A Return to Mt. Rainier National Park

After months of hoping for a small return to normalcy, we finally drove through the open gates of Mt. Rainier National Park. to see how she had fared during the recent closure.

Mt. Rainier National Park During 2020

Everything has been turned upside down this year and, honestly, I’m at a loss on just how to proceed but we can see Mt. Rainier from our backyard and that seemed a good place to start. Here in Washington our Governor has opened our State Parks to camping. And just recently our National Parks have opened including Mt. Rainier National Park. But, it just doesn’t seem the same.

Before our parks opened we took advantage of Hipcamp to find private property to camp on. One of our favorite properties is Wilderness Path, which is located just outside the Nisqually entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park. In just the last few months, we’ve camped there multiple times, always wondering up to the park gate just on the outside chance that it would be open.

Finally the day came, and it was great to be able to head into the park and see what was new since its closure. Of course nature is oblivious to our current crisis. If anything it’s had a bit of a break from our onslaught. Skies are clearer, road kill is down.

It was soon apparent that the park was going to be just the same whether we were visiting or not. I doubt much has changed since it’s opening in 1899 really.

Support

Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:

  • COASST Beached Bird Surveys
  • Wild and Scenic River Project

Thank you.

After months of hoping for a small return to normalcy, we finally drove through the open gates of Mt. Rainier National Park. to see how she had fared during the recent closure.

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Looking down on our campground from atop Tower Rock. It's a straight 2000' straight drop from here. ...

Driving up to Mosquito Meadows I noticed a dark shadow and gap just off the forest road. This small but picturesque waterfall on Pinto Creek was the reward for pulling off to investigate.⁠ ...

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After a week of sitting on the shoreline waiting for the weather on Augustine Island and her volcano, we finally had our chance to paddle over to the mainland. Fortune smiled at us that day! ...

A kayaker making his way across Coldwater Lake with the crater of Mt. St. Helens in the background. ...

On May 16, 1898, the North Head Lighthouse was put into service as the primary navigation aid at the mouth of the Columbia River and still stands as a sentinel overlooking this treacherous body of water, the confluence between the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. ...

This root was near our campsite. I was intrigued because it looks like an entire forest wrapped around it. ...

Mt. St. Helens seen from Windy Ridge. ...

Cispus River with Tower Rock in the background. Our camp was locate on the banks of the river. ...

River bank of the Cispus River inside the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. ...

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Buck Creek is one of the many waterways that feed the Suiattle River. We spotted this view during our last Wild and Scenic Rivers fieldwork. ...

During our recent Wild and Scenic River Survey we had the opportunity to do a bit of exploring. Here's Buck Creek which drains into the Suiattle River. ...

Theresa taking a sample for the Wild and Scenic Rivers project with Adventure Scientist. We'll be heading out to the Suiattle River this weekend for another round of data. ...

Paradise

But some things have changed in regards to the services being provided by the park and it’s staff. One of the most apparent is the closure of the Visitors Center at Paradise Inn. Rangers are available outside the center to answer questions etc. The Inn is currently closed (but it seems the Longmire Inn is open).

A few of the campsites within the park are open but when we drove through one to check on conditions it seemed many individual sites were closed due to hazard trees. Backcountry trails are open.

This whole situation is dynamic and subject to change so it’s best to check on the parks website if you plan on a visit. You can find the latest information here.

For those who would rather stay safely at home until this crisis is over the park has created a virtual tour which you can experience on their Mount Rainier Virtual Tour page.

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