Sunday July 4, 2021
Happy 4th! After a delicious breakfast burrito made by Jim. We’re on our way up to see the Emmons glacier, the largest area glacier in the lower 48, on Mount Rainier.
The road up to see Emmons Glacier is only open 3 short months of the year: July, August and September. We venture up on day 3 since opening.
It is a steep, rough road with some pretty scary drop offs, especially when sitting in the passenger seat. I’m sure I was stressing Jim out with grabbing the dash and my gasps, but we made it without any issues.
While we are walking around the Glacier Visitor Center, Jim hears two rangers talking. One of them is remarking on a seed pod that he sees on a plant, he is shocked to see it so early in the year.
The northwest area has been getting some record high temperatures in the triple digits starting at end of June. This is something they don’t usually see until August. Unfortunately we have heard some reports of farm animals dying from the heat.
It has also made it challenging for us, living in a vehicle and trying to stay cool. We are always looking for shady areas to park and being mindful of where the sun sets. I never expected it to be so hot while we are here. Luckily the area surrounding Mount Rainier has plenty of tree cover for shade and we have found a good USFS campground to spend the last couple of nights.
After visiting the glacier area and getting back to camp I laid down to take a nap while Jim goes fly fishing. He comes back all excited because he caught 14 fish, 2 Char and 12 Brook Trout.
Seeing Mount Rainier with all the snow cover is pretty spectacular. The whole area surrounding it is amazing with areas of tall pine tree forests, lush green meadows with wildflowers and beautiful lakes and rivers.
Monday July 5, 2021
Today’s plan was to do some hiking in the Mount Rainier area, but first we wanted to see if we could change our campsite reservations. We have reservations inside the park for the following two nights but not tonight. So we wanted to see if we could move it up to tonight and tomorrow night. Unfortunately we couldn’t change our reservation, but we were able to get a reservation for tonight here.
It turns out to be a an awesome site right on a teal colored river. This has to be the most beautiful campground I have ever stayed at. Ohanapecosh campground in the southeast side of the park. I told Jim I think I could live here for a few months.
We hike to Silver falls and the Grove of the Patriarchs, a grove of trees that are over 1000 years old.
The trail starts a short distance from our campsite and the weather although warm for this area is cool under the tree cover and shaded for most of the hike. It is beautiful and I am loving it. Jim is behind me and I don’t think he is enjoying it. He has had a lot of pain on this trip from an inner ear issue that is really painful for him when he is not at sea-level. Plus there is the whole exercise factor he is not fond of.
The path is mostly free of roots and rocks and easy walking. The beautiful lodge pole pines provide plenty of shade and keep the temperatures cool. I start the hike in a light fleece jacket, but soon take it off on the uphill climb.
The falls are spectacular, but maybe I am just biased. I love waterfalls. Jim describes it as just water flowing over rocks. He can really kill a moment.
We continue on to a grove of tree that are over 1000 years old. They have bases that I can’t even guess how big around they are, other than really really big!
At the campground where we are staying there is a cross-section of a tree that was 670 years old before it was cut down by a paper company back in the 1960’s.
After returning from the hike we enjoy some drinks while sitting down by the river. Although, the high for today was 88 degrees, it felt like it was in the low 80’s in the shade with no humidity. We have been sleeping great at night with the temperatures droping into the 50’s.
Jim does try fly fishing in the river but the river flow is fast and he doesn’t have any luck.
Tuesday July 6, 2021
We are up and out early again and headed to the Paradise section of the park. There is a lot of hiking in this area, but much of it is still covered by snow and they are advising floridians to avoid those areas. We heed those warnings and just hike some of the snow free areas. I’m guessing Jim is very pleased with this decision.
We are able to see 2 of the waterfalls that I wanted to see today. The third one involved to much climbing over snow. I’ll save that one for next year.
While we were on our way back we pass 4 groups of about a dozen hikers each. They look like guided trips and judging from the boots, packs, clothing and ice picks I would guess they were climbing to the top of Mt Rainier.
Tuesday July 7, 2021
We had a chill day at the campground. We slept in then took a long walk around the campground.
Later after taking a nap. I hiked back to Silver falls. It is a short 2 mile hike.