The mountain looms, taller and higher as we approach. Snow, and lots of it. We found our campsite in a dense forest of tall trees, no sunlight to worry here, unfortunately that brings sunset ever earlier. In fact, sunset has crept up earlier and earlier on us as we sauntered south since leaving Alaska. Altho, this does bring some comfort knowing that it does turn dark at some time during the night.
Hiking Mt Rainier, for those not venturing to the summit, varies from lower valley walks in the mountains shadows or more commonly an uphill walk up steep trails into snow line for magnificent views of the valleys below and ranges across the horizon. Meadows of wildflowers, views of glaciers, glacier rivers flowing - the hikes produced ever more beauty. Being early August, last winter's snows still linger in patches just above the visitor center and lodge, steadily increasing with altitude. Solid snow fields takeover at about 8000' and with the air being a bit thinner with each passing map contour the hiking gts slower, and slower.
On a solo day for Ron trails leading to Camp Muir at just above 10,000' appeared enticing. With snowshoes afixed and sun shining brightly across the snow fields, the way forward was progressively slower with breathing stops at increasing frequency. With views spectacular,the first few hours, clouds began to roll in by early afternoon, leaving some concern of impending white-out. Sans sleeping bag and overnight provisions, not too mention a scheduled reunion with Karen at the visitor center, a quick decent below cloud cover was accommodated in short order. Another day for a summit experience, perhaps.
A couple of lower valley hikes filled in the remainder of our four day camp below Mt. Rainier. Great vistas, clear skies and moderate tems made this visit a midsummer joy.