Mt Rainier - trails around the mountain

August 2008

Dave Svilar, Dad


A lenticular cloud appears at sunrise from Seattle Park.


Dad and Dave at the same tarn after sunrise.

Dad and I headed down to Mt Rainier in early August.  For me it was the first time I'd ever been to the mountain to do something other than climb it.  The objective was to get some good pictures while staying busy exploring the many trails around the park.  The best photos and best memories - as usual - were those that took place far from the car and away from the masses.  I covered over 50 miles on and off the trails enjoying Mt Rainier from the Paradise area, Tipsoo Lakes area, and Spray Park/Seattle Park.  Enjoy the photos.


Dad taking in big views of the mountain on our way up to the summit of Pinnacle Peak in the Tatoosh Range.  Hikes in the Tatoosh provide better views of Rainier than Paradise since the effects of foreshortening are reduced - the mountain looks bigger.



After sleeping in the back of the truck we tried to "cherry pick" some roadside photos at Reflection Lakes.  We should have known better.  The most annoying tripod I've ever been around showed up at the scene and forced us up onto the hillside.  At least it provided a somewhat unique vantage.



Top: Dave resting at our high point on a busy hike near Paradise.  Photo by Dad

Below: Dad taking the easy way down.


We slept in the truck at Tipsoo Lake trailhead hoping to get a good sunrise shot of Rainier.  The wind behaved but the sky didn't give us anyting spectacular.  The earth shadow creates the drama here.


Our scenic campsite and low point of the trip.  Unless you know better (we didn't) rangers assign backcountry travelers to campsites located in holes like this.  We didn't hike 7 miles over a pass for a campsite like this!  During the rainy evening I took a 2 hour hike back up the hill and found an extremely scenic meadow.  I convinced Dad that if the weather turned it would be inour best interest to wake up at 4:00 am and catch sunrise in the meadow.  The next morning our dreary, wretched little campsite was quickly forgotten....



One of the most beautiful scenes I've ever had the privilege to witness.  The lenticular cloud formed just before the sun struck the top of Rainier making the photos some of the best I've ever snapped.  We were 7 miles from the car, over one mile from the nearest trail and several miles from the nearest person.  Dad, who had seemed reluctant about the trip in general was as enthusiastic as I about this sunrise.

Bottom photo: Dad new favorite photo subject is taking pictures of me taking pictures.  The mountain is "blown out" here becuase he doesn't have a fancy filter like me (partially seen in this image) to darken the sky. 


Dad walking around the tarn.  The lenticular grew larger forecasting poor weather.  It rained the next day.


Dave and Dad enjoy a post sunrise breakfast of porridge and cocoa in the meadow.


Dad hiking off-trail towards Spray Park.


On our last evening I hiked more than 5 miles looking for a shot from Eunice Lake.  I was especially motivated because I had a photo from this lake on my wall during college.  I doubt the lake stays this calm very often, but unfortunately the sky was less cooperative - this is as good as it got.  Most alarming is the lack of snow on Rainier.  An Ira Spring photo (from the 100 hikes books) from the same place shows less seasonal snow at this lake, but much more glaciation on the mountain.  Global warming is a myth.

- written November 2008

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