Topic: mount rainier
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November 7, 2013 at 5:08 PM
Take a look at the webcam for Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise and you’ll see that snow is starting to pile up at Mount Rainier National Park. As visions of snowshoes dance in park lover’s heads, park staffers are preparing for winter operations and visitors.
“Mount Rainier provides outstanding winter recreation opportunities and has been doing so for over 100 years,” Park Superintendent Randy King said in an email. “It’s a wonderful time to visit the park and area, provided visitors come well-prepared for the snow and road conditions. Safe backcountry travel in winter requires an especially high level of preparation, caution, and knowledge.”
The park will transition to winter hours of operation and service on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Here’s a roundup of what to expect all winter: (more…)
August 26, 2013 at 3:20 PM
I just returned from a five-day backpack on the northern tier of Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail and I’m here to report: You can do just a section of the famed trail — not the whole 90+ miles — and still have a wonderful time communing with our mountain.
You also don’t have to set any speed records to come away with a great sense of accomplishment — not to mention a big, goofy smile on your face.
I went with my 21-year-old daughter, with whom I’ve been traveling the world for years, and this ended up near the top of our best-trips-ever list.
She had mentioned a couple years back a captivation with hiking the Wonderland, the famed loop route around Washington’s iconic peak. But it’s been a while since I’ve backpacked multiple nights, and the Wonderland is known as a challenging up-and-down grind. Plus, there was the daunting logistical challenge of finding two weeks or so in which to do it — in both of our busy schedules — along with all the planning and food caching and permitting required.
So I took a look at doing it in sections. The mountain’s less-visited north side — including the Spray Park alternate route, with what’s reputed to be some of the national park’s most spectacular scenery — sounded like a good starter.
I researched it and proposed a 24-mile, four-night trip, spread across four different trailside camps, that wouldn’t wear us out and would give (more…)
March 21, 2013 at 9:46 AM
With the first day of spring — which was yesterday – Mount Rainier National Park starts to awaken from winter, so to speak, just like its hibernating bears that have presumably been holed up for the winter in cozy dens (though in reality they’re probably drafty, drippy piles of fallen logs that reek of wet bear and moldy leaves, when you think about it).
What’s it mean to us? From now on, the road to Paradise will open daily, continuing through the summer season, instead of closing Tuesdays and Wednesdays (to name one thing). And keep reading, for a complete calendar of opening dates and a whole shebang of information sources on the park.
Other changes and openings start to take effect in coming weeks, though most of the park is still covered in deep snow. Paradise currently has 167 inches — almost 14 feet — of snow on the ground.
“Although it may be late June, mid-July, or even early August before the last remnants of snow finally leave the slopes of ‘The Mountain’,” (more…)
January 17, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Hey pennypinchers, spread the word: National parks, Washington state parks and national forest recreation sites are all fee-free this coming Monday.
That’s right. In honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 21, you can breeze right past the gatehouse (in a safe and controlled manner, at no more than 15 mph, of course) at Mount Rainier National Park. Fearlessly park without a Discover Pass at Deception Pass State Park. Or hike any trail you can get to in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest without posting a Northwest Forest Pass on your dashboard.
The same applies to other parks and national forests across the region (but you still need a Sno-Park permit at Sno-Park sites, and a Discover Pass at Fish & Wildlife sites).
It makes it a good day to head for the snow-play area or take a ranger-guided snowshoe walk at Paradise, on Mount Rainier, without paying the usual $15-per-carload fee. More info on winter fun at Rainier here.
It’s nice to have the outdoors really be free once in a while. Take the kids tubing. Teach a nephew to cross-country ski. Love the outdoors? Pass it on.
January 15, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Listen for the mitten-slap of high fives echoing from Camp Muir, up at 10,080 feet on Mount Rainier.
Days are numbered for the ugly “black box,” a so-called temporary structure that for decades has served as a shelter for up to 36 climbers at the base camp on the mountain’s southeastern flank. About 500 climbers a day visit the camp during peak climbing season.
The National Parks Service has approved $700,000 in upgrades that will replace the black box and other non-historic structures at the camp. No worries: The camp’s scenic, rustic stone buildings will remain.
And climbers can breathe another sigh of relief, so to speak. Among new and improved structures to come in the next three to five years are something not found at the tip of every moraine: public toilets.
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