It’s hard to believe that I’m going on my 28th year here in the Pacific Northwest. Especially when you consider that I was only coming up for a two week visit. When I think back to those first weeks and months I remember being amazed at some of the obvious differences from where I grew up; like the sun being so low on the horizon, and having this huge mountain, Mt. Rainier, dominate the horizon. But like most things time eventually dulls your awareness.
Behind the Photo
But there are moments when you get a stark reminder of the grandeur. Such was watching the sunset reflect off Mt. Rainier from the perspective of Blake Island. It allowed me to view the mountain against the Seattle/Des Moines skyline. And that comparison is what gives the mountain it’s presence in this photograph. That the golden flanks fading off to the cool evening blues of the lower elevations.
Of course this is one of most visited National Parks in the nation, but I find it’s really history far more interesting. Captain George Vancouver was the first European to see the mountain in 1792, although the locals had hunted and gathered berries on it’s slopes for generations. In 1833, Dr. William Fraser Tolmie who was serving as the Chief Factor of Fort Nisqually, explored the area looking for medicinal plants.
The mountain was even visited and climbed by John Muir in 1888 and although he conceded that he appreciated the view from below rather than above, he was instrumental in getting the area designated as a Forest Reserve in 1893. The rest as they say is history.