First Mt. Rainier hike, Panorama Point

I had a lot more to say about Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon, but I did three major hikes at Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington, so I’m going to skip a bit and show you some of those days.

Usually my time at The Mountain is so limited, that I end up doing one hike, just going up from Paradise, to get as close as I can to a higher view. I also do this hike to test my strength and make sure I haven’t lost all my high altitude hiking ability from living in the flat lands.  Then I usually do easy walks for a couple of days to recover from the one major hike.  These trails start right by the visitor’s center and Paradise Inn parking lots, so it’s easy to just start on up and get some great views right away. Here’s a photo from in front of the visitor’s center.

IMG_3761Look at the crowds, oh, my goodness, it was a crowded trail. The first bit is paved, but steep.

IMG_3767I have a fondness for marmots. My dad used to whistle them out, but this one didn’t need calling, it was just meandering along the trail.

IMG_3770Coming around the corner by Alta Vista, a field of avalanche lilies.

IMG_3773One of many snowfields covering the trail.

IMG_3776I hope you like marmots as much as I do. They are very photogenic!

The Tatoosh Range is south of Mt. Rainier. If you can get high enough to see over it, Mt. Adams is visible, and Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood. (Years ago, on a super clear day, I saw Mt. Jefferson!)

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Poor old St. Helens. Blew its top. I’ve seen it puff a time or two from here, but this time it was quiet.
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You can usually count on two major snow fields to cross on the way to Panorama Point, but this time I lost count of the snow fields I crossed.

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I  think marmots are the cutest rodents ever. They just scurry around eating wildflowers and sunning themselves on the rocks. What a life.

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IMG_3793Those claws look fierce, though. Great for digging.

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Way higher than  the Tatoosh Range now, looking at Mt. Adams, almost a mirror image of Rainier.

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Here you can see some of the thousand or so of the hikers, most of whom were going higher and farther than I was. I could tell because of their equipment. If you enlarge the photo, you’ll see what I mean about a crowded trail.  I don’t recommend this hike on a clear Saturday in July, but on the other hand, if you’re there, you don’t want to miss it in clear weather! On the way down, I had to stand aside for quickly descending summit climbers, who were then stopped by family members who had gathered along the trail with their cameras to welcome them back. Major traffic jam.

IMG_3804I’ll tell you more about that Tatoosh Range in an upcoming post.

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IMG_3810Looking at the mountain with the telephoto cranked up as far as it would go.

One of my favorite views on the way up to Panorama Point:IMG_3814

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IMG_3832“Only” .3 miles to Panorama Point. But I didn’t recognize that part of the trail to the right, and all the crowds were heading left. So instead of going the most direct route to the viewpoint, I ended up going out of my way on the Pebble Creek trail, and approaching the solar outhouse from above instead of below, and then finally ending up at the viewpoint. It added extra height, distance, and time to the hike.

IMG_3837It’s steeper than it looks.

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IMG_3846Looking up alongside the trail.

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IMG_3854One of my favorite rock outcrops on this trail.

 

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IMG_3880Just around this corner, no, another ten minutes or more.

This solar outhouse is really great. I remember when they used to bring in a porta-potty with a helicopter for the summer season. Although that was a huge improvement over nothing, this seems palatial in comparison.

IMG_3872Looking up at the outhouse from Panorama Point.

IMG_3859Please keep the door closed so marmots and other rodents  won’t get in and get trapped!

IMG_3869Finally at the viewpoint. I was not happy with the “selfie” results, nor with the crowds at Panorama Point! I ate some granola, wrote a page in my journal, and moved on.

IMG_3881On the way down, looking at where I’d been.

IMG_3888I found a nice lady who took my picture.

IMG_3896A hat, good boots, and at least one walking stick are essential. Not that everyone knows that. Water, sunscreen, camera, jacket, map….I also carried a journal, my phone (just in case I had a signal, which I did not), and granola.

IMG_3901I thought these people were training for a summit climb, as one of the first lessons is to stop yourself when sliding. But now I see that some of them weren’t really dressed for it, so maybe they were just having more fun than I was.

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IMG_3879One more picture before I dropped below the Tatoosh Range. I wasn’t sure if any other hikes would take me this high.

IMG_3883Heather.

 

IMG_3892Early afternoon, and masses of people still coming up.

IMG_3893I suppose taking so many pictures slowed me down, still, I’m not that fast on this hike. I was pleased that all my bike riding for the previous three months had helped, though. I didn’t have any trouble, and there was never any doubt that I could make it as far as I’d planned. I’m not fast, but I’m steady.

After finally making it back to Paradise, I met up with my cousins. Dinner was salmon and dessert was blackberry pie with huckleberry ice cream!
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IMG_3949I felt like I’d earned every bite! And while we ate, we discussed the next day’s hike…
More later!

Jeanne

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6 responses to “First Mt. Rainier hike, Panorama Point

  1. thanks for the memories!

  2. I enjoyed that, Jeanne. All those mountains are either new to me or just names that I’ve seen from time to time, but your article with its fine photographs adds some flesh to bare bones. It’s an enchanting place.
    Dinner looks good as well.
    Cheers, Alen

    • Thank you, Alen! I was hesitant to put in so many photos, but I thought to myself, “I LOVE seeing Alen’s photos, so I’m not going to worry about how many are in it!”

  3. Nice that the inn at Paradise underwent those extensive renovations some years back. The food looks yummy! But of course, the true allure here is the hike and those views (including that terrific shot of you taken by the Nice Lady!). You *know* how I’m drooling over these hike posts!!! 😀
    xo

    • Hi Kathryn, it’s nice to see a kindred spirit enjoying these posts. I might just do a post about Paradise Inn (love that place). Goodness knows I take enough photos of it every single time!

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