2007 08 05 – Big Trip – Day 97 – Mount Rainier National Park

KOA Campground, Cascade Locks, Oregon Odometer – 8973

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Paradise Visitors Center, Mount Rainier National Park

Today was sunny and warm. We left the campground as early as we could (10:30am) so we could park in the crowded Paradise parking lot. We got there and saw Mount Rainier (4300m) in its glory, basking in a warm sun without a cloud in site.

We had a quick breakfast and went on a pleasant 1 mile loop hike to Nisqually Glacier Overlook. We were surrounded by blooming meadows with flowers of all colors and shapes. When we got back after less than an hour we could see clouds starting to form at the top of the mountain.

Mount Rainier is a Volcano and at the summit it has a crater that is half a mile in diameter. Of course everything is covered in snow and glacial ice, but there is always a chance that the mountain will erupt again. The mountain has about 30 glaciers spreading from the peak and the one we saw is the one that drops to the lowest altitude. By the way, interesting stat I saw somewhere – 75% of the world’s fresh water is stored in glaciers.

We drove to Box Canyon where we had lunch. Paola prepared sandwiches but it seems that Orr and Shir don’t enjoy this method of eating. They prefer to have the ingredients separately, one by one.

After lunch we began a long drive southward towards Oregon. For almost 200 miles we were surrounded by forests of all kinds. We drove through beautiful greenery and especially enjoyed driving under a canopy that lets the light in selectively. We stopped at some viewpoints of Mount Saint Helens, which was a dormant snowcapped volcano until it erupted in 1980 and caused massive damage as well as fatalities. It seems that the forest regrowth is working because all around the bare mountain things looked quite green and alive.

We reached the Washington Oregon border around 5pm and drove along the wide Columbia River for a while until we crossed at the Bridge of the Gods. From there it was a few miles to the campground.

Tomorrow we will drive along the Columbia River and Gorge to Portland. There are several beautiful spots along the way.

Good Night,

-Hemi

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