Mt. Rainier

Thursday, April 5th, 2001 my son Andrew and I went for a ride to Mount Rainier. It is a favorite family trip, but usually we would go in our Astro van. Since I have a new 2001 Audi A4 2.8 Quattro, it was time to take it up the mountain.

As an early birthday present for Andrew we decided to take a day off from home school to explore the wonders of nature nearby. We learned about atmospheric pressure when a bag of potato chips almost exploded as we drove up the mountain, and we saw amazing geologic processes at work on the mountain itself, the highest point in Washington state and the site where the first American Everest team trained.

We left at 9:42 AM from North Bend and got stuck in a minor traffic jam on 167 southbound before we got to Puyallup. Entry cost to the park was $10 and we drove right up to Paradise with two short stops on the way. We arrived at Paradise at 12:52 PM. This is where the road ends at 5,450 feet on the south side of Mount Rainier. Our position in the big parking lot was North 46° 47.154' latitude, West 121° 44.174' longitude.

Here is a look at the upper route on the mountain. The three blue circles are places featured in the photos below. From left to right, they are Christine Falls, the Nisqually Glacier, and Paradise.

Mount Rainier Park Map - blue circles are places shown below

We stopped in Puyallup at a Safeway to buy lunch, as there are few services at Rainier. Here is Andrew with our lunch and dinner in the form of a huge roast beef, turkey, and cheese sandwich. We're still working on finishing the sandwich a day later!

Andrew and our Big Sandwich

Andrew and I had a great time together. We both brought our laptops and enjoyed working on them at the top. Andrew runs Windows 2000 Professional on a Dell Latitude that he really likes. I brought my Apple Macintosh PowerBook G3.

Andrew and laptop charging on a 110V AC Inverter

Leaving the park we saw five deer. This Mule Deer allowed me to approach it to within ten feet.

Odocoileus hemionus, a.k.a., Mule Deer or Black-tailed Deer

There are some very impressive glacier ravines, such as this one called Nisqually Glacier. I've never seen much water come down this ravine in the five years I've been going up Rainier, but the broken rocks show that glacial forces have done a lot over the centuries.

Nisqually Glacier

At the top it began to snow when we arrived. It was 32 degrees out and the sky was very diffuse and gray the way it gets when a snow storm arrives. It was neat! As a result the 14,441 foot summit was never seen by us on this trip.

Audi A4 with Xenon headlights on

Coming down the mountain we stopped and explored Christine Falls. The park had few visitors and it was nice to be on the mountain with everything so calm and quiet. These falls are magnificent!

Christine Falls reminds you of something out of the Australian outback and Survivor

We arrived home at 6:54 PM after having spent a few hours browsing in a new Borders bookstore in Puyallop. A wonderful 222 mile trip!

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Created:   6 Apr 2001
Modified: 13 Jun 2001