Friday, August 9, 2013

Mount Rainier Flower Update

Early light on the Tatoosh Range above meadows on Mazama Ridge.
Yesterday, I spent a long day on the south side of the mountain.  I left my home at 3:00 am, drove to Fourth Crossing near Paradise, and hiked up Mazama Ridge in time for sunrise.  I then ascended the Skyline Trail to the highest meadows before reversing my tracks and traversing the trail back to Paradise proper, using the Paradise Road to loop back to my vehicle.  Not done yet, I drove to Longmire and hiked up Eagle Peak!

I arrived home too late to process images to share (soon), but know many people would like a flower update before the weekend.
Mount Rainier above lupine at Paradise.

So here it is.

This year seems to be lacking variety on the south side.  Lupine are out in force, with paintbrush dotting the patches here and there.  The only asters I saw were along the Paradise Valley Road, and they were well past.  I believe this unusual dry spell we have been experiencing over the last 1-1/2 months may be having an adverse affect on some flower species.  It will be interesting to see how things play out.

Mazama Ridge is still a ways out, with both avalanche and glacier lilies still out in numbers, though well past.  I was disappointed with the meadows along The Lakes Trail, though there are some nice patches lower down, out-of-sight of the mountain, but in full view of the Tatoosh Range.  The same can be said along the Skyline Trail.

Paradise Meadows are fantastic right now - near peak, I would say.  The lupine are in full bloom and the meadows sport intense lavender color.  The area just shy of Edith Creek and the Edith Creek bridge crossing are particularly attractive.
Mount Rainier above Paradise Meadows.

Reflection Lakes are well past, and surrounded with construction.  I was going to drive down Stevens Canyon to scope things out, but decided the inconveniences were too much.  It was fascinating to watch the workers placing the stone blocks on the side of the highway though.  While many photographers are fearful of limited access to the lakes in the future, I think this project is bringing a much needed facelift to the area, and I'm excited to see it at completion.

Tipsoo Lakes and the Naches Peak Trail continue to have fantastic displays of a wide variety of flowers.  This area has probably been the most impressive of any place in the park this year, in my opinion.

Summerland is sporting a profuse display of Monkey Flower right now near the creek.  More varieties can be found up higher.

All of these locations share a common bond:  BUGS!  Be prepared!

Happy shooting!  I hope to see you on the trail!

Edit:  Images added 8/10.

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