Our annual pilgrimage to see the wildflowers

Paradise Travel Blog

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The first part was mostly all green

The Mt.Rainier National Park is famous for the wildflower bloom during August in its subalpine meadows. So famous it's actually considered a global event with hoardes of tourists from all around the world swarming the national park ranges come mid August when the flowers are in full bloom. The "good" is that it's beautiful, it's the stuff dreams are made of. On the flip side, this happens only during August, AND given how unpredictable the weather is, the sunny days are usually the most crowded.

We've visited twice before - in 2012 (it was a lottery as far as photos go that day!) and the rather cloudy and dull 2013

We were smart enough to check the forecast (aka, lots of crowds) the previous night so we started early on Saturday morning from Redmond.

This is so popular they've done their best to make it as paved and well defined as possible with guides patrolling the area too. There are clear signs that instruct you not to step out of the path as the flora is fragile
We left the house by 630a, it was a long winding drive and we were at the Rainier entrance by 920a. There was a HUGE queue of cars already. It takes a good 30+ minutes to drive to the Paradise Resort (around 13miles after you cross the entrance) given the twisting roads, countless amount of switchbacks and low speed limit (well, duh,  fair enough!).

There are several walks from Paradise resort (which also houses the lovely visitor centre). The hike to Camp Muir begins here (base for ascent to the Mt. Rainier peak) as well which means that come 10am, the place looks like Grand Central Station.

We did our usual walk up, the "Skyline Trail" which is about 2 miles to the top. What's funny here is that in some intersections, the distance was given in km. I have to say, I was somewhat disappointed by what we saw.

We started quite early. 2 hours later and this would've looked like a mall escalator!
Not that it wasn't beautiful or anything, but the effects of global warming were there for all to see. There weren't as many wildflowers in bloom AND the ones that were, somewhat looked dry and jaded as opposed to bright and fresh.

We finished our hike rather early and were back down shortly after noon. The place was FILLED with visitors now. A very helpful lady at the Visitor's Centre gave us the hiking trail to the Bench and Snow Lake trail that was about 1.5 miles away (the trailhead that is).

As we drove down, we saw cars parked along the serpentine switchback, we felt sorry for those families that had to walk all the way up the road just to walk up to Paradise again. 

The Bench and Snow Lake trail was a bore on the other hand: it's a simple 2.5m loop but it was just a series of ups and downs all for nothing - 2 boring lakes, one with a middling view of Mt. Rainier. We finished the hike in about 1 hour (average time is 2 hours). And drove for about 3 hours in the peak Saturday evening traffic to get home.

We're seriously considering hiking up to Mt. Rainier next year, let's see how that goes.

simsing says:
Feeling jealous! I would love to visit Mt Rainier some day!
Posted on: Aug 07, 2016
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The first part was mostly all green
The first part was mostly all green
This is so popular theyve done th…
This is so popular they've done t…
We started quite early. 2 hours la…
We started quite early. 2 hours l…
Mt. Adams at the back
Mt. Adams at the back
Looking back at the early crowds
Looking back at the early crowds
Beautiful example of the flora
Beautiful example of the flora
Mt. Rainier
Mt. Rainier
A  marmot - and so close by! I did…
A marmot - and so close by! I di…
Continuing on up to Pebble Creek
Continuing on up to Pebble Creek
Up from Pebble Creek to the vista …
Up from Pebble Creek to the vista…
These folks are probably doing the…
These folks are probably doing th…
Looking past
Looking past
The vista point of Skyline Trail (…
The vista point of Skyline Trail …
That piece of ice fell the day bef…
That piece of ice fell the day be…
A deer!
A deer!
First part of our Bench and Snow L…
First part of our Bench and Snow …
Bench and Snow Lake Trail hike, ve…
Bench and Snow Lake Trail hike, v…
Bench Lake (I didnt bother taking…
Bench Lake (I didn't bother takin…
Paradise
photo by: Vikram