When July arrives out here, the clouds go away and for a week or two (before the automotive haze settles in and hides it again) The Mountain beckons.
Who am I to ignore the beckoning?
The Mountain (with a capital M) is how we refer to our big volcano Mount Rainier. The National Park becomes very popular around this time of year and demands that you rise early if you want to avoid long lines to get in, to park and see anything with anything approaching solitude.
We chose the Sunrise Entrance on the…you guessed it…eastern side of the mountain. There is a long winding road up to the visitor center and a lot of trails go out from there. I’ve done the Frozen Lake/Fremont look out several times, last year in fact. It’s a easy hike with fabulous views of the Mountain
Heading up to Frozen Lake
When you pass the lake you head north up to the lookout
Approach to Fremont Lookout
There is almost always wildlife of the rodent variety up there at the lookout, on the lookout for a free lunch. This time we saw a marmot posing for all comers.
Get my best side
Fremont Lookout and the view north
The view to the north was pretty hazy and polluted but why are you looking that way? Turn around!
It’s only about 3 miles to the lookout and it was still early so we decided to head back the other way towards Dege Peak. I’ve never gone this way so we got a fresh, new experience. The trail goes east from the visitor center and away from the Mountain. Paradoxically, it appears to get bigger as you move away from it.
Sunrise Visitor Center and parking lot
You also get to a point where Mount Adams to the south rears its head out from the foreground peaks affording views of 4 volcanoes (Adams, Baker, Glacier and Rainier)
Mt. Adams in the background
Dege Peak is only about 2 miles east from the Visitor Center. It really is worth going out there.
We shared this part of the trail with at least 2 dozen young students of the UW School of Dentistry, judging by the identical purple backpacks many of them wore. I can report that our teeth look to be in good hands for the foreseeable future.
Lunch was consumed. We had to wait awhile for all the future dentists to clear the peak but it was worth the wait.
The road from Sunrise point to the east
The Stuart Range on the horizon to the north
Wait! What’s that to the west? Zoom in…
…that’s Fremont lookout on the right peak of the two in the middle
Back towards Mt. Rainier and the ridge trail approach
There weren’t a lot of flowers. It’s too early for the big show still, but on the trail back we saw a lot of Western Anemone going to seed. In this form they call them “Mice on a Stick” but I think they look sort of Seussian (The Lorax, maybe?). I couldn’t decide which picture I liked the best so I’ll just show them all.
A beautiful trip. Here are the trail stats
Frozen Lake and Fremont Lookout on the left, Dege Peak on the right.
Fremont lookout is at about the 3 mile mark and Dege Peak is at around 7.5 miles. Lots of up and down as you can see.