Today I went to Mt Rainier and explored with some friends. Mt Rainier is visible from most high places in Seattle during clear weather, including from the top of my building:
It’s the tallest volcano in the lower 48, has the deepest snow of any peak competing for that record, and the fifth highest peak in the contiguous United States. It’s also the home of some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the region and some stunning subalpine meadows.
But I didn’t come for the wildflowers or the snow: I drove 2 hours south, past a tricky bit of I-5, for the rocks:
Mt Rainier is a young mountain when compared to other peaks in the Cascades, but makes up for her youth with colorful and dramatic geology:
Here is a massive rockflow; driving up the mountain, we criss-crossed over the same tumbled-down valley with nearly blue water running through it several times.
The surrounding peaks are no less dramatic. The trees are hiding it, but I’m pretty sure I saw a cirque.
The mountain also is home to a number of glaciers, making this trip the first time I think I’ve ever seen blue ice:
Mt Rainier’s sister-peak is Mt Fuji in Japan, and from some angles the resemblance of these sororal volcanoes is clear:
Taken at Reflection Lakes, which turned out to be a good name.
It was a beautiful day and I look forward to hiking more soon.
“Geologists on the whole are inconsistent drivers. When a roadcut presents itself, they tend to lurch and weave.”–John McPhee