A Morning In The Mountains

Yesterday was a gorgeous day, so pretty I knew we had to go for a drive. Being that it was the 4th of July was a bonus. Kirk had the day off from work and the traffic was light as we drove up to Mt. Rainier. It was early when we left – if you want a better experience with Rainier you start as early as you can to avoid crowds. It still hasn’t “warmed” up at Rainier or in the Cascade Mountains yet. It was the typical 45° and sunny out early in the morning:

We had planned to do a hike with Walker down low but then changed our minds on the drive and went up to Sunrise instead since it had opened on Friday. And that it was so nice it seemed like a waste to be in the woods when we could be up so high!

The view from Sunrise Point is always worth stopping at. Mt. Adams in the distance was gorgeous, although this isn’t the best place to get a good photo (alas, a bit down the road it floats large in the sky and there is no pull out).

Walker photobombing me:

Look at Rainier, Little Tahoma and the ridges:

Looking across the other way I could see as far as Mt. Baker clearly. No smog, nothing. The sky was so clear being early summer. I could see every peak from Stuart to Glacier on so on. But up close I could also see that it will be awhile before I will be strolling up to Dege Peak! (Dege is the one on the left and when the snow is gone is an easy dayhike to the top)

Not visible but Baker was in the far distance. Up close is Brown and other peaks on the ridge, down below Sunrise Lake and the string of lakes out to the Palisades are still quite frozen over.

We finished our drive up to Sunrise and Walekr had so much fun playing in the snow (with was 8-9 feet still deep)

Walker had not really played with snow before, he was too young last year and it didn’t snow much down here last winter.

I was feeling very mellow. The hiking potential was pretty low up there and Walker was having fun. It was plenty for me and we just had fun!

With Sourdough Ridge behind him:

Rainier and Little Tahoma:

Rainier, Little Tahoma and Goat Island and more:

On the way down we had to wait while the park worked to get the road back open, a slump/slide had occurred on one of the always unstable slopes on a curve.

The parkies cut the tree in half and removed it with help from other motorists and then allowed everyone to drive on the shoulder to get around temporarily. The slump wasn’t shocking, the snow on the hillside was melting. At least it didn’t appear to have hit anyone’s car!

Sitting and waiting and look at a small example of columnar basalt, although a few yards down the road is an amazing section…but again no way to stop to photograph it.

Had a nice drive home and it was just a mellow day!




  1. I think it’s so cool we were both up there early yesterday morning! Indeed Adam, Baker, and all the “little” ones in-between were simply spectacular. All I could say at Sunrise Point was “wow!” over and over again. It was amazing! And it just got better once we were at the top, scouring for places in the shade (no sunglasses) to stare at the mountain. I bought the binoculars and we were having fun looking at the mountain close-up. I highly recommend!

    This is only my second summer as a hiker so I’m looking forward to exploring Rainier as the snow starts to melt away. It’ll be fun to see how it changes over the course of the season, as my friend John pointed out all the snow makes it look that much more dramatic against the green.

  2. Nice pics and story. Sounds like a great family time.

  3. Looks like a nice, relaxing, rejuvenating family outing. Did the crowds increase later in the day?

    • Jennifer, that was the odd thing – it was an empty day up there! The roads were light as well. Not complaining though! 😀

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