Mount Rainier National Park - August 2005
Sunrise is the highest point in the park you can reach by vehicle. At 6,400 feet above sea level, the location gives breathtaking views of the mountain. And, contrary to all my previous complaining about clouds and obstructions, the day was perfectly clear, with hardly a cloud in sight. Wildflowers were abundant, and views of Emmons glacier were stunning. There are 26 glaciers that cap Mount Rainier, but Emmons is the largest and easily viewed from Sunrise. The visitor center at Paradise is certainly more luxurious than the one at Sunrise, but the mountain is more stunning at the higher elevation of Sunrise.

Mount Rainier is an active volcano and part of the Ring of Fire that circles the Pacific Ocean. At 14,410 feet it is the highest volcanic peak in the Cascades. In 1899 it became the nation’s fifth National Park. In the list of the park’s “human history” is a notation that in 1981, nine out of 11 members of a group of climbers with disabilities reached the summit. I was here at that time with Bev and Paul and a friend. We saw tiny specs on the mountain that were the climbers. This is possibly our fourth visit here, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

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