleased with how well the bottom picture turned out.  I took it with my new Canon digital camera with a 0-50x zoom lens.  I bought it while I was in Bozeman, Montana but it has taken me a few days to get it operational and figure out how to transfer the pictures to my computer.  It has wi-fi capability (ain’t technology great?).

I bought the camera primarily to help take better wildlife pictures and it looks like it is up to the task.  I’ll be posting some comparison pictures in the coming days.

By the way, the nest was in the rightmost tall tree on the left of the first picture.  I had driven further up the road but was still pretty far from the tree.  My cell phone camera wouldn’t even come close to this!

Leavenworth, Washington

I passed through this town on the way back to Wenatchee yesterday and decided to go back this morning to take a few pictures.  Leavenworth is only about 20 miles from Wenatchee and has a Swiss/Bavarian theme.  I have now been to several towns like this in various parts of the country. They are all very charming and picturesque.

I stopped by here again on the way home tonight (it was on my route anyway) and had dinner, which included the best sauerkraut I have ever eaten and, of course, a cold Rainier beer!